Vesper Sparrow: Medium sparrow, black-streaked gray-brown upperparts, white underparts, and streaked breast and sides. White face has brown cheek patch and white eye-ring. Wings are gray-brown with two pale bars and rufous shoulder patches. Tail is notched and dark with white edges.
Range and Habitat
Vesper Sparrow: Breeds from British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia south to central California, Texas, Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Spends winters north to central California, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Long Island. Found in cultivated fields, grasslands, and fallow fields with adjacent farmed areas.
The Vesper Sparrow responds quickly to changes in habitat; it is often the first species to occupy reclaimed mine sites and abandon old farm fields as they return to forest.
It was first described by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789. It is the only member of its genus.
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.
A group of Vesper Sparrows are collectively known as a "congregation" and a "liturgy" of sparrows.
The Vesper Sparrow has a large range, estimated globally at 7,400,000 square kilometers. Native to Canada, the United States, and Mexico, as well as Guatemala, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands, this bird prefers temperate shrubland and grassland ecosystems though it can reside on arable or pasture land. The global population of this bird is estimated at 30,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Vesper Sparrow is Least Concern.