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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin

FAMILY FRINGILLIDAE

Grosbeaks, Finches, Sparrows, and Buntings


Cardinal -- Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- Black-headed Grosbeak -- Indigo Bunting -- Dickcissel -- Evening Grosbeak -- Purple Finch -- Pine Grosbeak -- Gray-crowned Rosy Finch -- Hoary Redpoll -- Common Redpoll -- Pine Siskin -- American Goldfinch -- Red Crossbill -- White-winged Crossbill -- Green-tailed Towhee -- Rufous-sided Towhee -- Savannah Sparrow -- Grasshopper Sparrow -- Baird's Sparrow -- Le Conte's Sparrow -- Henslow's Sparrow -- Sharp-tailed Sparrow -- Vesper Sparrow -- Lark Sparrow -- Dark-eyed Junco -- Tree Sparrow -- Chipping Sparrow -- Clay-colored Sparrow -- Field Sparrow -- Harris' Sparrow -- White-crowned Sparrow -- White-throated Sparrow -- Fox Sparrow -- Lincoln's Sparrow -- Swamp Sparrow -- Song Sparrow -- Lapland Longspur -- Chesnut-collared Longspur -- Snow Bunting

Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Status: Regular permanent resident.

Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) resident of the Western Upland. Uncommon to rare in the Central Plain, and rare and local in the Northern Highland. Movement of the cardinal into this region has been very recent. In 1919 Jackson (1943) failed to report this bird in northwestern Wisconsin. Young et al. (1941) reported that the first records for Burnett and Pierce counties were in 1920. Roberts (1932) reported several mid-1920 records for the Washington County region. By the 1960's Bernard (1967) considered this bird a rare visitor in Douglas County and mentioned records from Solon Springs. M. Link (personal communication) reported that cardinals were regular at Pine City, Pine County, in 1974.

Breeding season records of the cardinal provide excellent documentation of their decreasing population, which is moving northward through the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest an abrupt decrease in breeding density from a mean of 1.5 per route in the Western Upland to <0.1 per route in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) found the mean density of breeding cardinals in the Kinnickinnic River Valley was 16 pairs per 40 ha.

Winter: Common winter resident in the Western Upland. As shown for the breeding season, the abundance of this bird decreases rapidly as it moves northward. On five CBC's in the Valley, the mean number of cardinals recorded per party hour ranged from 3.1 on the Afton CBC to 0 at Solon Springs (Table 4).

Habitat: Primarily a species of deciduous forest edge during the breeding season. Use of Lowland Deciduous Forest and Southern Deciduous Forest is usually restricted to openings and brushy edges. Highway rights-of-way and windbreaks planted around farmsteads are important, as are shrubbery and ornamental plantings in residential areas.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 1-5 May (earliest-30 April 1978, St. Croix County), reaching peak abundance 10-20 May. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland 15-25 August. Peak fall migration through the Valley occurs 5-20 September. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 20-25 September and elsewhere by 5 October (latest-26 October 1965, Washington County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) nesting species in the Western Upland. Population densities apparently increase northward through the Valley. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 31.2 pairs per 40 ha along the Kinnickinnic River Valley in Pierce County; the rose-breasted grosbeak was the fifth most abundant breeding bird in that valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that rose-breasted grosbeaks occur in greatest abundance in the Northern Highland.

Table 8. Mean number of grosbeaks, finches, towhees, and sparrows recorded on western Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survet transects, 1966-78.

 
Western Upland
Central Plain
Northern Highland
Species
Hudson
Dresser
Loraine
Union
Minong
Cardinal
1.5
0.6
0.0
<0.1
<0.1
Rose-breasted grosbeak
6.0
12.2
18.1
15.0
19.6
Indigo bunting
7.4
8.7
23.3
18.5
18.6
Dickcissel
12.1
6.4
5.4
0.0
0.0
American goldfinch
4.7
9.1
20.6
6.0
5.9
Purple finch
0.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
3.3
Pine siskin
0.0
0.0
<0.1
<0.1
0.2
Rufous-sided towhee
0.2
0.2
0.6
21.7
15.8
Savannah sparrow
17.3
14.1
26.3
0.0
0.3
Grasshopper sparrow
9.6
5.7
6.7
0.7
0.0
Henslow's sparrow
1.2
1.1
0.5
0.0
0.0
Vesper sparrow
18.9
15.3
13.7
6.5
8.6
Dark-eyed junco
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.6
Chipping sparrow
1.6
6.3
10.9
21.2
24.2
Clay-colored sparrow
4.4
3.0
2.7
7.2
14.9
Field sparrow
7.0
3.2
2.2
10.2
1.9
White-throated sparrow
0.0
0.0
<0.1
0.0
3.5
Lincoln's sparrow
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
<0.1
Swamp sparrow
0.0
0.2
0.9
0.2
1.1
Song sparrow
12.9
24.4
32.6
3.5
24.0

Habitat: The rose-breasted grosbeak is a characteristic breeding species of mature deciduous forest and forest edge. In the Western Upland, this grosbeak uses Southern Deciduous Forest dominated by mixed stands of white, red, black, and bur oaks. Also important is mature Lowland Deciduous Forest characterized by cottonwood, green ash, and American elm along the major river systems. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, primary use is made of mature Northern Hardwood Forest dominated by sugar maple, basswood, trembling aspen, and white birch. Residential Habitats, primarily ornamental shade trees, are also used for nesting.


Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

Status: Casual spring migrant.

Records: This western grosbeak has been recorded in the Valley on four occasions. The first record was a male on 27 May 1970 in Washington County (Huber 1974a). A female was observed in Washington County 11 May to 1 June 1974, and a male was noted in the same location on 13 May 1974 (Savaloja 1974). I observed a singing male in Glen Park at River Falls, Pierce County, on 25 May 1979 (Eckert 1979).


Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon (locally common) in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May (earliest-26 April 1976, Pierce County) and reach the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 15-30 May. Fall migration begins about 10-15 August. Peak fall migration occurs 1-15 September and departure 20 September to 5 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Common and well-distributed nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Fairly common in the Northern Highland, except in regions of extensive coniferous forest. Jackson (1943) considered the indigo bunting an uncommon nesting bird in the Northern Highland in 1919. In the Western Upland, Goddard (1972) found the indigo bunting was the 12th most numerous breeding bird (GIF -- Picture of a Mean Sign. = 21.8 pairs per 40 ha) along the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that lowest populations occur in the heavily farmed regions of the Central Plain but increase northward into the Northern Highland.

Habitat: The indigo bunting is a characteristic breeding bird of shrubby "edge" habitat types. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland, Deciduous Clear Cuts under 10 years old receive heavy use by nesting indigo buntings. Important vegetation associated with their breeding habitat includes trembling aspen, box elder, basswood, choke cherry, hazelnut, and prickly ash.


Dickcissel (Spiza americana)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Populations of this bird experience tremendous variations between years and they appear to be cyclic. In adjacent years, dickcissels can vary from among the most numerous migrants in grassland habitats to virtually absent. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland and Central Plain 20-30 May and are widespread 1-10 June. During most years, this bird is most numerous during the first 10 days of June. Singing ceases about 1 August and birds become difficult to find after that date. There is no discernible peak in fall migration, and most have departed by 25 August (latest-16 September 1974, Polk County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common although highly irregular nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. There are no known nest records for Douglas or Pine counties, although Green and Janssen (1975) stated that the breeding range in Minnesota "usually extended only to southern Pine County." Jackson (1943) did not record this species in northwestern Wisconsin during 1919.

During 1975, the dickcissel was virtually absent from St. Croix and Washington counties during the nesting season. In 1976, I recorded a density of 20.4 pairs per 40 ha on Managed Grassland tracts in St. Croix and Polk counties. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) provide another indication of the rapid decrease in abundance moving northward from the Western Upland to Northern Highland.

Habitat: Characteristic breeding bird of retired agricultural fields that have become overgrown with a rank growth of vegetation. Also an important breeding bird of alfalfa fields and of Managed Grasslands that are maintained by various State and Federal wildlife agencies for duck nesting cover.


Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, casual summer visitor, and possible nesting species.

Migration: Common yet erratic fall and spring migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Usually a common to abundant migrant in the Northern Highland. Migration periods appear to depend upon the abundance of a food source in the northern breeding areas. The first fall migrants usually arrive in the Northern Highland 1-15 October and reach the Western Upland about 15 November, except during invasion years, when they have been recorded in mid-October (15 October 1959, Polk County). Peak fall migration varies with the year, however, usually occurring 15 November to 15 December. Peak spring migration usually occurs during March. During non-invasion years, peak spring migration occurs 25 March to 5 May. The largest late flock on record (600) was observed at Webster (Burnett County) on 25 April 1950. Departure also apparently varies with the year. There are several Polk County departure records that range from 4 May (1954) to 17 May (1952). Latest dates from nonsummering areas include 28 May 1962, Polk County and 30 May 1972, Burnett County.

Nesting Season Distribution: Casual summer resident in the Northern Highland. There are no confirmed nest records for the Valley, although a few pairs may remain to nest after invasion years. Evening grosbeaks were recorded during the 1972 summer in Pine County (Green and Baumhoffer 1972). S. D. Robbins recorded evening grosbeaks along the route of the Minong BBS during mid-June from 1965 to 1977. During June 1974, I observed three male evening grosbeaks in Sec. 14, T. 43 N., R. 15 W., Douglas County, but no evidence of nesting.

Winter: Usually a common to locally abundant winter resident in the Northern Highland. Uncommon to rare (except during invasion years) winter resident in the Central Plain and Western Upland. The highest mean numbers of evening grosbeaks per party hour on CBC are 8.3 at Grantsburg and 3.3 at Solon Springs (Table 4), both in the Northern Highland. The highest count of individuals on CBC's was 739 recorded on the 1974 Grantsburg Count. Considerable variation also exists in yearly totals, which is indicative of the cyclic influxes of this species.

Habitat: Migrant evening grosbeaks use both deciduous and coniferous habitats. Box elder and maple trees that retain their fruits are preferred during migration. Most winter records are obtained from the vicinity of feeding stations, both in rural and urban areas. My records of this bird during the breeding season were obtained from an extensive stand of black spruce adjacent to a stream. This vegetation type appears to be preferred in the northern breeding areas.


Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, occasionally abundant in the Northern Highland. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland about 25 August and the first birds arrive in the Western Upland 15-25 September. Peak fall migration occurs 1 October to 15 November and departure from nonwintering areas by 1 December (latest-18 December 1979, Douglas County). Spring migrants arrive in the Northern Highland about 15 March. Peak spring migration occurs 25 March to 15 April and departure by 1 May (latest-10 May 1970 and 17 May 1966, Washington County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Northern Highland. Confirmed nest records exist for Burnett, Polk, and Douglas counties. Green and Janssen (1975) cited an inferred breeding record for Pine County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that nesting is restricted to the Northern Highland. The most southerly nest record that I have obtained was a female incubating four eggs on 26 May 1974 near Clam Falls, Polk County (Sec. 11, T. 35 N., R. 15 W.). Jackson (1943) observed a mated pair at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, on 25 May 1919.

Winter: Common (locally abundant) winter resident in the Western Upland. Becomes progressively more scarce in the Central Plain and is virtually absent from the Northern Highland. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) demonstrate sharp declines in winter abundance moving northward from the lower St. Croix River. On 1 January 1978, 294 were recorded on the Afton CBC. On 16 February 1979, I banded 105 at a feeding station in Hudson, St. Croix County.

Habitat: During the nesting season, the purple finch is a characteristic species of cool, moist, Lowland Coniferous Forest. Principal vegetation associated with breeding habitat includes black spruce, tamarack, yellow birch, and black ash. All purple finch nests that I have observed were associated with this vegetation type. During migration, purple finches were also found in deciduous habitats, primarily those having heavily seeded box elder. Wintering birds are usually found in black spruce habitat or near feeding stations in residential areas.


Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: Uncommon fall migrant (occasionally common) in the Northern Highland, rare and irregular fall migrant (occasionally fairly common) in the Central Plain and Western Upland. Less common in all regions during spring migration, except after invasions. On 23 November 1946 pine grosbeaks were already considered "numerous" at Grantsburg, Burnett County. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 25 October to 15 November. Peak fall migration occurs 15 November to 15 December. Spring migration begins with a gradual northward exodus in late February. Peak spring migration occurs 1-15 March and departure by 1 April (latest-8 May 1974, Polk County).

Winter: Irregular winter resident except for the Northern Highland where wintering pine grosbeaks are observed each year. Winter populations of this bird are considered cyclic. The largest number recorded in the Valley was 436 on the Solon Springs CBC 17 December 1970. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) provide supportive evidence of their relative abundance in the various regions of the Valley.

Habitat: Generally restricted to extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous Forest and Jack Pine Barrens. During invasion years, pine grosbeaks use Upland Deciduous Forest, especially if box elder and maple or sumac trees are heavily laden with seeds.


Gray-crowned Rosy Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis)

Status: Accidental, one record.

Record: Ludwig (1974) described the observation of a single gray-crowned rosy finch in Pine County 27 March to 6 April 1974. This was the third record of that species in Minnesota.


Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni)

Status: Irregular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: During invasion years, a rare migrant in the Northern Highland and Central Plain, casual in the Western Upland. There are too few spring records to establish patterns. Fall migrants usually arrive with the first large flocks of common redpolls in late November (earliest-3 November 1968, Burnett County; 21 November 1950, Polk County). During spring migration, hoary redpolls are observed with common flocks. Most observations occur in February. Late dates include 4 April 1966, St. Croix County; 6 April 1969, Chisago County; and 12 April 1974, Washington County.

Winter: Rare and irregular winter resident throughout the Valley. Most winter records consist of observations during the CBC periods, usually 15 December to 2 January. The largest number observed (six) was recorded on the Suburban St. Paul CBC 29 December 1973. Considerable debate has been generated concerning the taxonomic status of this bird and the ability of observers to make accurate identification. The most reliable and undoubtedly correct observations are of banded birds. One individual was banded in Chisago County on 1 March 1970. During the winter finch invasion of 1977-78, I banded two hoary redpolls at a feeding station in Hudson, St. Croix County, on 15 February 1978 and 8 March 1978. The latter bird was photographed extensively and copies were deposited with the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

Habitat: Regularly observed with flocks of common redpoll in weedy fields and highway rights-of-way.


Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley during periodic invasion years, uncommon to rare migrant during other years. Fall migrants arrive 25 October to 10 November (earliest-12 October 1974, Burnett County). Peak fall migration occurs 15 November to 15 December. Peak spring migration occurs 1-25 March; birds depart from the Central Plain 1-10 April and the Northern Highland by 30 April (latest-30 May 1972, Burnett County).

Winter: Usually an uncommon winter resident except during invasion years when this species becomes one of the most abundant wintering birds. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest that the wintering population is fairly well distributed throughout the Valley. The extremely high mean number of common redpolls per party hour on the Solon Springs CBC is skewed upward by a large count during 1977.

The normal 2-year invasion cycle of this bird is shown by comparing the mean number of redpolls per party hour on CBC's throughout the Valley (Fig. 6). Beginning with the 1970 count year, the winter common redpoll population fits a perfect alternate year invasion schedule. Results from the 1977-78 CBC season are considerably higher than other years because the movement of birds that year was one of the largest recorded. The two largest counts on record in the Valley are from the Solon Springs CBC (2,222) and Suburban St. Paul CBC (4,615). The 4,615 is the largest number ever recorded in North America (Monroe 1978).

Habitat: Agricultural fields, retired cropland that has become heavily overgrown with various weeds, highway rights-of-way, and mixed deciduous-coniferous forest in northern regions.

GIF-Patterns of winter abundance in common redpolls and pine siskins in the St. Croix River valley
Fig. 6. Patterns of winter abundance of common redpolls and pine siskins in the St. Croix River Valley (data from Christmas Bird Counts).

Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Fairly common (occasionally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. Fall migrants arrive in the Central Plain and Western Upland 15- 25 September. Peak fall migration occurs 10-30 October and departure by 15 November. The number of fall migrants is highly dependent on the intensity of the migration during a given year. Typical of other winter finches, peak movements usually occur during invasion years. Migrants have usually departed the Northern Highland by 1 January, except during years of very high populations when large numbers winter throughout the Valley. Spring migration begins in late March with a gradual exodus from the southern wintering areas. Spring migration is usually more diffuse than fall and the period of peak movement occurs 10 April to 15 May. Departure from the southern areas occurs 20-30 May.

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) reported that pine siskins were "not uncommon" at Solon Springs (Douglas County) from 26 July to 6 August 1919. He does not provide any evidence of nests or young. Larson (1970) reported pine siskins at Taylor's Falls, Chisago County, through the summer of 1969 and until 10 August 1970. No nests or young were reported. On 11 May 1978, I banded a female pine siskin at Hudson, St. Croix County, that possessed a well-defined brood patch. Although no nests or young were observed, pine siskins remained in the area throughout the summer of 1978 and probably nested.

Winter: Fairly common resident in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Uncommon to rare during midwinter in the Northern Highland except during invasion years. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest a rapid decline in relative abundance of this species moving northward from the lower St. Croix River Valley. Although not as predictably cyclic as the common redpoll, the pine siskin follows a pattern of abundance 1 year, followed by low numbers for 2-3 years afterward (Fig. 6). Highest daily counts of individuals include 856 on 1 January 1974 (Afton CBC) and 793 on 2 January 1978 (Suburban St. Paul CBC). On 10 February 1961 S. D. Robbins observed over 3,000 pine siskins at Clam Lake, Burnett County.

Habitat: Restricted primarily to coniferous forest during the nesting season. Wintering birds use a variety of coniferous and deciduous habitats. This species makes extensive use of feeding stations in residential areas.


American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-30 March, reaching peak abundance 15-30 April. Migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 10-15 April, reaching peak numbers about 1 May. Fall migration begins in mid-August and peak populations occur 15 September to 15 October. Departure from the northern areas occurs by 15 November.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well-distributed nesting species throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) considered the American goldfinch one of the most generally distributed nesting species in northwestern Wisconsin. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) support Jackson's statement. This bird was the fourth most abundant breeding species (33.2 pairs per 40 ha) in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County (Goddard 1972).

Winter: Fairly common to locally common winter resident in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Rare and irregular winter resident of the Northern Highland, particularly after mid-January. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest a gradual decrease in relative abundance progressing northward. Highest daily counts include 559 on 30 December 1978 (Suburban St. Paul CBC) and 545 on 1 January 1975 (Afton CBC).

Habitat: Typically a nesting species of edge situations including stream banks, brushy edges of woods, highway rights-of-way, and ornamental shrubbery in urban areas.


Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, irregular summer resident, and nesting species.

Migration: Irregular migrant throughout the Valley. During periods of peak occurrence, red crossbills are uncommon except in the Northern Highland where they become locally common. Because of their erratic movements, it is difficult to determine their migration periods, particularly in the Northern Highland. The normal period of occurrence in the Western Upland and Central Plain is 1 October to 1 April; stragglers remain until mid-May.

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and irregular during the nesting season, primarily in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) mentioned the observation of a "flock" at Solon Springs, Douglas County, on 8 August 1919. Jackson (1970) provided the only confirmed nesting record for the Valley when he observed several adults feeding young at Stillwater, Washington County, during May 1970. Larson (1970) found red crossbills near Taylor's Falls, Chisago County, until 5 June 1970 but no evidence of nesting.

Winter: Uncommon and irregular winter resident, usually observed in the Northern Highland. Although this species is dependent on the pinecone crop, population irruptions of red crossbill are not predictable.

Habitat: Breeding season records are typically associated with Lowland Coniferous Forest or Northern Hardwood Forest intermixed with coniferous trees.


White-winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident, erratic summer resident.

Migration: Uncommon to rare migrant; most observations are confined to the Northern Highland. Similar in distribution to the red crossbill in occurrence and distribution. During years of peak influxes, white-winged crossbills are locally common to abundant, primarily in the Northern Highland and Central Plain. The normal period of occurrence ranges from 15 October to 15 March.

Nesting Season Distribution: There are no confirmed nest records of this crossbill in the Valley. S. D. Robbins recorded single birds along the route of the Minong BBS, Douglas County, on 11 June 1969 and 21 June 1977. Robbins observed two white-winged crossbills along the route of the Union BBS, Burnett County, on 22 June 1977.

Winter: Uncommon to locally common winter resident in the Northern Highland. Rare to uncommon winter resident elsewhere. During the winter of 1977-78, the movement of this bird into the Valley was among the largest on record. Exceptionally large flocks (200 individuals) were noted, primarily north of St. Croix Falls. These large numbers remained through mid-December. After that time, the number of individuals decreased considerably.

Habitat: This species primarily uses extensive stands of Lowland Coniferous Forest where white spruce is the predominant tree species. Also occasionally observed in mixed coniferous-deciduous forest and Jack Pine Barren.


Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorura)

Status: Accidental, one record.

Record: Garber (1965) reported the observation of one bird at Prescott, Pierce County, on 10 May 1964.


Rufous-sided Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley, common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25-30 April and the Northern Highland 1-5 May. Peak migration occurs 5-15 May. Peak fall migration occurs 10-25 September and departure by 15 October (latest-8 December 1971, Washington County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon nesting species throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that rufous-sided towhees were common at Solon Springs, Douglas County, 28 July to 6 August 1919. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 19.3 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the rufous-sided towhee occurs in relatively low numbers in the Western Upland and Central Plain and is common in the Northern Highland.

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge situations. Typical breeding habitat includes semi-open stands of Northern Hardwood Forest (Western Upland). Typical vegetation of these habitats includes second-growth bur oak, trembling aspen, sugar maple, green ash, and basswood. In the Northern Highland, this species becomes particularly numerous in mixed stands of jack pine and oak.


Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 April and the Northern Highland about 20 April (earliest-30 March 1967, Burnett County). Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 20 April to 10 May. Peak fall migration occurs 15-30 September and departure by 15 October (latest-25 October 1967, St. Croix County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and more localized in the Northern Highland. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that in the Western Upland and Central Plain the savannah sparrow is among the three most common nesting sparrows. However, this abundance decreases rapidly moving northward into the heavily forested Northern Highland.

Habitat: Characteristic breeding species of various grassland communities. Important among these are retired cropland, Old Field Community, highway rights-of-way, Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production, and lightly to moderately grazed tame pasture that is predominantly timothy or Kentucky bluegrass. Also important, although to a lesser degree, are alfalfa and oat fields. In Northern regions, savannah sparrows make extensive use of wet meadow habitats, primarily Northern Sedge Meadow.


Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon to rare and localized in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May and the Northern Highland about 5 May. Peak spring migration is difficult to determine, although it is widely distributed 5-15 May. During the fall, grasshopper sparrows are rarely encountered after the song period ceases about 1 August, but they are probably present until mid-September.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare and local in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) did not record this sparrow during the 1919 nesting season in northwestern Wisconsin. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the breeding populations in the Western Upland and Central Plain occur in nearly equal abundance, becoming much smaller in the Northern Highland.

Habitat: Primarily a nesting species of various grassland communities. Important among these are retired croplands, unmowed highway rights-of-way, Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production, and lightly grazed tame pasture that is predominantly Kentucky bluegrass or timothy. Also important, although to lesser degrees, are alfalfa and oat fields. Occasional use is made of the drier portions of Shrub Carr wetlands and Northern Sedge Meadow.


Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)

Status: Hypothetical, two records.

Records: One bird was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 12 May 1957 (Stone 1957). Goddard (1976) reported a single bird, also at Crex Meadows, on 2 May 1975.


Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammospiza leconteii)

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident.

Migration: Rare migrant throughout the Valley, fairly common at Crex Meadows, Burnett County. Migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 5 May (earliest-24 April 1976, St. Croix County). LeConte's sparrow is most regularly observed 10-25 May. Fall migration records range from 3 September to 4 October (latest-11 October 1963, Burnett County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Green and Janssen (1975) show the breeding range of LeConte's sparrow extending throughout the three Minnesota counties. Although summer records exist for Burnett, Polk, and St. Croix counties, young have been observed only at Crex Meadows. The most southerly breeding season records include single birds near New Richmond, St. Croix County, on 15 June to 2 July 1964, and 16 June 1966 (Robbins 1969b), and a singing male near Roberts, St. Croix County, on 27 June 1977 (Sec. 32, T. 30 N., R. 18 W.). Robbins (1969b) also recorded LeConte's sparrow in two Polk County locations (T. 35 N., R. 16 W.) on 15 June 1968. Two late May records from Pine County (23 May 1970 and 29 May 1971) were probably of birds on breeding territory.

The best known and probably most extensively explored summer area for LeConte's sparrow is the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County. Southern (1962) found several LeConte's sparrows in the marshes at Crex Meadows between 23 June and 2 July 1959. Subsequent to his original observations, other birders have investigated this area extensively and have found that this species occurs commonly in proper habitat. On 10 June 1977, I recorded 11 singing males in one marsh at Crex Meadows (Sec. 15, T. 39 N., R. 18 W.). Frequency of occurrence and observations of apparent territorial behavior indicate that LeConte's sparrow still nests at Crex Meadows, although no nests have been observed recently. Intensive investigation of similar areas in Pine and southern Douglas counties should reveal additional breeding areas.

Habitat: Typical breeding habitat at Crex Meadows includes extensive stands of Northern Sedge Meadow characterized by manna grass, water sedge, bluejoint grass, rattlesnake grass, and dark-green bulrush. Breeding season records of this sparrow away from Crex Meadows have consisted of birds in drier upland grasses, primarily timothy, bromegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass.


Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Rare migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May. There is very little movement that could be considered peak spring migration. Most of the birds observed in the Valley appear to be on or near a nesting territory. A Henslow's sparrow was observed at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 15 May 1954. This is the only record for the Northern Highland. Fall migration is similar to spring in that no well-defined movements have been observed. Most fall observations have been made during August (latest-12 September 1977, St. Croix County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare and local nesting species, restricted primarily to the Western Upland and Central Plain (Table 8). The secretive behavior of Henslow's sparrow and its short and nondescript song make this bird one of the most difficult breeding birds in the Valley to observe.

Habitat: Restricted during the breeding season to several grassland communities. Primary use is made of retired agricultural fields that have developed a rank growth of vegetation, primarily timothy and various forbs. Managed Grasslands maintained for duck production provide important nesting habitat, especially when vegetation height exceeds 0.5 m. Occasional use is made of alfalfa fields and tame pastures or thick grassland vegetation associated with the periphery of seasonally and semipermanently flooded wetlands.


Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta)

Status: Casual migrant and summer resident.

Migration: Three spring and one fall migration records exist for the Valley including 19 May 1964, St. Croix County; 8 May 1974, Pierce County (Faanes and Goddard 1976); and 23 May 1976, Burnett County (Crex Meadows). One bird was observed in St. Croix County on 18 August 1977. Because of the secretive habits of this species, and its extremely high-pitched song, the sharp-tailed sparrow is probably more common than records indicate.

Nesting Season Distribution: The sharp-tailed sparrow has been recorded at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on at least five occasions during the nesting season. The first record was of one singing male on 21-22 July 1969. On 31 July and 1 August 1970, one singing male was recorded in the same area. It was not until 13 August 1975 that T. C. Baptist again recorded this sparrow in the same marsh. Tessen (1978) reported observing at least three singing males on 28 and 29 May 1977. Later, on 10 June 1977, I recorded one singing male at the same location. All Crex Meadows observations during the breeding season were made in a large sedge meadow in Sec. 15, T. 39 N., R. 18 W. Because of the territorial behavior exhibited by these birds, sharp-tailed sparrows can be considered a probable breeding species at Crex Meadows.

Habitat: The area that sharp-tailed sparrows occupy at Crex Meadows is an extensive Northern Sedge Meadow that is characterized by manna grass, bluejoint grass, and water sedge. Although habitat similarities exist between sharp-tailed and LeConte's sparrow at Crex Meadows, apparently sharp-tailed sparrows choose moister areas in the meadow.


Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon and more local in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 5-10 April (earliest-25 March 1963, St. Croix County) and the Northern Highland 10-15 April. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 15 April to 1 May. Peak fall migration occurs 1-20 September and departure by 15 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Erickson (1937), however, considered it abundant in Pine County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the vesper sparrow is the second most abundant nesting sparrow in the Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that the vesper sparrow was a common breeding bird throughout most of northwestern Wisconsin in 1919.

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of edge situations including fencerows adjoining agricultural fields and the border of retired cropland with deciduous forest. Brushy highway rights-of-way and Old Field Communities are regularly used in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Breeding vesper sparrows in northern regions occur in open areas, brushy fields, or occasionally in openings in Jack Pine Barrens.


Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Status: Regular migrant and summer resident.

Migration: Rare spring and fall migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, absent from the Northern Highland except in the region near Grantsburg, Burnett County. Spring migration dates occur during a narrow range from 10-25 May. Fall migration dates range from 1-15 September.

Nesting Season Distribution: The only evidence of possible breeding in the Valley is available from the Union BBS transect in Burnett County. S. D. Robbins found a small breeding "colony" of lark sparrows near Grantsburg on 26 June 1975. Since then, up to five singing males have been recorded in that location each year, but no nests of young have yet been found. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding range of this sparrow in Minnesota includes Chisago, Washington, and Southern Pine counties. S. D. Robbins (personal communication) observed lark sparrows near Cushing, Polk County, on 22 June 1977 and near North Hudson, St. Croix County, on 8 July 1965. During June 1977, I observed a group of five lark sparrows in St. Croix County (Sec. 22, T. 30 N., R. 18 W.). The appearance of two of these birds suggested that they were young of the year. Kemper (1973) considered this species rare in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, 120 km east of the St. Croix County location.

Habitat: Lark sparrows at the Burnett County location use an open area in mixed bur oak-jack pine. The St. Croix County location was characterized by the brushy edge of a Managed Grassland.


Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Determination of arrival of spring migrants in the Western Upland and Central Plain is confounded by wintering birds. The first noticeable influxes occur 1-15 March. First spring migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 15-30 March. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 30 March to 15 April and departure from nonbreeding areas by 15 May. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland during early September. First migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-25 September. Peak fall migration occurs during October and most nonwintering birds have departed by 1 December.

Nesting Season Distribution: Rare nesting species, restricted to the Northern Highland. Roberts (1932) reported young being fed in Pine County during late June 1918, the first breeding record for the Valley. Two young dark-eyed juncos were observed in Chisago County on 16 June 1950 (Warner 1951). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) also suggest that the breeding population of this species is rather limited in the Valley. An adult that I observed near Deer Park, St. Croix County, on 23 June 1976 was extralimital and probably an extremely late migrant.

Winter: Common (locally abundant) winter resident along the lower St. Croix River in Pierce, St. Croix, and southern Washington counties. Rare and local in the Central Plain, occasional in the Northern Highland. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) show the rapid decrease in relative abundance of this species moving north through the Valley during the winter. Dark-eyed juncos are well known for their attachment to the numerous winter feeding stations in residential areas.

Habitat: Primarily a species of drier upland habitats including Jack Pine Barrens and mixed Northern Hardwood Forest. Roberts (1932) mentioned that nesting dark-eyed juncos are also associated with "spruce and cedar swamps of the lowlands" in Pine County. Wintering dark-eyed juncos make extensive use of edge habitats, particularly hedgerows, and to a lesser extent several deciduous forest types, primarily Southern Deciduous Forest and Lowland Deciduous Forest.


Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 5-10 October and in the Western Upland 10-15 October. Peak fall migration occurs 25 October to 25 November and departure of most nonwintering birds occurs by 30 November. Spring migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 1-10 April. Peak spring migration throughout the Valley occurs 10-20 April and departure by 30 April; occasional stragglers linger through 15 May.

Winter: Fairly common (locally common) winter resident in the Western Upland, rare and local in the Central Plain. Christmas Bird Count data (Table 4) suggest that highest winter populations occur in areas directly adjacent to the lower St. Croix River. Populations decrease rapidly in areas northward from the Central Plain. The tree sparrow has not been recorded on the Solon Springs CBC, Douglas County.

Habitat: During migration, the tree sparrow uses a variety of open habitats including agricultural fields, retired cropland, and wetland edges. During midwinter, extensive use is made of retired croplands that support dense weedy patches. Grassy openings in Southern Deciduous Forest and occasional remnant prairie patches occurring along the river bluffs are also important.


Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 10-15 April (earliest-3 April 1971, Washington County) and reach the Northern Highland about 15-20 April. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 1-15 May. Peak fall migration occurs 10 September to 1 October and departure by 15 October (latest-3 November 1963, St. Croix County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the largest breeding population occurs in the northern regions of the Central Plain and throughout the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) reported that chipping sparrows were common nesting birds throughout northwestern Wisconsin. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 11.1 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County.

Habitat: Primarily a nesting species of various coniferous habitats including Lowland Coniferous Forest, Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs, and Jack Pine Barrens. In residential areas, this sparrow is common in ornamental shrubs. Breeding pairs are occasionally encountered in brushy margins between Lowland Deciduous Forest and open fields. Jackson (1943) described a chipping sparrow nest at St. Croix Falls that was 6.4 m above ground in a large white pine.


Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May and the Northern Highland 5-10 May (earliest-29 April 1961, Burnett County). Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-20 May. Peak fall migration occurs 20 August to 5 September in the Northern Highland and 10-25 September elsewhere. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs about 20 September (latest-16 October 1963, Burnett County) and the Western Upland 1-15 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and local nesting species in all regions, probably most abundant in the Northern Highland (Table 8). Jackson (1943) reported that the clay-colored sparrow was a common nesting species at Danbury (Burnett County) and Solon Springs (Douglas County) in 1919. Clay-colored sparrows apparently become semicolonial where habitat is favorable.

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge situations including brushy fields. This species becomes numerous in recently burned areas or where there are relatively young conifer plantings. Commonly found associated with retired agricultural fields and Old Field Community where coarse perennial weeds have become established. In the Northern Highland, this species has responded favorably to intensive management for sharp-tailed grouse on sandy soils. Nests are usually found in association with sweet fern vegetation in areas of restored native prairie. Nesting clay-colored sparrows near the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River in Pierce and Washington counties are associated with brushy open areas in Southern Deciduous Forest.


Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual early winter resident.

Migration: Fairly common to common migrant throughout the Valley. Locally distributed in heavily forested regions of the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland about 10-20 April and the Northern Highland by 1 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs late April to 15 May. Fall migration begins in the northern regions in late August and departure is by 15 September. Peak fall migration through the lower Valley occurs during 15-25 September and departure by 15 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and well-distributed nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain. Rare (locally common) nesting species in the Northern Highland. Bernard (1967) considered this sparrow a rare summer visitor and possible resident in Douglas County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the field sparrow occurs fairly regularly during the nesting season in southern Douglas County. Roberts (1932) credited the removal of coniferous forest and replacement with a deciduous forest type with the expansion of this sparrow northward along the St. Croix River to southern Pine County.

Winter: Three winter records for St. Croix County from the Afton CBC, including single birds on 1 January 1971 and 1973, and three birds in one group on 1 January 1978. It is not known if any of these birds survived the winter. When the location of the 1978 birds was rechecked on 12 January 1978, the birds were not found.

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of the Old Field Community where it is associated with early successional species including box elder, trembling aspen, staghorn sumac, and chokecherry. Use is also made of well-established growths of various coarse weeds in retired agricultural fields. During early stages of development, field sparrows are regularly encountered in Pine Plantations. Deciduous Clear Cuts and brushy openings in Jack Pine Barrens are used in the Northern Highland.


Harris' Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula)

Status: Regular migrant, one winter record.

Migration: Rare spring and uncommon fall migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, casual in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and are most frequently observed 10-20 May, departing by 25 May. Fall migrants arrive 20 September to 1 October. Peak fall migration occurs 10-20 October and departure by 30 October (latest-2 November 1968, St. Croix County).

Winter: One bird was recorded on the Afton CBC (Washington County) on 1 January 1974 (Eckert 1974). On 4, 8, and 11 April 1967 S. D. Robbins observed one at Roberts, St. Croix County, that he suspected of overwintering somewhere in the area.

Habitat: Primarily a species of brushy edges of fields and hedgerows. Observations of Harris' sparrows indicate that they migrate in close association with white-crowned sparrows.


White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Status: Regular migrant, one winter record.

Migration: Uncommon migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 April to 1 May (earliest-2 April 1961, St Croix County), reaching the Northern Highland 1-5 May (earliest-20 April 1954, Burnett County). Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 May and departure by 30 May (latest-11 June 1953, Burnett County; Besadny 1953). Fall migrants arrive 5-10 September. Peak fall migration occurs 15-20 September and departure 25 September to 10 October.

Winter: One white-crowned sparrow was observed at a feeder in Luck, Polk County, on 23 December 1957 (Lound and Lound 1958b).

Habitat: Edges of deciduous woods that support a brushy understory, brushy edges of retired agricultural fields, hedgerows, and ornamental plantings in residential areas.


White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. The white-throated sparrow is second only to the song sparrow in abundance during migration. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-10 April and the Northern Highland by 15 April. Peak spring migration occurs 20 April to 10 May and departure from nonbreeding areas occurs by 25 May. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland in late August and the first birds reach the Western Upland 5-10 September (earliest-25 August 1977, Pierce County). Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 10-20 October and elsewhere by 15 November.

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Northern Highland (Table 8), uncommon and local in the Central Plain. Green and Janssen (1975) showed that the breeding range of this sparrow extended south to the Chisago-Washington County line. My most southerly nest record was obtained on 9 June 1975, near Luck, Polk County (Sec. 19, T. 36 N., R. 17 W.).

Winter: Rare and regular winter resident in the Western Upland. Usually encountered each year on either the Afton or Suburban St. Paul CBC. One remained at St. Croix Falls, Polk County, during the 1949-50 Winter.

Habitat: The white-throated sparrow occupies both deciduous and coniferous habitats during the nesting season. There is no single habitat that can be considered characteristic. Deciduous habitats that are most regularly used include stands of mature Northern Hardwood Forest with sugar maple, basswood, and silver maple the predominant vegetation. Nests in this habitat are usually associated with lush grasses and forbs in the ground layer. Deciduous Clear Cuts < 10 years old and predominantly trembling aspen with scattered patches of black raspberry are an important deciduous habitat. Coniferous habitats of major importance include Lowland Coniferous Forest dominated by yellow birch, white cedar, black spruce, and balsam fir. Extensive use is also made of Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs. Use of Jack Pine Barrens is very low and irregular.


Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)

Status: Regular migrant, casual early winter resident.

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 15-25 March and the Northern Highland 1-5 April. Peak spring migration occurs 10-25 April and departure by 15 May (latest-28 May 1972, Washington County). Fall migrants arrive 10-15 September, peak fall migration occurs 1-20 October, and departure is by 15 November.

Winter: There are several early winter records from the Western Upland. These records include 13 December 1968, Chisago County, and 2 January 1960, 1 January 1970, 1974, and 1976 on the Afton CBC, Washington County.

Habitat: In the Western Upland, the fox sparrow is primarily a species of Southern Deciduous Forest characterized by white, Hill's, and bur oak. Extensive areas of brushy understory, primarily prickly ash, hazelnut, and beaked hazel are important components of that habitat. In the northern regions, fox sparrows use brushy edges and heavy undergrowth in Northern Hardwood Forest, primarily quaking aspen, sugar maple, basswood, white birch, and green ash.


Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)

Status: Regular migrant and possible summer resident.

Migration: Uncommon spring and fairly common fall migrant throughout the Valley, locally common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 May and the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 10-20 May and departure 25 May to 1 June. Fall migration begins in the Northern Highland about 15 August with the first arrivals in the Western Upland 20-25 August. Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October and departure by 15-20 October (latest-28 October 1963, St. Croix County).

Nesting Season Distribution: S. D. Robbins (personal communication) recorded single Lincoln's sparrows along the route of the Minong BBS (Douglas County) on 16 June 1971 and 27 June 1975. On 26 June 1974 Robbins recorded one in an open bog about 6.4 km north of Moose Junction, Douglas County.

Habitat: Migrant Lincoln's sparrows are usually associated with brushy edge habitats. Old Field Community, retired agricultural fields, and ornamental shrubbery in residential areas are important among these. In the Northern Highland, this sparrow is regularly encountered in wet coniferous habitats, brushy borders of Northern Sedge Meadow, and in Alder Thickets.


Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, one winter record.

Migration: Common migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 25 March to 5 April and the Northern Highland 15-20 April. Peak spring migration through the Valley occurs 20 April to 5 May. Peak fall migration occurs 15 September to 10 October and departure by 20 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Uncommon to fairly common nesting species in the Central Plain and Northern Highland, locally in the Western Upland. Jackson (1943) found the swamp sparrow "never particularly common" during the 1919 nesting season. He found nests with young at St. Croix Falls (Polk County) and Solon Springs (Douglas County). Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the swamp sparrow is more abundant during the nesting season in the northern regions of the Central Plain and throughout the Northern Highland.

Winter: A single bird was observed in St. Croix County during the Afton CBC on 1 January 1970.

Habitat: Characteristic nesting species of Alder Thicket and Northern Sedge Meadow habitats in northern regions. Also fairly regular in Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs and in open leatherleaf-Labrador tea bogs. In the Central Plain, this sparrow breeds regularly in Shrub Carr habitat which is dominated by heavy growths of gray dogwood and in cattail-bulrush vegetation associated with seasonally, semipermanently, and permanently flooded wetlands.


Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 20 March to 1 April and the Northern Highland 1-10 April (earliest-13 March 1954, Burnett County). Peak spring migration occurs 15 April to 1 May. Peak fall migration is 1-10 September in the Northern Highland and 25 September to 10 October in the Western Upland. Departure from the Northern Highland occurs 15-25 October (latest-16 November 1975, Burnett County) and elsewhere by 5 November.

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species throughout the Valley. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 8) suggest that the song sparrow is the most abundant breeding sparrow in the Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that the song sparrow was a common nesting bird "at every locality visited" in northwestern Wisconsin in 1919. Goddard (1972) reported a breeding density of 40.3 pairs per 40 ha in the lower Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Goddard also reported that the song sparrow was the second most abundant breeding bird among 82 species nesting in that valley.

Winter: Regularly occurring species during winter along the lower St. Croix River. Most birds are associated with feeding stations in residential areas.

Habitat: Nearly unrestricted in nesting habitat use. Important habitats are Shrub Carr, Alder Thicket, Prairie Wetlands, retired agricultural fields, Old Field Community, highway rights-of-way, and brushy openings in upland deciduous forest. Coniferous habitats are used to a lesser degree. Important among these are Black Spruce-Tamarack Bog and Lowland Coniferous Forest.


Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: Abundant migrant in the Western Upland, Central Plain, and unforested regions of the Northern Highland; rare in the heavily forested regions of the Northern Highland. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 15-20 September and the Western Upland 25 September to 1 October. Peak fall migration occurs 15 October to 15 November and most have departed by 1 December. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1-5 March and the Northern Highland about 15 March. Peak spring migration occurs 20 March to 10 April and departure by 10 May.

Habitat: An open country bird using primarily heavily grazed tame pasture, fall plowed agricultural fields, corn and oat stubble, and the exposed edges of Prairie Wetlands.

Winter: Uncommon winter resident of the Western Upland and Central Plain, usually absent north of St. Croix Falls. Normal winter flock size is 10-30. The largest daily total on a CBC (Afton) is 174 on 1 January 1968.


Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus)

Status: Accidental, one record.

Record: K. H. Dueholm observed three chestnut-collared longspurs in a flock of lapland longspurs on 20 March 1976, 4.8 km north of Star Prairie, Polk County.


Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

Status: Regular migrant and winter resident.

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant in the Western Upland, Central Plain, and unforested regions of the Northern Highland. Fall migrants arrive in the Northern Highland 10-20 October (earliest-5 October 1952, Burnett County) and the Western Upland 20-30 October. Peak fall migration occurs 10 November to 1 December. Peak spring migration occurs 1-15 March and departure by 15 April (latest-30 April 1971, Burnett County).

Winter: Fairly common (locally common) winter resident in the unforested areas of the Valley. Christmas Bird Count data suggest that largest numbers occur in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. The largest group on record (2,500) was recorded by N. R. Stone at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 21 December 1950.

Habitat: Primarily a species of open country using heavily grazed tame pasture, fall plowed agricultural fields, and corn or oat stubble. In the Northern Highland, occasional use is made of grassy railroad rights-of-way that traverse extensive hardwood forest stands.


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