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

Henslow's Sparrow

Published July 11, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Henslow's Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, American Kestrel, Song Sparrow, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, and Red-winged Blackbird

The Henslow's Sparrow is on the decline - a serious decline. It's already on the threatened list with habitat loss being the primary reason.  The habitat this sparrow prefers is grasslands with scattered weeds and small shrubs. And due to our human expansion, that habitat is becoming increasingly scarce. So what a thrill it was to hear that a Henslow's was found in the Jamestown area.

A few of us went down there tonight to see if we could spot this rarity - and sure enough, two were heard - and eventually, one was found!  High fives were passed around as we stared through scopes and binoculars at this wonderful little bird. He sang his heart out as we watched in awe and disbelief.  To be honest, this was my third try for the little fellow and I'm still shocked that I ended up getting the opportunity to see a bird that probably won't be around in a few short years.

The Henslow's Sparrow got its name from John Audubon, who named the sparrow for his good friend, John Stevens Henslow, a botanist and minister.  This sparrow, similar to the Grasshopper Sparrow, will flee from danger by running instead of flying. This is, in part, why they're difficult to see because they rarely take flight. They also aren't very visible until late evening or very early morning, when they will sit up on a shrub and sing.

Rick, Doug, Celeste, and I really enjoyed watching and listening to the Henslow's Sparrow sing his short, little 2-note sneeze "tsi-lick" sound that Celeste's ears picked up on before anyone else. As a matter of fact, a big thanks goes out to Celeste for even HEARING the sparrow. We may have missed him altogether had she not zeroed-in on his call!

There were several other birds in the area this evening, including: the Eastern Meadowlark, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, and Red-winged Blackbird, of course.  On the first trip down there, I heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo - but never got to lay eyes on it.  My current nemesis was ALMOST conquered that night!
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Henslow's Sparrow
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Henslow's Sparrow
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Eastern Meadowlark
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Eastern Meadowlark
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Savannah Sparrow
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Savannah Sparrow
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Female Bobolink
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Male Bobolink