A project of

Fox Sparrow

Bird of the Lingering Snow

Only a handful of people each year are lucky enough to find Fox Sparrows during Mountain Birdwatch. Better known as a winter visitor, it is a rare, but apparently increasing, breeding species in northern Maine, where it reaches the southern edge of its very broad distribution.

The State of Fox Sparrows

Regionally: Probably Increasing

Fox Sparrow was first detected breeding in Maine in 1983. At that point, it was known only from the far northwest corner of the state. Since then, the species seems to have expanded further south, and is now apparently a regular breeding species in the mountains of western Maine. Mountain Birdwatch data also suggest that the species is becoming more abundant in the study area. Fox Sparrow was not one of the original Mountain Birdwatch species, however, so trends prior to 2011 are not available.

Fox Sparrow numbers in the study area have increased since 2011. Faded bars estimate the uncertainty in the estimate of abundance.

Globally: Stable

Much of the range of Fox Sparrow covers remote, poorly surveyed areas of northern Canada and Alaska. As such, data on overall population trends are scanty. However, the available data, most of which is collected in the southern parts of the range of Fox Sparrow, suggests a stable population.

Fox Sparrow numbers have remained steady across Canada and the United States according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Points indicate annual estimate of relative abundance; higher numbers mean more Fox Sparrows were counted in that year. Solid black lines above and below indicate the uncertainty around estimates of relative abundance. Figure provided by the United States Geological Survey.

State of Mountain Birds