Thursday, February 14, 2013

A secretive present from the storm

This delicately striped little sparrow is a member of the American genus Ammodramus, which is Latin for "sand runner". 

Like most members of the genus, the Le Conte's sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) does indeed scurry rodent like along the ground, as I had the pleasure of witnessing at close quarters. Normally a highly secretive resident of damp grasslands in the middle of the North American continent, this individual was found guzzling seeds by the side of a road in Concord, MA. We think it was probably blown here by a recent storm, and too exhausted to bother escaping from approaching cars or ecstatic birdwatchers.
Tired/ tame Le Conte's sparrow too busy guzzling to wipe its beak

Like many members of the genus, particularly the grasshopper sparrow, the Le Conte's sparrow sounds more like an insect than a bird, with a high-pitched, buzzy trill.

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