Saturday, August 10, 2013

Clay-colored Sparrow

This Clay-colored Sparrow perched on a White Indigo in Carleton College’s arboretum prairie (the same field as the Field Sparrow about which I recently posted). These sparrows are abundant in shrubby prairie-lands in the northern Midwest and southern Canada. Only the conversion of these grasslands to agriculture, heavy livestock use, or urban development threaten this species.

This bird obligingly perched on a fruiting Wild White Indigo. This plant is popular in gardens and prairie restoration projects. Indigo is a native plant found in southeastern Minnesota and much of the eastern United States. The species benefits a number of insects, including butterflies. The plant, if overgrazed, is toxic to cattle. Most herbivores know to avoid indigo (Nature Conservancy).

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