Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow by paul conover
© paul conover
Ammodramus savannarum
The Grasshopper Sparrow is a rather uncommon or at least a seldom-observed winter resident in Louisiana. Although recorded in every month of the year, it is generally not seen until late September or after the end of April. To Horace H. Jeter goes the credit for having discovered, on July 7, 1968, the first and only nest of the species in the state, in an alfalfa field near Gilliam, in Caddo Parish. The nest contained five eggs and was subsequently photographed by G. Dale Hamilton.
The species is a small, short-tailed sparrow with a dark, striped back and a buffy, unmarked breast. It also has a buffy line over the eye and a median stripe of pale buff down the center of the crown. It is the only one of the "grass sparrows" (that is, sparrows that are habitual denizens of dense stands of grass) with a plain breast. Other distinct features are its flatheadedness, its pale face, and its squarish tail. Its favorite haunts are broom sedge fields in which there are a few small trees or brush piles. It is, however, the easiest of the grass sparrows to chase to a perch in a hedgerow or a thicket on a woods border. The majority of the few birds seen in summer were in fields of alfalfa or vetch. --George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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