Wintering Lark Sparrow

This Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) appeared at the backyard bird feeder of Julie Craves in Dearborn on 12 January 2004, and continued to make brief appearances through 24 January.  It then disappeared for six weeks, when it popped up again on 29 February.  On 6 March, it was banded.  This is the first winter record for Michigan, and only the third record for Wayne Co.

Lark Sparrows nest over much of western North America.  They winter from central Texas through central Mexico.. Wintering concentrations in the U.S. are north-central CA, south-central AZ, south-central TX, and the northern Great Basin.

In Michigan, Lark Sparrows are considered casual, seen mostly in migration.  There were only eight records, all spring migrants, from southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario between 1945 and 1974.  The two previous records from Wayne Co. are one from Greenfield Village, Dearborn, on 21 Aug 1980 and another at Lake Erie Metropark on 26 Nov 2003.  The latter is apparently also the only record between 27 October and 11 April.

Read more about this record here:

Craves, J. A. 2003.  First Michigan winter record of Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) in Wayne Co. (pdf) Michigan Birds and Natural History 10:164-165.

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