Just like so many of you, we love an avian identification challenge. Thanks to the 10,000 Birds Clinic, we certainly get our share. The beauty of this arrangement is that even when the three of us are stumped, we have a veritable birding brain trust to turn to. That’s where you come in!

Wendy from Massachusetts sent me the following plea for help:

I need help identifying a sparrow(?). This bird was at my feeder in Western Massachusetts late afternoon. It was with other sparrows and finches. It had a bright white 3/4 inch band around it neck, with a beautifully streaked breast and sparrowlike markings on its back. It’s head had white, gray brown and it looked a slight bit tufted. Any help would be appreciated.

Based on the description alone, I posited either a White-Throated Sparrow or Lapland Longspur. though I’ve never heard of one of the latter birds of winter beaches and fields hitting a feeder. However, based on the photos Wendy followed up with, I was probably wrong. Now I have another guess but see no reason to hog all of the ID fun.

Wendy’s photographs are admittedly blurry, but there may be enough here for an informed identification. Show us what you’ve got…

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.