Spring announces itself not only to the eye but also to the ear. I heard the morning song of this bird before I could spot it, tucked away in the dried branches of this bush along the north side paved trail. It didn’t respond to my camera at all, and even a runner passing by within a few feet of its perch didn’t faze it for more than a few seconds. Such is passion. While I watched and listened, the sparrow had no response to its call. But chances are good that others will answer before long.
Researchers find that male song sparrows may know as many as 20 different songs, plus thousands of variations, but they like to sing one song over and over before switching to another. They learn their songs from neighboring birds. Females value song learning ability in males. They prefer to breed with males that have learned more songs from the neighborhood. Song sparrows from a different region will have a different song repertoire and will be readily identified as visitors in a neighborhood.
Song sparrows usually nest on the ground, sometimes in bushes or trees at low elevations. The female builds the nest out of grasses and weeds. Song sparrows generally adapt to human habitations and may build nests in gardens or close to buildings.