Pair of Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis)

This pair of Savannah Sparrows seemed determined to start a family despite the late season and the inadequate habitat. This was the middle of June, a time when many other birds are already feeding hatchlings or, like the Red-winged Blackbirds, watching their fledglings fly off. A few weeks earlier I saw a solo Savannah looking in apparent shock at a newly mowed meadow where, very probably, it had been hatched two years earlier when a then compassionate Parks management exempted this little patch of greenery from mowing. (“Homeless Savannah,” May 28 2022) But now a bit of rain had fallen and the grass had grown ankle-tall on a human, and this pair of Savannahs hopped into the greenery, coupled repeatedly, and went about looking for a nest site. These birds, as I reported earlier, are driven to return to the exact spot where they hatched, and they’re equipped with an accurate multi-dimensional navigational system that gets them there.

I feel skeptical about their chances, but I hope I’m wrong. The grass isn’t tall enough to provide effective cover for their nests. They build nests on the ground and try to create a roof over the nest and a tunnel that leads away from it. The area is next to the Off-Leash Dog Area and there isn’t a fence or other clear boundary to keep canines away. I’ve looked for these two in more recent park visits and haven’t seen them. That doesn’t mean they’ve given up and gone away. They’re small and could just be laying low. If you spot them, please post a comment here. The site is on the east side of the park, in the patch of meadow just south of the gravel trail that leads from the paved perimeter path to the dog park.

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