Sparrows are poorly understood birds of parts of the eastern United States.
Populations have been in decline for several decades for reasons that aren't
completely understood. Males will sing their incredibly short and
unremarkable song from high perches in weeds and shrubs during the summer, but
otherwise, they are very hard to observe as they typically forage on the ground
in thick weedy vegetation.
is thought that population declines are due to habitat losses, but habitat
requirements for the species are poorly understood. They are often found
in weedy fields and meadows, often damp or marshy, with standing tall weeds and
shrubs. They have also been found using abandoned pastures and farm
and spiders make up most of the summer diet. Seeds also make up a portion
of the diet, and may be the primary food item in the winter.
most of its foraging by walking along the ground, usually alone and not in
flocks. Males will perch on exposed tall weeds and sing their very short
and unremarkable courting song.
Nesting: June and July
Breeding Map: It
is thought to breed intermittently in the eastern part of South Dakota, but only
one confirmed breeding report exists (per SDOU).
Song: Strange monosyllabic
Migration: Summers throughout much of the Midwest,
the eastern Great Lakes region, parts of the Mid-Atlantic, and parts of the
eastern Great Plains. Winters in the southeastern U.S.
Conservation Status: Has undergone a sharp decline in the last
several decades, probably due to loss of habitat.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Henslow's Sparrow"
Photo Information: Photo from Ohio courtesy of Lana Hays