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Baird's Sparrow Ammodramus bairdii


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Baird's Sparrow
credit: Dominic Sherony/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family

Description Song is usually a sweet, rapid trill preceded by two or three thin tsip notes, and followed by a subdued warble; call is a thin tsee.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm)

Habitat Furtive behavior (actively avoids being seen) means it is a challenge to see; does not flush until you are almost on top of it. Easiest to observe when males are singing in spring.

Range Southwest, Western Canada, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Texas

Voice Local and scarce summer visitor (mainly May-Sep), restricted to short-grass prairies when breeding; threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Winters mainly in Mexico.

Discussion ADULT Has well-patterned upperparts, feathers on back and wings having dark centers and buffy margins. Nape and side of neck have fine, dark streaks. Head is buff yellow overall, with dark crown and buffy central stripe, and one or two dark spots behind ear coverts. Lateral margins of pale throat are defined by dark stripe and spaced dark streaks form a breast band that is flushed buff. Underparts are otherwise whitish with rufous streaks on flanks. JUVENILE Similar, but pale feather edges create scaly appearance to back.