Monday, August 28, 2006

Random Bird Pix: Botteri's Sparrow

Monday, August 28, 2006
It was a busy, hectic weekend with almost no bird watching, so I thought I'd reach back into the photo archives and share this image of a Botteri's sparrow (Aimophila botterii).

I digiscoped this rare sparrow along the San Pedro River near Bisbee, Arizona in August 2004. Note the flat head, long bill and tail, and clear breast. If you check the range map for Botteri's sparrow in your field guide, you'll see that you can find this bird in the US only in the SE corner of Arizona and in a tiny area of Texas' southernmost gulf coast. One great way to add this species to your life list is to attend the Southwest Wings Birding Festival, held each August in Bisbee. It's a very fun (and incredibly birdy) event with excellent field trips and guides. Julie and I were speakers at the SWWBF the year we found this purty li'l fella.

Once you are in the appropriate part of the world, the best way to locate a Botteri's sparrow is by sound. Their song is fairly distinctive--as I recall, it is like the song of a field sparrow or olive sparrow, but sharper and more emphatic. It also rises slightly in pitch, rather than descending.

Matteo Botteri, for whom the species is named, was a Yugoslavian ornithologist who relocated to Mexico in the mid-1800s. He collected the first Botteri's sparrow in Mexico in 1857. And his surname is pronounced BOTT-er-eyes, according to most references. The Botteri's sparrow ranks among the birds with the most-often-mispronounced names, right up there with phainopepla, Xantus's hummingbird or murrelet, and pyrrhuloxia.


On August 28, 2006 at 11:38 AM Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pronunciation guide, I hate sounding like I have no how do you pronounce "pileated". Help settle that one for the rabid birding clan that is my family, it has been under contention for ages.
Caroline in SD

On August 28, 2006 at 1:22 PM Rondeau Ric said...

Hi Caroline

It's the TOmayto toMAto thing,
PILL e ated or PILE e ated. I find most people say it the way they first heard it.
Personally I just go with the flow.

So Bill, how do you say it.

On August 28, 2006 at 2:37 PM Bill of the Birds said...

I say PIE-lee-ate-ed, but then I am mighty fond of pie.

On August 28, 2006 at 3:45 PM Rondeau Ric said...

Well, as the mathematicians say, Pie R Squared, dude.

On August 28, 2006 at 9:27 PM Anonymous said...

I believe if a pie r squared it becomes a tart or maybe a cake.
Thanks gentlemen, I'll go with pile-e-ated, as learned at daddy's'll annoy my brother. :)

On August 28, 2006 at 10:46 PM Susan Gets Native said...

I learned it as Pill-ee-ated, and I'm stickin' with it. I have to go with my early English studies that dictate that if it was "Pile-ee-ated", the word Pileated would have two L's or the "e" would be silent... But it's late and I may be full of hooey.
And "BOOT-er-eyes"? My Italian mother-in-law would roll her eyes!
Hey, Ric: Do you KNOW of anyone who says "toMAto"?

On August 29, 2006 at 9:21 AM Rondeau Ric said...

And the debate rages on!
How do you pronounce plover?
Pl over(the hill)
or P lover(of wine women and song?

Yes Susan, he's a Scotsman who loves to irratate me.

BT3 I gave you a ground ball and you didn't comment ( how do you pronounce IT

Tuesdays are so much more fun than Mondays.