American tree sparrows nest in willow thickets and arctic shrub along the tundra's edge in Canada and Alaska. But during the winter, tree sparrows can be found throughout Missouri, especially in our northern and western sections.
Dark-eyed juncos, or "snowbirds" as they are widely known, are sparrows. Juncos are abundant throughout Missouri during the winter. What many people are not aware of is that there are two color forms of juncos that occur here.
The fox sparrow is the largest of our sparrows. The name is derived from the bird's foxlike color. They are entertaining to watch as they rustle through the leaves and seeds under your feeders. This style of feeding may remind you of chickens, but fox sparrows kick with both feet at the same time.
Field sparrows are common nesting birds throughout Missouri, but they retreat to the southernmost counties to ride out the winter. Many American tree sparrows are misidentified as field sparrows. Look at the bird carefully; field sparrows are much smaller and lighter and lack a central breast spot.
The savannah sparrow is a bird of open habitat with nearby dense cover. It feeds in grass or crop stubble and quickly retreats to brush when threatened. This sparrow is a common migrant but is found locally in central and southern Missouri in winter.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.