CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES SERIES
The vesper sparrow is gray-brownand streaked above, dull white below, and streaked onthe throat, breast, and sides. The tail is short andnotched with white outer feathers that are conspicuousin flight. This sparrow also has a narrow, white eye ring,a dark ear patch outlined along the lower and rearedges with white, and a distinctive chestnut shoulderpatch that is not easily seen. The song, which is richand melodious, consists of 2 long, slurred notes fol-lowed by 2 higher notes, then a series of varied, short,descending trills.
The vesper sparrow occurs from Canadasouth through the United States. It winters south toMexico and the Gulf Coast states.
The vesper sparrow nests on theground in dry, grassy areas. The nest is a smalldepression made by the sparrow, lined with fine materi-
Old fields, meadows, pastures, woodlandclearings, and hayfields. Sometimes found in beachgrass in coastal areas.
10-11 inches.als, and located near sparse patches of vegetation.The 3 to 5 eggs are smooth, slightly glossy and white,marked with brown. The eggs are usually incubated bythe female for 11 to 13 days. The altricial (helpless)young have flesh-colored skin, gray down and a deeppink mouth. They leave the nest 7 to 13 days afterhatching, but are unable to fly well. They remaindependent on the adults for about 3 more weeks.Vesper sparrows occasionally raise 2 clutches duringthe nesting season.
Reason for Decline:
With the disappearance offarmlands and open fields and the increase in residen-tial and commercial development, populations of vespersparrows have declined. As with other ground-nestingbirds, high numbers of predators, such as raccoons andskunks, have also contributed to the decline of thisspecies.
Banding records have reportedbirds more than 6 years of age.
Beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, andlarge amounts of weed seeds and grains.
E N D A N G E R E D