Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) [unalaschcensis Group] 18 January 2012. Pacifica, San Mateo County, SF, CA Photo © 2012 Joseph Morlan
We have more Fox Sparrows visiting the seed on our deck this year than usual. These are birds of the unalaschcensis Group sometime split as a separate species, the "Sooty Fox Sparrow."
This individual is browner than many, lacking much gray in the face, and a richer brown color overall. Its bill is also a duller yellow color, rather than the bright orange we see on some races. These features suggest one of the more northerly races of which there are several possibilities such as P. i. sinuosa and P. i. annectens which breed in Alaska and winter in California.
A detailed photo essay on Fox Sparrow subspecies in the Monterey Area is at:
Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 | Nikon FieldScope III | 30XWA |hand-held (no adapter)