Five evenings ago I was able to photograph a cooperative Vesper Sparrow in Montana’s Centennial Valley. The LBJ (little brown job) seemed to be focused on singing it’s song at the top of a bush, perhaps to find a mate. The rufus coverts can be seen in the image above and are a key I often use to ID this species of sparrow along with other field marks.
At one point in time Vesper Sparrows were called “Bay-winged buntings” but John Burroughs (1837-1921) changed the name because he thought their song sounded melodious in the evening. I know that the one I photographed last week enchanted me with its song.
Listen to the song of a Vesper Sparrow here.
These sparrows sing actively in the mornings as well as the twilight.
Unfortunately this sparrow species; along with so many other species, are declining in many areas of their range. Farming practices, chemicals, early hay harvesting and large scale tillage are contributing to their decline. Vesper Sparrows are often the first species to quickly occupy dormant farm fields and reclaimed mines sites as they return to forests.
I’m back home now from Montana and Idaho with several thousand images to go through of birds, landscapes and animals.
I did take a few cell phone videos on my trip, mostly of the scenery. This video was taken not too far from the location where I photographed the Vesper Sparrow in these photos.