Fox Sparrows are not the commonest of the sparrows around here. Normally they pass through the area in a 10-14 day burst in spring and then back again after breeding. They nest in the forests north of Montreal. Numbers reported are usually quite low … they normally start to build up about now and then are through and gone by the start of May. Occasional birds are seen during winter if and where they can find enough food and shelter but for the most part their winters are passed to the south. Montreal is just a stop on the way between winter and breeding territories. So far this year only four locations have been reported, as shown on the map to the right (click it to view at full, and legible, size).
“Our Fox Sparrow” first turned up on 1 April fossicking about under the feeders when there was still snow on the ground. We expected that brief glimpse – fortunately photographed – to have been all we would see of him but he keeps coming back – almost always at around 8am. Whether he just likes it here or he is sticking around until better weather reaches Montreal (this weekend they forecast) we don’t know but we certaonly feel favoured to have almost the only example of this fine species in the Montreal region.