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Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus_ henslowii) 5-20120529 | by Kenneth Cole Schneider
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Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus_ henslowii) 5-20120529

Henslow's Sparrows also came in this week. We heard 2 or 3 singing males within a 100 yard stretch of the path, but only saw this one. Henslow's Sparrows move their breeding grounds as the prairie recovers from fire. Since they need a certain density of dried grass from previous seasons next to the ground, and also appear to favor areas with saplings, they wait about 2-3 years before colonizing an area after a burn. Nelson Lake is managed to provide optimal habitat for this species, which also requires expansive prairie space. They seem not to breed where the grassland is fragmented. Their brief slurred "SL-IPP" song is uttered every few seconds and is quite loud but difficult to localize. Cornell Lab of Ornithology: "An uncommon and famously inconspicuous bird, the Henslow's Sparrow breeds in weedy grasslands of the east-central United States. Its population numbers have declined steadily over the past few decades, largely because of habitat loss." Morning walk in the north prairie at Nelson Lake/Dick Young Forest Preserve. Visit

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Taken on May 29, 2012