Bachman’s sparrow

W H Bachmans 512W

The Bachman’s sparrow, known as the pine woods sparrow, is striped reddish brown and has a dingy buff colored breast. It is shy, playing hide and seek in the grasses, but will perch on a small tree when it sings. It’s domed shaped nest is built on the ground near a clump of grasses or at the base of small trees. A grassy understory of native grasses such as bluestems, Indian grass, switch grass, and broom sedge provide ideal habitat for these grassland birds. Native bunch grasses allow the birds to easily move along the bare ground eating seeds and insects while providing cover from above. This habitat can be created and maintained in the Refuge loblolly pine forest by using prescribed fires and timber harvests. While this bird is a year round resident, it is best viewed during the spring breeding season when the males are singing.

Feeding Behavior
Forages almost entirely on the ground, moving rather slowly in a limited area. Picks up items from ground or jumps up to take items from low vegetation.

Eggs
3-4, sometimes 2-5. White, unmarked. Incubation is by female only, about 12-14 days. Young: Both parents bring food to the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-10 days after hatching. 1-2 broods per year, perhaps rarely 3.

Young
Both parents bring food to the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-10 days after hatching. 1-2 broods per year, perhaps rarely 3.

Diet
Mostly seeds and insects. Diet is not known in detail. In summer, majority of diet apparently is insects, especially beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, also other insects and spiders. Also eats many seeds, particularly those of grasses; seeds may be especially important in diet in winter.

Nesting
In southern areas, members of a pair may remain together at all seasons. Beginning in early spring, male sings to defend nesting territory. Nest site is almost always on the ground, typically placed at the base of a shrub, clump of grass, or palmetto. Occasionally placed a few inches above the ground, within the base of a weed or grass clump. Nest (built by female) is an open cup made of grass, weeds, rootlets, lined with fine grass and animal hair. Often has a domed top of woven grasses at least partially covering nest.