The vesper sparrow is a large to medium-sized grassland bird that is named for its tendency to sing just before dusk. This time of year I encounter these sparrows as often or more often than I encounter any other sparrow species. They are grayish brown above and buffy below with brown streaks. Vesper Sparrows prefer grasslands and open areas. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Characteristically, the Vesper Sparrow will fly away when disturbed. However, Vesper Sparrow is in danger of extirpation in Western Washington. Andy McCormick, Volunteer and Former Board President of Eastside Audubon. The second New York State Breeding Bird Atlas yielded a 49 percent decline in detection from the first atlas. Vesper Sparrows are a medium-large sparrow approximately 15 cm long. The Vesper Sparrow is a grassland specialist which often sings in the evening. The Vesper Sparrow's melodic song, a combination of clear whistles and trills, can often be heard at twilight — roughly the same time as vespers, thus earning the bird its name. Vesper Sparrows are fairly large sparrows with a chunky body, a fairly small conical bill, and a long, notched tail. The Vesper Sparrow is the only species in the genus Pooecetes, from the Greek for grass dwelling; poe, grass, and oiketes, dweller. By Kenneth Schneider [CC ND 2.0] This species is unique in that it requires patches of bare ground within its breeding territory, making severely disturbed habitats such as reclaimed mines, overgrazed pasture, and row crops potentially suitable. Vesper Sparrows are the only nesting sparrows of the open, low valleys of Washington that display white outer tail feathers in … In New York it is most commonly found in the Erie-Ontario Plain and the Central Appalachians. Vesper means “evening.”. Large, drab, streaky sparrow of grasslands, second growth, and bare ground. Beginning with 2-4 clear, long notes and ending with a mix of varying trills, these beautiful singers will serenade you morning and night. 2002. and J.E. Vesper Sparrows are a medium-large sparrow approximately 15 cm long. ( Log Out / The upperparts are pale gray-brown and marked with black streaking. Learn how your comment data is processed. Vespers is also the name of the canonical hour for evening prayer. At least to me, the Vesper Sparrow is an excellent example of one of those hard to identify species. They are grayish brown above and buffy below with brown streaks. The species epithet is gramineus, from the Latin for covered with grass. Forages mainly on the ground. Young hatch almost featherless and are tended to by both the male and female parents. They have a narrow white eye-ring, white outer tail feathers, and a rufous shoulder patch. Because of their propensity to sing at twilight, a trip to an open grassy area at dusk during the breeding season is a good time to go looking for them. In summer, its clear musical song may be heard at any time of day; but the naturalist John Burroughs, feeling that it sang most impressively in the evening, gave it the name of Vesper Sparrow. This behavior offers an advantage for the birder who can then see the white outer tail feathers as the bird flies away. Most distinctive in flight, when it flashes white outer tail feathers. Includes photos, illustration with field marks, and range map. Sexes are alike and plumage is similar throughout the year. Vesper Sparrow Description, range, habitat, songs and calls, identification tips, and behavior. The nest is built by the female alone. They are grayish brown above and buffy below with brown streaks. Additionally, it has a larger, stockier build than the savannah sparrow, while possessing a grayish-brown crown lacking a median stripe. Charitable donations to KBO are tax-deductible.Tax ID# 93-1297400. It seeks beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, and some spiders. Vesper Sparrows sing a sweet tinkling song during the day and well into the evening hours—the twilight of vespers, prompting its name. The vesper sparrow is a large to medium-sized grassland bird that is named for its tendency to sing just before dusk.
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