Sunday, August 04, 2013

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia

There are five species of sparrows that nest along my customary hike close to the Elbow River. Each sparrow has a unique nesting habitat.

The Song Sparrows choose locations more proximal to the Elbow River than the other sparrows. Song Sparrows are very widespread in North America and these birds occupy a variety of nesting habitats. Perhaps in this area, the closer-to-the-riverside locations are chosen to avoid competition with the other sparrow species? The other four nesting sparrows are the Clay-coloured, Savannah, Lincoln, and Swamp Sparrow.
Song Sparrows eat insects and seeds. The adult in the photos below is taking an insect meal back to the nest to feed either the first or perhaps the second brood of the season.

During spring, soon after they arrive, Song Sparrows turn up at my ground feeders. Later in the season these birds must feed closer to their nest because I rarely see them in my garden.

The Song Sparrow in the June 6th photograph below was on Kingfisher Island and directly opposite where I took the above photos on July 27 and August 3rd. Perhaps the birds are all from the same family.
These birds do have a terrific call. The species name is very apt and is from the Greek for "melody."


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2000.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

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