Guide to Boreal Birds
The rich, musical song of this sparrow is a most distinctive sound on rolling farmlands. Long known as the "Bay-winged Bunting," the bird was given the pleasing if somewhat inappropriate name Vesper Sparrow by the naturalist John Burroughs, who thought the song sounded more melodious in the evening. The bird is usually found on the ground but often mounts to an exposed perch to deliver its song.
5-6 1/2" (13-17 cm). A grayish, streaked sparrow with white outer tail feathers, narrow white eye ring, and a small patch of chestnut on bend of wing.
Song a slow series of 4 clear musical notes, the last 2 higher, ending in a descending series of trills-sometimes rendered as come-come-where-where-all-together-down-the-hill.
4-6 white eggs, heavily spotted with brown, in a well-made cup of grass and rootlets concealed in grass on the ground.
Fields, pastures, and roadsides in farming country.
Breeds from British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia south to central California, Texas, Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Winters north to central California, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Long Island.