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October 8th: Big Day of Sparrows

Hau, Mitakúye Oyás'iŋ.

As some of my bird nerd friends may know this past Saturday was October Big Day. Basically a day where you go to count and accumulate as many birds as possible uploading them to your electronic checklists on eBird to be sent in for studies. Anyone can participate from anywhere across the planet for as little amount of time as possible as long as you send in your exciting bird sightings to eBird (A bird tracking website and app.) I will reference eBird often in my blog posts so I will end up making one blog just on the basics of eBird for those interested.

This is my first blog for as well so I welcome you all to my future blogs and to explore my website in general. I am Taṡuŋka Opi, wounded horse, also known as Michael in English. I am a wildlife photographer, tracker and naturalist and am interested in just about anything in the natural world. I am a Lakota enrolled at the Lower Brule Tribe of South Dakota and I chase my passions with the heart of a wolverine. I may blog more about myself at another time but today I will take you into the Big Day of Sparrows:

It all started with the sparrow photoed above about a week before October Big Day. I was out in the morning and caught a small sparrow in flight in my bins and was happy to spy a new sparrow in the area! I thought immediately I had seen a Lincoln's Sparrow but needed to get some more looks to confirm. I had not seen one in the area before so it was a fun bird to watch as over the next few days the Lincoln's Sparrows hung around chirping with glee.

About a day before October Big Day a Harris Sparrow showed up (pictured above). The sparrows were coming back in full force as I also stumbled across a few White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (below) mixed in the flock.

This all set the stage for October 8th which would come to be known as my Big Day of Sparrows. I wish I had more time to get out and explore the world of birds in general but I had a great morning with many sparrow relatives paying me a visit. The day started off with the usual sparrows, the Lincoln's, White-crowned, Song, and the Savannah Sparrows that had been hanging around. All the sparrows had been very active in the mornings, coming down to eat seeds and sing their beautiful tunes. The Savannah Sparrows (pic. below) had been around along with the Song sparrows so both of them had great numbers.

Sparrows were zipping around and chipping so fast I had trouble keeping track of all the numbers. There were far too many little sparrows to keep up with but I knew with each species my total of sparrows were climbing. Next came another sparrow relative I had seen around the area but not for awhile. My sound recordings had picked up a Swamp Sparrow but I like to hear the distinct call or see one visually before I count them. Sure enough a little swamper flew up to the edge of the brush and came to get its photo taken.

The next two sparrows help round out my species of sparrows total to 7. The Harris Sparrow came back and a Clay-colored Sparrow from the summer or migration popped up in the brush. The Clay-colored have been around but it stood out beautifully to me with the trees colored behind it. Even with all the non breeding plumage out the sparrows all stood out in beauty and feather. I didn't think I would run into this many sparrows but I enjoyed my morning for the Big Day with them. As far as my eBird lists go this was the most sparrows I had seen at one time submitting a list. Below is a list of all the sparrows I saw with the final picture of the Clay-colored Sparrow. I love sparrows and they are one of my favorite bird families, they all were unique characters bouncing around full of life and freedom.


Song Sparrow


Lincoln's Sparrow


White-throated Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow


Swamp Sparrow


Clay-colored Sparrow


Harris Sparrow

What is your favorite Sparrow?

  • Song Sparrow

  • Savannah Sparrow

  • Lincoln's Sparrow

  • White-crowned Sparrow

Pilámayaye, Thank you for visiting,

Taṡuŋka Opi (Michael)

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