Saturday, May 18, 2019

Song Sparrow - A Distinguished Neighbor

Song Sparrow

In the soggy marshland surrounding Evergreen Lake he sings his heart out. His sweet music includes twenty different tunes and at least 1,000 improvised variations so it’s no wonder they call him the song sparrow.

Full of complex rhythm and emotion, his colorful vocalizations are used to attract females and defend territory. His unique, prolonged melody distinguishes him as a neighbor rather than a stranger.

This common sparrow is an adaptable bird whose behavior and appearance is extremely variable and unpredictable. He is found throughout North America but individuals from different regions look completely different from each other.

In our neck of the woods, the song sparrow is described by brown, heavily streaked plumage, a mottled back and a white throat. His face is gray with a dark eye line and a white jaw line while his reddish crown has a neat gray stripe.

The female builds a nest that’s usually concealed somewhere near the ground but he does help collect the building material. An exposed nest is susceptible to being parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds as their eggs are nearly identical to the sparrows'.

Before being hammered by heavy snow, the sparrow heads down the hill in order to spend the winter at a more hospitable elevation. Another early migrant, he comes back in the spring feasting on insects, seeds and fruit and singing his symphonic song.

A common sparrow

Distinguished as a neighbor

An adaptable bird

Extremely variable and unpredictable

He collects building material

Colorful vocalizations

Streaked plumage and a reddish crown

An early migrant

He sings a symphonic song

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