Cassin's Sparrow Photograph and Sound Recording

Photo Credit , Jim Burns, 1998

In south-central Arizona there are flood plains and grasslands areas that have suitable habitat for Cassin's Sparrow if the desert receives enough rain at the right time. Timing their arrival for the summer monsoon beginning in July, this sparrow will enjoy the bountiful harvest of insects typically available and begin a new nesting opportunity. In 1996 and 1997 Arizona experienced a historic drought period eliminating most of the grasslands in the central part of the state near the US-Mexico border. In 1998 the rains returned creating good ground cover and a huge food reservoir for late-breeding birds. The presence of these birds so soon after a devastating drought demonstrates that if the grasslands returned to their historic size the birds would likely recover their historic numbers and success. The Cassin's Sparrow has a beautiful song that it often sings during a short display flight between tree tops. The recording available for download has captured recordings both while the bird is stationary and while it is flying. The courtship flight is spectacular with the male stretching out his neck and thrusting his chest forward while flying and singing.

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update 8/2012

Copyright Greg Clark 1999