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Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

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Published by: Connecticut Wildlife Publication Library on May 27, 2012
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01/13/2013

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W
ILDLIFE IN
C
ONNECTICUT
CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
q
WILDLIFE DIVISION
ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES SERIES
 VESPER SPARROW
Pooecetes gramineus
Identification:
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.
Range:
The vesper sparrow occurs from Canadasouth through the United States. It winters south toMexico and the Gulf Coast states.
Reproduction:
The vesper sparrow nests on theground in dry, grassy areas. The nest is a smalldepression made by the sparrow, lined with fine materi-
Habitat:
Old fields, meadows, pastures, woodlandclearings, and hayfields. Sometimes found in beachgrass in coastal areas.
 Weight:
0.75-1 ounce.
Length:
5.5-6.5 inches.
 Wingspan:
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.
Life Expectancy:
Banding records have reportedbirds more than 6 years of age.
Food:
Beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, andlarge amounts of weed seeds and grains.
Status:
State endangered.
E  N  D  A  N  G  E  R  E  D  

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