by Bryce W. Robinson
The genus Zonotrichia is comprised of four handsome sparrows. Since last winter, my first winter in Idaho, my admiration for this group has grown. In Idaho, it is possible to see all four species, even in one day.
The aesthetic of all four adult Zonotrichia sparrows together impresses me. They each have bold patterns, but altogether they compliment one another. Illustrating the differences gives one an appreciation for their similarities, and also allows an awareness of the features that separate each. Those that claim “sparrow ID is impossible” should sit down and sketch out every species. Even if it is a simple doodle, the act alone allows for a deeper understanding of what makes each species unique.