Baird’s Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Ammodramus bairdii
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Song begins with 2 or 3 high thin notes, followed by single warbled note and a low trill.

Description: Sexes similar. Buffy head and nape with fine black streaks on nape and sides of crown; unstreaked buffy central crown  stripe. Brown upperparts with streaked back; whitish unstreaked belly. Whitish throat  bordered with dark stripe on each side; buffy breast band with widely spaced dark streaking on  breast and sides. Tail feathers edged with buff; corners of tail light gray. Juvenile has paler head; streaked central crown stripe; and more extensively streaked underparts.

Behavior: Secretive and hard to spot; slips through grass instead of flies when flushed.

Baird's Sparrow NE estimated range
Habitat: Prairies, other natural grasslands, and weedy fields.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon spring and fall migrant across most of the state, becoming less common eastwardly and rare in extreme eastern counties.

Status: Numbers have declined with loss of virgin prairie habitat.

Fun Facts: Baird’s Sparrows like open areas such as native prairie mixed with forbs and recently burned forests where they are usually abundant for two to three years after a fire

Baird's Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)