I used to think that if you saw one sparrow, you saw them all. The majority of the birds we have at the feeder is a typical house sparrow. Plain brown and tan birds hopping around in the grass are mostly unnoticed when one more colorful is in their midst. Fat sparrows sluggishly bob along the outdoor patios at any eatery. Every now and then I see a tiny chipping sparrow. I've always thought sparrows are nothing spectacular.
Tonight as three rabbits engaged in some sort of mating hide-and-seek game (menage a trois?) the birds nearby tried to stay out of their way, and I noticed one who did not look like the others. Along with markings and color typical to sparrows, its head had striking white and black stripes. A White-crowned Sparrow, most likely on a layover of its migration north to Canada.
There are close to 10 varieties of sparrows that spend the summer in this area, and several more who are simply passing through on their way to summer or winter homes. This little bird is encouraging me to have a bigger appreciation for them all.