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Identifying Henslow’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Baird’s Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow
Henslow’s Sparrow, adult. May in Muskingum County, Ohio. Photo by Brian E. Small

When I was 18, I hitchhiked to Chicago, where another teenaged birder, Joel Greenberg (now a famed author and naturalist), had promised to show me a Henslow’s Sparrow. On a chilly June morning, we visited the beautiful Goose Lake Prairie. Later I wrote a poem about the day; it began like this:

A breezy norther chilled the blood, as little sun was shining.
We slogged across the sticky mud of field and marsh combining,
While all around us, Henslow’s Sparrows laughed, and stayed in hiding,
Eluding birders with their craft, and freaky kids deriding …

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Kenn Kaufman

Kenn Kaufman

Kenn Kaufman is an expert birder and naturalist, a talented artist and photographer, a world traveler, and the author of many books about birds and other wildlife. His column “ID Tips” appears in every issue of BirdWatching. Kenn is also a field editor for Audubon Magazine and a contributor to Birds and Blooms. His work first appeared in Birder’s World (now BirdWatching) in April 1988. Visit his website, Kaufman Field Guides.

Kenn Kaufman on social media

Brian E. Small

Brian E. Small

Brian Small is a Los Angeles-based bird and nature photographer whose photos appear in the “ID Tips” column in every issue of BirdWatching. His work has been published in Time, The New York Times, Audubon, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, and many other publications. His photos also illustrate many field guides, including Kenn Kaufman’s Birds of North America, a series of state bird identification guides published with the American Birding Association, and his own Eastern and Western photographic field guides to the birds of North America published in 2009 with author Paul Sterry and Princeton University Press.

Brian E. Small on social media