My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Vesper Sparrow in Springville

Published June 23, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Vesper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird

Today's target bird was a Vesper Sparrow.  Doug H. knew of a place in Springville where we might have a pretty fair chance of finding one.  Sure enough, after some slow cruising along the roadside near a tree farm, he spotted one up on a power line.

I grabbed a quick few photos of this large, streaked sparrow and I'm very glad I did.  A little while later, we got another good view of a Vesper, but I studied it in my binoculars a little too long before trying for a photo - and sure enough, I missed my opportunity to capture it.  The time spent with my binoculars, though, enabled me to pick out his streaked breast, pink feet, eyering, and white, outer tail feathers.

By the way, did you know the Vesper Sparrow was renamed from "Bay-winged Bunting" because naturalist, John Burroughs, thought the sparrow's song sounded more melodious in the evening?

Also, this sparrow is very selective in its habitat, requiring fields and pastures in farm country.  And due to changing farming practices (such as the use of chemicals and early hay harvesting), this bird is declining throughout its range. Sadly, it's actually on the endangered, threatened, or special conservation concern lists in several states. One day, if things don't change, our children's children may never hear the beautiful song of this bird.

We saw six different sparrow species along the road: Vesper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and GRASSHOPPER Sparrow!  It was nice to get some more great looks of a Grasshopper Sparrow.

Another noteworthy bird we saw the American Kestrel - a little family of three.  There was at least 1 juvenile and both parents hunting along the road.  I was amazed at how a fearless Eastern Kingbird chased one of them away from his self-proclaimed territory!  As Doug quipped, "Tyrannus tyrannus"! That is the scientific name for this species and it does seem well ascribed!

A family of Eastern Bluebirds was busy finding food for their young and we heard and saw a few Indigo Buntings, along with an uncommonly seen (or are they often unnoticed?) female.
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Vesper Sparrow, my life bird today!
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Vesper Sparrow - our poor position into the light and distance didn't make for a very good photo. Try, try again!
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A Chipping Sparrow singing
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Field Sparrow
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Grasshopper Sparrow
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He had lots of singing going on
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Savannah Sparrow
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Another frequent singer
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Eastern Kingbird, aka Tyrannus tyrannus
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He looks so sweet sitting here so nicely; doesn't he?
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Eastern Bluebird with food for his babes
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Female American Kestrel