The Riddle of the Blue Sparrow…


A few months ago, I caught sight of a sparrow sitting on a feeder in my garden in Sydney. Nothing unusual in that, you might think. Those brown sparrows are everywhere. But this one was blue! I grabbed the nearest camera and fired away, although it was not easy to snap it…sparrows aren’t renowned for posing.

I made a few phone calls to the experts. The comments ranged from suggesting that I had seen a blue wren, the bird had fallen in a pot of blue paint, or that I had been busy in Photoshop! Others were totally mystified. I wrote a story for the Daily Mail, which ran it, along with a picture [link here] – and I received calls from ornithologists all around the world seeking more information. Had I seen the sparrow again? Could I find a feather and send it to them so it could be forensically examined? No, I hadn’t seen it again. No, I couldn’t find a feather.

I’ve since learned that a bird watcher on the New South Wales central coast has seen a flock of blue corellas (from the cockatoo family, but without the yellow crown). Suggestions for the phenomenon of my sparrow and the corellas range from the birds cross-breeding with a budgerigar to the birds having ingested food which has altered their pigment. Eating carrots could do this, it was suggested.

There has been a lot of chatter on the web about this bird! [link][link][link]

Blue Sparrow

The famous blue sparrow in my garden

So the controversy rages on. If I see the blue sparrow again, I’ll be ready with my camera.

, , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Cameron on 19/10/2009 - 2:02 pm

    Very interesting Richard. I’m still a bit perplexed, could this really be an undiscovered species? Looking forward to a final word from ornathologists!

  2. #2 by admin on 19/10/2009 - 2:10 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Cameron. I’m hoping to speak to more experts and perhaps we’ll have an answer…

  3. #3 by Roger of Avalon on 23/10/2009 - 6:42 pm

    I’ve seen a blue moon, but never a blue sparrow. Someone should tell Bill Oddy.

  4. #4 by Jennifer on 20/04/2010 - 12:47 am

    I just saw 5 blue sparrows in my backyard this morning. I ran to get the camera but had flown away when I returned. I am hoping they come back. I live in Humble, TX, USA. They are absolutley beautiful.

  5. #5 by admin on 20/04/2010 - 10:11 am

    You’re one of the world’s luckiest people, Jennifer! Scientists have told me that blue house sparrows are extremely rare!

  6. #6 by Cyndy on 16/11/2010 - 6:28 pm

    I think I saw a blue sparrow last week in Rockville, MD outside of Washington DC. I didn’t know they existed. I managed to take a picture of it, which I just posted on my blog. Your sparrow is gorgeous! Mine has a lot more brown in it.

  7. #7 by admin on 16/11/2010 - 7:02 pm

    Thanks for your info, Cyndy. Blue sparrows are obviously out there despite some skepticism in some quarters. My sparrow hasn’t come back – but I’m still ‘on watch’.

  8. #8 by amazingo on 20/12/2010 - 3:08 am

    I just saw a blue sparrow while going out for a short walk in Santa Barbara, California, earlier in the morning. At first I thought I my mind was playing tricks on me until I noticed several other brown sparrows along with it. So yes, blue sparrows do exist, but they’re about as common as a four-leaf clover.

  9. #9 by Polypropylene on 29/01/2011 - 7:45 am

    “‘, I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information -‘,

  10. #10 by Cindy on 24/05/2011 - 7:00 am

    I have a blue sparrow that comes down for seed avery afternoon here in Casper Wyoming. It is the first I’ve ever seen and I feel very priviledged to witness it. I have no camera to take it’s picture but it has a solid blue head and blue down the middle of it’s back.

  11. #11 by Linda on 03/10/2011 - 10:10 am

    A blue sparrow keeps landing on my window each day.. The most georgeous blue i have ever seen. I have not been able to catch a photo as yet, but i will continue to try !!

  12. #12 by Jo Anne on 16/04/2012 - 7:25 am

    I just took picture’s of a blue sparrow that I took while walking around our pond in Lincoln, Ca. USA . Pretty little bird but I was shocked at the color, kind of a dusty blue, but certainly blue

  13. #13 by werewolf luver on 28/04/2012 - 1:55 am

    sooooooooooooo cool! i saw a bird like that, then the next day i saw a painted bunting! this was recent. if you think painted buntings are extinct, their not! i see one EVERY DAY.:) im hungry…:)

  14. #14 by Steve Navarra on 13/05/2012 - 4:57 am

    I was looking out at my future meadow (I’m planting a portion of my yard in wildflowers, as an invitation to birds, butterflies and bees…) and noticed, on the woodpile, a sparrow; not just ANY sparrow…same size, same markings, as a house sparrow…but in metallic blue. Irridescent blue. No, I do NOT drink alcohol, nor do I smoke dope or take drugs. WTH??? Too slow and old to have grabbed my camera, the tale lives on, after the TAIL flew away…

  15. #15 by Steve Navarra on 13/05/2012 - 5:03 am

    DUH! I Shoulda looked it up, first: It was a cerulean warbler.
    http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/535/overview/Cerulean_Warbler.aspx

  16. #16 by Edward on 26/06/2012 - 4:40 am

    I recently saw one in New York City.

  17. #17 by Edward on 26/06/2012 - 4:40 am

    I had a friend snap off a photo.

  18. #18 by Emily on 30/03/2014 - 4:49 am

    I saw about five of them this morning in Connecticut.

  19. #19 by Cliff on 20/05/2014 - 3:48 pm

    Was there ever a definitive answer here? We found this guy injured in our yard today and he really looks like a sparrow to us, except blue.

    http://instagram.com/p/oNAWtSRtYs/
    http://instagram.com/p/oNAsw7RtZB/

  20. #20 by admin on 20/05/2014 - 4:33 pm

    Definitely a blue sparrow Cliff. A perfect example!

  21. #21 by mariannegranado@gmail.com on 01/11/2014 - 4:09 pm

    Mom said see saw one in downtown Riverside, CA Oct 31, 2014. No pic but I will try to keep an eye out.

(will not be published)