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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

BirdNote®: Brewer’s Sparrow, Sageland Singer

Air Date: Week of

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A Brewer’s Sparrow sings lustily in the American West. (Photo: © Tom Munson)

One of the most musical and complex bird songs in the US is that of the Brewer's Sparrow. It's a veritable aria, ringing out from the sagebrush of Eastern Washington's Columbia Basin. BirdNote®’s Mary McCann has more about this sageland singer.

Transcript

[BIRDNOTE THEME]

CURWOOD: In the wide-open spaces of the American West, a dusky brown bird holds forth with an impressive song. BirdNote®’s Mary McCann has more about the sage land singer called the Brewer’s Sparrow.


[Long song of the Brewer’s Sparrow]



MCCANN: Every spring, one of the most musical and complex bird songs on the continent rings forth from the sagebrush of the Columbia Basin in Washington State.

The Brewer’s Sparrow, a migratory songbird that winters mostly in western Mexico, returns in April to the sage. Sagebrush habitat, often called shrub-steppe, is a common landscape of the interior West. However, each year more and more of it is being cleared for irrigated crops and development.

The diminutive Brewer’s Sparrow shares its nesting habitat with other fancy singers like the long-winded Sage Thrasher and the melodic Vesper Sparrow. All three of these birds are sandy brown in color, blending so seamlessly with their surroundings that only a sharp eye can pick them out. Yet even among this accomplished company, the Brewer’s song stands apart. While most birds offer a melody, the Brewer’s Sparrow seems to perform an entire aria.




Brewer’s Sparrows thrive in sagebrush habitats. (Photo: © Gregg Thompson)

[Song of the Brewer’s Sparrow]



###

Written by Bob Sundstrom


Song of the Brewer’s Sparrow provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler; Managing Producer: Jason Saul; Editor: Ashley Ahearn; Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone; Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill.
© 2019 Tune In to Nature.org      June 2012/2019     Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# 060705BRSP BRSP-01b
https://www.birdnote.org/show/brewers-sparrow-sageland-singer

CURWOOD: For pictures, fly on over to our website, LOE.org.

 

Links

Learn more on the BirdNote® website

More information at BirdWeb.org

 

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