My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

The Nelson’s Sparrow is a small sparrow. This bird was named after Edward William Nelson, an American naturalist. Formerly, this bird and the Saltmarsh Sparrow were considered to be a single species, the Sharp-tailed Sparrow; because of this it was briefly known as Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow.

Adults have brownish upper-parts with grey on the crown and nape, a cream-colored breast with light or indistinct streaking and a white throat and belly; they have an orange face with grey cheeks and a short pointed tail.

Their breeding habitat is marshes on the Atlantic coast of Canada and Maine, central Canada, (the Canadian Prairies region and a coastal strip on the south of Hudson Bay), and the north central United States. The nest is an open cup attached to vegetation and close to the ground. Males compete for females but do not defend territories; they sometimes help feed the young. Mating is largely promiscuous by both sexes; multiple paternity in a nest is common.

These birds migrate to the southeastern coasts of the United States. They forage on the ground or in marsh vegetation, sometimes probing in mud and eat mainly insects, aquatic invertebrates and seeds. Their call is a raspy trill, almost a mechanical sound. It may be given in flight during the nesting season. The sound has been likened to a drop of water hitting a hot frying pan.

On to my photos:

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

Nelson’s Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni

This is number 137 in my photo life list, only 213 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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6 responses

  1. You got some excellent shots of this one, with an unusual background color. I just responded to your comment on my blog, asking if you realized that the comments were turned off on your last post.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

    • Thanks! These sparrows were perched in the weeds along a road, and bordering a farm field, hence the green background, which was pretty cool. I didn’t know that the comments were turned off, but there wasn’t much in that post to comment on anyway.

      WordPress does weird things every now and then. Twice in the last month, it has lost all the formatting for a draft in progress, so I’ve had to go back through and put the paragraph breaks and such back in.

      December 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

  2. It seems you don’t want to read comments this period of the ear since comments for last post are closed, but, I wanted to say that I like very much your last photos!!

    December 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

    • Thank you! I guess I’ll have to check why comments aren’t allowed, it must be a WordPress issue, as this post is between two that the comments are turned off for.

      December 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      • Sorry, not ‘ear’ but ‘year’.
        Who knows why, perhaps you must check the ‘Allow comments’ button.
        🙂

        December 23, 2013 at 6:35 am

      • Thanks, I have the comments “turned on ” globally, but I found that I have to turn them on for each post now for some reason.

        December 23, 2013 at 9:16 am