Monday, December 21, 2009

Henslow's Sparrow

These inconspicuous little jewels are Henslow's sparrows. They are a grassland obligate species that have been declining in recent years....largely due to the simultaneous decline of native grasslands. They winter here in the southeastern coastal plain, predominantly in open pine stands and other moist, grassy areas.

There is a long powerline opening on a WMA near Brunswick that holds a pretty good wintering population of Henslow's. The understory on the powerline (and adjacent pines) is burned every few years, which keeps out encroaching woody plants. The understory is comprised of native grasses (broom sedge, plume grass, toothache grass, panic grass, etc.) that provide ideal habitat for the Henslows.

We captured and banded 14 of the little guys last week, exceeding the six that were banded last year. They look rather plain when flushed from a distance, but in your hand, the olive near the head and the pattern on the body is really cool......

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