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This morning I found a sparrow on the FSU campus that I think may be a
Cassin's Sparrow.  I watched the bird for 15-20 minutes and got looks at
almost every aspect of the bird.

Notes:

General impression - a very grey Aimophila-style sparrow with a noticeable
eye-ring and plain breast.

Plumage - Overall sandy-grey with reddish areas in some places.
Back - grey with reddish spots.  The feathers appeared to have grey edging
with reddish centers.  This gave the bird a spotted look, with reddish
spots on a grey background.
Tail - long, dark grey, and rounded.  The rounded profile was quite
apparent when the bird was on the ground.  In flight, the tail was not spread.
Tertials had very prominent white edges.
Rump appeared dark, but I did not get a real good look.
Breast appeared largely plain, but at some angles, there appeared to be
very short, thin vertically- oriented reddish streaks
Breast coloration light tannish and extended onto belly
Head - reddish cap with very fine grey streaks overall.
Reddish behind eye
Breast coloration extended onto lower face, whitish throat
Folded primaries appeared reddish.
Hint of yellow at the wrist

Other characteristics- Very noticeable eye-ring, Grey beak, Pinkish legs.
Rounded head.
Spent all of its time on the ground, occasionally running under a bush but
never jumping up onto branches.  Appeared to prefer short-grass areas.
Difficult to flush, but when it did fly, it would fly a few yards and then
land at the base of a bush.  General escape tactic seemed to be to run
under something rather than fly.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how grey this bird looked.  The reddish
spots were really not apparent until I used binoculars.

I have a couple of digital images if anyone is interested.


Thanks for any input,

Tom Curtis
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