I’ve watched birds for decades, but in one matter, the matter of sparrows, I mostly took the lazy route, simply marking down “sparrow” in my eBird checklist whenever I saw a streaky little brownish bird, not trying to figure out which sparrow. If I’d had the new book “Peterson Reference Guide to Sparrows” back then, maybe I’d have behaved better.
Its author, Rick Wright, has long delved deep into the world of birds, and he has a rich academic background, too, in languages, philosophy, life sciences, and even medieval studies. Through it all he kept on birding and is a leader for Victor Emanuel nature tours, and the author of state-specific American Birding Association guides, for Arizona and for his home state of New Jersey.
We talked sparrows—how they’re related, how to learn to ID them, and more.