Tuesday, November 06, 2012
American Tree Sparrow
American Tree Sparrows have moved into the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy in substantial numbers over the past week. Unfortunately for them, they'll be hunted by a Northern Shrike which has also taken up residence, perhaps for the winter. There are still other species around like Swamp, Song, and Fox in lower numbers, but sparrow migration is drawing to a close for another fall. However, it appears it's going to be an unusual irruption season for finches as crossbills are being reported in southern Wisconsin.
White-throated Sparrows have abandoned the prairie for the woods adjacent to the conservancy condos where there's ample food, water, and cover. It'll be fun listening to the young birds as their song fragments develop over the course of winter and into spring. The first-year white-throats are especially amusing to my ear.
On Sunday I found a somewhat late Savannah Sparrow and was able to get a documentation photograph of it for my eBird checklist. Though not exceptionally rare or as interesting as other birds being reported in the area, it was still a lifer for a young birder who was exploring the prairie with his mom. The shrike and two other sparrow species were also new to him. His enthusiasm for birds was fresh and infectious, especially when he saw the shrike through my spotting scope. It was his birthday weekend, too. His mom was very grateful and wrote a nice “thank you” to me on Facebook.
Sharing is what birding is all about. It's never as much fun when you're alone.
All images © 2012 Mike McDowell