Sparrows are Singing!

By Tom Virzi


We just finished up our first week in the field and found plenty of Cape Sable seaside sparrows singing!  That’s what the beginning of the field season is all about…finding those singing males.  As you can see from this photo this is no easy task.  We spend our mornings walking around in tall grass, often with dense mist in the early morning hours, trying to find a tiny bird hidden somewhere in the marl prairie.  Fortunately, the males signal their presence by singing from tall grass perches.  Click on this video link to watch a male singing on his territory.

CSSS Singing

At this point in the breeding season male sparrows are just setting up territories.  They spend their mornings flying around their territory marking its boundaries to signal to other males that this is their space.  Their song also attracts females.  Later in the breeding season, they will continue to sing reinforcing their territorial boundaries to keep out intruders.  It’s lucky for us that they do this because it’s how we find the birds that we will be monitoring over the course of the next several months.

Next week we will be out there trying to find more sparrows.  Soon enough, we’ll be finding females and then nests.  It’s great to be back in the field!