Thursday, May 5, 2016

Swamp Sparrow

Sparrow of Marshes and Wetlands

Swamp Sparrow
There is a sparrow that is well known to  seasoned birders but not to the casual birder, the Swamp Sparrow.  It is a small dark sparrow with dark streaked upper parts, gray breast, rust brown on its crown and wing, and a gray face with a dark streak running from the eye posteriorly.  

The Swamp Sparrow breeds in Canada and the northern regions of eastern and central USA.  It winters in central and southeastern USA and into Mexico.  Its preferred habitat is the edges of fresh water marshes, ponds, bogs and along streams.  It feeds on the ground mainly on insects and seeds.  

Swamp Sparrow
The Swamp Sparrow can often be located first by its song; a long single-noted trill.  Its call note is a sharp, metallic note.  When you hear either,  look around and you will find the Swamp Sparrow sitting on a cattail or willow bush near the water.  They have been back here in New Brunswick now for about 2 weeks.  The bird in the photos above has its crown feathers raised.  I have never seen that before and it probably indicates a bird alert to danger.

The photos above were taken at the St. George marsh where the Swamp Sparrows have settled in for their summer breeding program.  This is a species that is rewarding to look for.  Good luck.

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