Skylarking Sparrow

June 15, 2016

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Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

When two Cassin’s Sparrows are in close proximity, one of them often launches into a territorial skylarking flight to claim his territory.  Named for a Philadelphia ornithologist, John Cassin, this sparrow is a breeder on short-grass plains as long as there are song perches such as cholla cactus.  Formerly a common breeding species on the Chico, it almost disappeared during the drought years but seems to be doing very well this year with the denser grasses due to rainfall. Its four-note flight call is very distinctive and loud.