Guide to Boreal Birds
This sparrow is unusual in having two distinct nesting populations, one in the alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains of the Yukon and the other in the sagebrush deserts of the western United States.
5" (13 cm). Light brown upperparts with black streaks; unmarked pale underparts. Resembles Clay-colored Sparrow, but has brown crown, finely streaked with black. Well-defined darker ear patch bordered by fine black eye line and 2 parallel "whisker" marks. Unstreaked breast; darker, finely streaked back with buff wing bars.
Alternating trills, musical or buzzy, often quite prolonged. Call note a soft seep, most often given in flight.
3-5 brown-spotted bluish eggs in a grass nest on or near the ground.
Sagebrush and alpine meadows.
Breeds in northern Rocky Mountains of Yukon and British Columbia, and in Great Basin south to southern California and New Mexico. Winters in southwestern states. Absent from Pacific Coast.