Friday, 17 April 2015

B.O.T.D. Baird's Sparrow

Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)

Baird's Sparrows are frustrating grassland denizens. Just when the form of the sparrow drifts into focus through your binoculars, the bird dives out of view from its perch. Baird's Sparrows sing atop grasses stems and low shrubs, but when they stop singing, they are almost impossible to find.

The Baird's Sparrow is a bird of native grasslands with an unusually small nesting distribution in the southern Canadian Prairies and extreme northern Great Plains states. It favours lush areas rather than grazed, short-grass prairie habitat. During years of drought, the Baird's Sparrow is now uncommon and declining throughout its range. Agriculture has eliminated much of the prairie it is reliant on and continues to reduce  remaining grassland tracts. Baird's Sparrow was the last bird collected and described by Audubon for his classic Birds of North America. If you think this species is difficult to find and recognize now, consider that it took 30 years for a second ornithologist to "rediscover" Baird's Sparrow after is was first described.

Lone Pine Publications: Birds of Canada