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August 2017 Bird of the Month – Bachman’s Sparrow

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August’s Bird of the Month is the Bachman’s Sparrow, and here is the article in the July-August 2017 Kite written by Ben Kolstad.

Bachman’s Sparrow Peucaea aestivalis

This is one of two species that Audubon named for his friend, the Reverend John Bachman (pronounced Back-man, not Bock-man). The other species, Bachman’s Wood Warbler, is extinct. The sparrow still hangs on in its original southeast habitat of mature open pinewoods, although it is a species of special concern because of the increased rarity of its preferred ecosystem. It can often be “seen” (the bird is elusive, more often heard than seen) at several locations in Palm Beach County: the Corbett WMADuPuis, and Cypress Creek Natural Area.  For an extraordinarily well-written introduction to the species, I refer you to Cornell’s Birds of North America online (a paywalled resource, but the introductory page of many species accounts is free to view): https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/038/articles/introduction

The following description is from the U.S. FWS species account:

Bachman’s Sparrow, endemic to North America, is described as a “plain sparrow”, distinguished by “buffy” brownish-gray under-plumage that is tinged with reddish streaks. It has a large bill with a darker upper mandible, and darker tail feathers that are long and rounded. The crown is reddish-brown and contains a thin dark line extending from the eye towards the back of the head as well as a thin dark streak extending back from its cheek. This sparrow is more easily identifiable by its simple yet beautiful song than by plumage characteristics. Individuals of this species exhibit a lot of terrestrial locomotion such as walking, hopping, running; often they appear to be reluctant to fly. This species is considered to be one of the most rapidly declining bird species in North America (Butcher and Niven 2007 [Audubon State of the Birds 2007]). Fire suppression, and the associated loss of optimal habitat, is considered to be one of the greatest causes of such decline. 

(Photographer’s please note that next month’s September 2017 Bird will be the Northern Bobwhite)

Please check out the last picture by Dr. Lester Shalloway in the KITE and to see the slide show of the entire virtual gallery this month, along with photographer etc  — click on BOM SLIDE SHOW below the pictures displayed here:

August 2017 Bird of the Month – Bachman’s Sparrow Slide Show