Savannah Sparrow Dossier

by Carl Strang

The species dossiers I have shared to date have contained plenty of information, but such certainly is not the case for all of my files. Today I share one of the more limited examples. Though I was surrounded by savanna sparrows in Alaska where I did my graduate research, my focus was on other species. These sparrows seem to be increasingly common in DuPage County as restored prairies continue to grow and improve, but I have not had the opportunity to do much more than see them here and there, and reminisce about the Alaska days when I hear their song.

Sparrow, Savannah

Known best from summers in western Alaska, where it was the only lowland tundra sparrow and was very common. Often their noisy early morning territorial squabbles on the tent frame roof served as our alarm clock.

7OC00. Two observed near Sea of Evanescence, Fermilab. After I flushed them, they flew to exposed perches.

22OC01. One among the cattails at Heron Trail marsh, South Blackwell. Streaks on the flanks are narrow and sharp, against a yellow background that contrasts with the paler color of the undersides generally; streaks on the upper chest not as distinctive. Yellow spot at base of bill clearly visible.

4MY02. For the second spring bird count in a row, I observed savannah sparrows at the Mallard Lake Forest Preserve parking lot, singing in the small planted trees in an otherwise open, short-grass area.

15SE02. A single savannah sparrow was in a sod farm field close to 3 buff-breasted sandpipers, the only birds on the ground anywhere near that spot.

12OC02. Savannah sparrows at edge of cattails beside extensive mudflat at the south end of Lake Law, Fermilab. A couple of them were out on the open mud, well away from cover. An American pipit approached them. One of them displaced the pipit, which immediately turned and chased the sparrow in a lengthy, twisting and turning flight that took them into the cattails.

Recent springs, Timber Ridge Forest Preserve. We usually find a few savannah sparrows around the farm paddocks and fields on the spring bird count.

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1 Comment

  1. kimberly said,

    February 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

    your good


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