In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Lark Sparrow, pictured above, in our April 2016 issue.
These maps display eBird data from 2005 to 2015 and show the distribution of Lark Sparrow in January and April. In January, the species occurs along roadsides, in weedy overgrown fields, and in agricultural lands from California to Florida, and south through much of Mexico. Purple squares along the East Coast on the January map indicate rare records of overwintering birds. By April, the sparrow has spread through much of the western and central United States, where it will breed. It is particularly common in Oklahoma and Texas, represented by dark purple squares. Some birds will continue migrating north throughout May, reaching the northern states and south-central Canada. Lark Sparrow is often quite visible, especially for a sparrow. Look for it along roads and weedy edges during the migratory season. In summer, males sing from exposed perches and during occasional brief song flights.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the April 2016 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.
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