04 April, 2010

Song Sparrow

Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia

Population Estimate: 54M, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in open habitats in the southern United States in winter and northern United States throughout Canada in summer.

Field Notes: Sparrow with a streaky breast, and often with a central breast spot, that favors open, shrubby, wet areas. Will commonly sing from prominent perch. Face markings can vary considerably by region, but in general there is a russet cap and eye stripe on a grey head along with white and russet stripes along the jaw. Compared to other sparrows with streaky breasts, the Song Sparrow has more distinct facial markings and lacks the white eye ring of the Vesper Sparrow, whose range is nearly identical. The Song Sparrow has a slightly more restricted range than the Savannah Sparrow, and lacks its yellow eyebrow. Also similar to the American Tree Sparrow, the Song Sparrow's range is more southern and the streaky breast and jaw stripes are distinguishing.

Personal Notes: One of the first birds of spring in Minnesota, and most welcome!

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