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Our bird's black tail goes a long way to the quiz's solution, as black-tailed passerines are relatively rare (and, I think that most would agree that we can start with that presumption). Add in the gray uppertail coverts, the long primary projection, and the whitish wing bar, and there just aren't many options. With the above, we've long lost most of the few black-tailed options we had at the start of this paragraph, but not all of 'em, as there might still be the odd flycatcher and a Turdus thrush in the mix.
The dark-centered uppertail coverts are not matched by phoebes, but some American Robins can sport such. Some American Robins also have a faint wing bar, but no American Robins have brown-edged secondaries and mostly-brown scapulars. Various wagtails have narrower tails and don't have brown-edged secondaries nor brown scaps. Blackbirds are, well, right out. That leaves us with the sparrow clan. Few sparrows have black tails, among them much of the genus Amphispiza, plus a few odds and ends (e.g., towhees, Black-chinned Sparrow, and Lark Bunting). However, at this point, the best single ID feature of what we can see on our quiz bird comes screaming to the fore: the black spots/streaks on the scapulars. I took this picture of a Sage Sparrow (of one of the interior races) at Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA, on 26 October 2007.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the September Bird Photo Quiz—Sage Sparrow:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.