Sunday, July 7, 2013

Savannah Sparrow

I encountered this Savannah Sparrow singing away on top of a road sign at Circle Lake in Rice Co., Minnesota. The species is abundant across much of North America. Alexander Wilson named this sparrow for where the first specimen was collected—Savannah, Georgia.

Annual mortality of adults is around 50% a year. Nevertheless, most Savannah Sparrows return to where they hatched. The result is relative reproductive isolation, which results in marked geographic variation—17 subspecies are currently recognized by ornithologists (Wheelwright and Rising 2008). Birds breeding here in southeastern Minnesota appear to be heavily streaked with relatively indistinct yellowish lores.

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