This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of the National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.


You’ll have to listen closely to hear this summer songster.

That persistent buzzy song is the Savannah Sparrow. Savannah Sparrows are abundant in open habitats throughout North America, including grasslands and pastures, cultivated fields, even saltmarshes. Ornithologist Alexander Wilson named this sparrow for Savannah, Georgia, where he saw one.

In spring, Savannah Sparrows migrate north from the southern U.S. and Mexico to open agricultural fields, meadows, coastal grasslands, and even tundra to breed and raise young. They nest on the ground and walk, run, or hop to catch insects and spiders.

It’s an understated bird—creamy colored with brownish streaks. But it's not just another "little brown bird.”  Look closely and you can see its yellow eyebrow stripe. If you're lucky, you may even see it raise its crown feathers. 

And be sure to listen for the Savannah Sparrow, in open, unmowed sections of city parks. You might mistake it for an insect.

For I’m Mary McCann.



Narrator: Mary McCann

Adapted from a script by Frances Wood

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie

Producer: Mark Bramhill

Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone

Call of the Savannah Sparrow provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. ML 137843 recorded by G. Vyn.

© 2007 / 2020 BirdNote   July 2020  

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