Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
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Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow
Melospiza georgiana
Perching Birds | Family: New World Sparrows, Emberizidae

An estimated 79% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

A bird of the wetlands during the breeding season, the Swamp Sparrow appears in a variety of other habitats during migration and in winter. It is rather shy, but responds readily to any squeaking noise, and can usually be lured into view by a patient observer. It is never seen in large flocks like the White-throated and White-crowned sparrows, but is usually found singly, foraging on the ground in rather dense cover.

Description

5" (13 cm). A chunky dark sparrow with unstreaked underparts, bright rufous cap, and rusty wings; dark brown back and tail; gray face and breast; white throat. White-throated Sparrow has striped crown and whiter throat, and lacks rusty coloration on wings.

Voice

Sweet, musical trill, all on one note.

Nesting

4 or 5 blue-green eggs, with brown blotches, in a grassy cup on the ground, well hidden in dense tussocks or marsh vegetation.

Habitat

Freshwater marshes and open wooded swamps; during migration with other sparrows, weedy fields, parks, and brush piles.

Range/Migration

Breeds from Mackenzie east to Newfoundland, and south to northern Missouri, Ohio, Maryland, and Delaware. Winters north to Nebraska, southern Great Lakes region, and southern New England.