Species of the Week: The Song Sparrow

Photo by Adam Kalab

Spring is approaching and some birds are coming back, but this week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is one that never left! The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is one of North America’s most widespread and common birds. Its range covers all of Canada and the continental United States. Many populations, including those in Central and Southern Ontario, do not migrate in the winter. Song Sparrows use a wide variety of habitats, including open fields, lake edges, deciduous forests, and suburban habitats. They will regularly visit bird feeders, and due to their abundance, are good starter birds for amateur birders to learn how to identify. Song Sparrows have regional differences in their colouration and streaking; there are 24 recognized subspecies, but they can all be identified from other sparrows by the streaking on the chest. The streaks look like they were painted on, and usually converge into a big blotch at the centre. Song Sparrows can also be identified by their distinctive song, which starts with several spaced-out notes and ends with a trill. Male Song Sparrows use their songs to mark their territory and attract mates. Laboratory studies found that females were more attracted to males with more complex songs, who had learned certain components from other Song Sparrows. Keep your ears open and soon you’ll notice their song almost everywhere you go!

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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