Jones and Comely (2002) give only one citation for this sparrow’s bathfing in water. Ron Dudley blogged and shared photos quite similar to ours. His photos also show a Vesper Sparrow with its head touching the water. His, however, appears to be wetting the top of the head. Ours appears to have the whole side of the head under water—we wondered how the bird did not drown! Do you suppose the bird held its breath?
Finally our Vesper Sparrow took notice of us and suddenly took flight straight up out of the water. One of the dangers of bird baths is supposed to be that, unlike when they are dry, wet birds are more vulnerable to predators. Our wet Vesper Sparrow seemed to have no difficulty taking wing.