About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The inconspicuous Henslow’s Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow photo from Wikimedia Commons
John J. Audubon named the Henslow’s Sparrow after his friend John Stevens Henslow, a naturalist and one-time teacher of Darwin. Like most sparrows it is a little brown bird. The most distinctive feature is their large head with dark stripes on a tiny body. They have streaked chests, reddish-brown tinged wings and short tails.

They winter in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf coast states around Florida and Texas and should arrive in mid-Michigan at the end of April. Prior to European settlement, Henslow's sparrows are suspected to have lived and bred primarily in prairie habitats. Today the sparrows have adapted to live and breed in secondary grassland habitats such as hayfields and pastures, but the loss of native habitat is probably a factor in a severe decline in their population.

The inconspicuous Henslow’s Sparrow spends most of their time foraging alone along the ground. They would be almost impossible to observe without the male’s lyrical advertisements.

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