SCIENTIFIC NAME: Spizella pusilla
STATUS: Breeder. Common to fairly common in all seasons in inland regions. In Gulf Coast region, fairly common in winter, spring, and fall, and rare in summer. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN.
HABITAT: Found in early successional growth areas, especially with dense ground cover.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: The female lays three to five whitish to pale green eggs with brown spots. Incubation, by the female, lasts 12 days. At hatching, the young are helpless and covered with only a few tufts of down. Both parents feed the nestlings that grow rapidly on a diet of insects. The young leave the nest after seven or eight days, but another week of growth is required for them to fly well. The pair may produce two broods during a breeding season. The female may begin a second nesting attempt, leaving the male to finish raising the first brood.
During fall and winter, field sparrows frequently gather in small flocks. They forage on the ground for seeds of grasses and weeds. When disturbed the flock will fly to the top of a nearby bush or low tree and perch close together to assess the threat.
Field sparrow numbers are declining throughout the species range due to losses of early succession habitats that consist of a mix of tall native grasses, broadleaf weeds, and brush.
Carey, M., D. Burhans, and D. Nelson. 1994. Field Sparrow. In The Birds of North America, A. Poole and F. Gill, eds. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.
Robbins, C., B. Bruun, and H. Zim. 1966. Birds of North America. Golden Press, New York, N. Y.