On April 25, a singing male Field Sparrow was first sighted at the parking lot of Otter View Park in Middlebury by Spencer Hardy. Over the next few days, several other birders found it too, and the realization came that rather than this bird being just a temporary passing migrant, it was instead attempting to set up a breeding territory in the park. What is interesting about this is that Field Sparrows are a shrubland species, and Otter View Park does not exactly fit that description. But the parking lot, tucked between residential streets and and open field, is ringed by bushes that this Field Sparrow has taken as its own little shrubland niche.

So far there has been no sign of the Field Sparrow attracting a mate, but it’s not for lack of trying. It is aggressively defending the territory, seen coming into conflict with a local Song Sparrow by a couple of birders. Any trip to the Park now you are almost guaranteed to be greeted by the accelerating, whistled “bouncing ball” song of this bird.

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow

– Ron Payne