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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Baird's Sparrow -- Ammodramus bairdii

RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alberta to southern Manitoba south to central and eastern Montana, southern South Dakota, and west-central Minnesota. Winters from southeastern Arizona to north-central Texas south into Mexico.

STATUS: Uncommon. Of special concern on the Blue List as population is down on its breeding range.

HABITAT: Favors large areas of prairie grassland with tangles of old and new grasses and patches of shrubs such as snowberry, wolfberry, rose, and willow. Also inhabits ungrazed or lightly grazed mixed-grass prairies, moist meadows, tall-grass prairies associated with wetlands, drier rangelands, fallow and stubble fields, and hayfields. May abandon an area after plowing, burning, mowing, or raking.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Relatively undisturbed or reclaimed grassy prairie with scattered shrubs.

NEST: Nests on the ground, preferably in tall, dense grass or other dense herbaceous vegetation. Places nest in a hollow of a tuft of grass supported by a shrub, well concealed on the ground by overhanging vegetation, or most commonly, in a natural hollow or a shallow excavated depression, with no overhead concealment.

FOOD: Forages on the ground for a variety of seeds throughout the year, but consumes many insects in summer.

REFERENCES: Cartwright et al. 1937, Johnsgard 1979, Lane in Bent 1968b, Tate and Tate 1982.

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