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CLIPBOARD : BREEDING BIRD: GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum perpallidus)

January 01, 1991|DORIS SHIELDS / Los Angeles Times

Description: A small, plump bird with a flat head and a short, dark tail. It has a buffy breast and sides without the streaking common in sparrows. Other markings include pale stripe across center of crown; faint yellow lore; tawny ear patch and rufous scapulars. Length: 5 inches.

Habitat: Grassland, cultivated fields, palmetto scrub, old fields; nests and feeds on the ground.

Diet: Gleans insects and seeds.

Displays: In courtship, male performs low, fluttering flight, sometimes while singing. Female will answer his song with a trill; male may chase female while singing. To protect young, females will feign wing injury during short flight by spreading wings and tail.

Nest: Depression in ground, well concealed by grass and shrubs; made of dried grasses and lined with fine materials.

Eggs: Cream-colored with reddish-brown markings, occasionally wreathed. Length: 0.8 inches.

Call: Song is a series of buzzes and squeaky notes; also sings two high chip notes followed by a brief buzzing sound.

Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas, call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160.

Note: Map is divided into 5-kilometer squares so that Audubon Society volunteers can more easily survey areas on a regular basis.

Sources: Sea and Sage Audubon Society; "The Birder's Handbook," Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, Fireside Books (1988); "Field Guide to the Birds of North America," National Geographic Society (1987); "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution," Garrett and Dunn, Los Angeles Audubon Society (1981).

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