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Scratcher is a Fox Sparrow, known for his round body and rust brown coloring. Peter Rabbit remarks that:

“(t)he only thing I’ve against him is the color of his coat. It reminds me of Reddy Fox, and I don’t like anything that reminds me of that fellow.”

The Burgess Bird Book, Living Books Press Edition, Thornton W. Burgess, p. 13-14

Burgess adds that Scratcher is one of biggest species of Sparrows and that he uses both feet when scratching, as he forages on the ground. As you try and find them it’s important to note that they may be hard to find during breeding season, but are easier to see during the winter when they come looking for food.

Our favorite cool fact from The Cornell Lab’s All About Birds is:

“The nineteenth century naturalist William Brewster was inspired by the rich song of breeding Fox Sparrows in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. ‘At all hours of the day,’ he wrote, ‘in every kind of weather late into the brief summer, its voice rises among the evergreen woods filling the air with quivering, delicious melody, which at length dies softly, mingling with the soughing of the wind in the spruces, or drowned by the muffled roar of the surf beating against neighboring cliffs.'”
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence

I love this quote because of the perfect and beautiful setting Brewster paints in our minds as we read it. And because I would love to visit this area of the world for many different reasons.

Fox Sparrows do have a beautiful song: Larry Bond’s video of a Fox Sparrow’s call on Youtube

Someday I hope to be able to sit and listen to the calls of birds with my children quietly listening beside me. I’ll keep you posted as to when that happens, but for now it is a great thing to watch these types of videos to grow in identifying calls and birds.

Our gathering for Scratcher:

Scratcher: Fox Sparrow

Size & Shape: Fox Sparrows are large round-bodied sparrows.

Color Pattern: Fox Sparrows are generally rust-brown above.

Diet: Insects

Behavior: Ground Forager

Something you didn’t know: Fox Sparrows tend to feed on the ground close to dense vegetation.

Until next time, maybe we can try to learn to scratch with two legs at once like Scratcher, <3 Kate

Check out our Burgess Bird Book Coloring Pages here!

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