[birding] Grasshopper Sparrow nesting confirmed at Baskett Slough NWR

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Mon Jun 24 18:50:11 PDT 2013

Hi all,

Today Bob Altman checked back on a couple of GRASSHOPPER SPARROW pairs
that appeared to be nesting when I checked the same areas in Baskett
Slough NWR on June 6-7, after Bob had found a singing male on one of
these sites in late May.

At one of these locations today, Bob found two young Grasshopper
Sparrows with an adult nearby.

I haven't heard of anyone has following up on the Grasshopper Sparrows
on the North Prairie unit at Finley NWR, since Bill Proebsting took a
Corvallis Audubon field trip there in May. However it seems very likely
that Grasshopper Sparrows nested on at least two of the three
mid-Willamette Valley refuges this year.

As for OREGON VESPER SPARROWS, which were the main focus of this study,
I'm not aware of any indications of nesting on the refuges. As Bob has
been hinting in previous postings, early returns are not looking good.

For folks who have not been following this issue closely, Oregon Vesper
Sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus affinis) are the endemic subspecies in the
Willamette Valley, Puget Lowlands, and Rogue-Umpqua Valley region, so a
different subspecies from the Vesper Sparrows that seem to be doing
better in sagebrush-steppe habitats in central and eastern Oregon. A
rough guess of their total numbers, range-wide, is in the very low

Western Grasshopper Sparrows apparently have a smaller population in the
Willamette & Umpqua valleys (maybe a couple hundred), but they have a
much wider range compared with Oregon Vesper Sparrows.

Good birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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