The fox sparrow is a large sparrow that is found in North America. They breed across northern Canada, Alaska and the western United States. They winter in the southern United States and along the Pacific Coast. Here in Minnesota we only see them during migration. To me fox sparrows are a sign that spring is not far off. They are one of the earlier migrants that I see. Actually I usually hear them much more often then I see them. Fox sparrows often forage through the old leaf piles exposed by the melting snow searching for seeds and insects to eat.
Fox sparrows get their common name from their red color which is similar to that of the red fox. The truth is however, that there are different variations of fox sparrows living in different geographical regions. There are people that do consider them 4 different species. Most fox sparrows are considered red fox sparrows. These are the brightest in color and found throughout most of Canada and Alaska. The sooty version of the fox sparrow are darker and more brown then red. They are found along the Pacific Coast of Canada and Alaska. The slate-colored fox sparrow has a gray head and back and are found in the Rocky Mountain Region. The final version is the thick-billed which have a thicker bill then the others and are found in California.