Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii

Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii

Lincoln's is closely related to the Song Sparrow, but is more furtive than its cousin. This bird skulks through brushy undergrowth, searching for insects and seeds; like the towhees, it rakes through the leaf litter by kicking backward with both feet at once. Birders sometimes tempt Lincoln's Sparrow out of its brushy cover by loudly kissing the back of the hand—an imitation of a bird in distress.

Identification Gray with brownish streaks above; eyebrow and sides of neck gray. Buff below, with fine dark streaks. Immature resembles immature Song Sparrow, but more finely streaked below.

Voice Song a gurgled melody, rising and then falling, all a tik or Is up.

Habitat Wet meadows and bogs with brush; in migration, weedy fields, willow thickets, and gardens.

Range Breeds from N. Alaska to Newfoundland, south in mountains to S. California and N. New Mexico. Winters from central California to N. Alabama and south.

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