Le Conte's Sparrow  ( Bruant de Le Conte )    This species is of special interest to Timiskaming birders.    All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Ammodramus leconteii

 (No high quality local photo available yet for this species.) 

General Notes

This is a very secretive sparrow. First described from a winter specimen taken in Georgia in1790, it was encountered again in the 1830s, and then not again until 1872.  The first nest was discovered in Manitoba in 1882. Even today, scarcely more than 100 nests have ever been documented for this species. Obviously a hard bird to study.

It is probably more abundant than the evidence indicates. It rarely shows itself, and it has a soft, buzzy, insect-like song that is easily overwhelmed by other bird song in the area. The song is thus overlooked or easily dismissed as an insect by most novice birders.  It's presence, therefore, usually goes unnoticed by all but the most experienced birders, and even then it often takes some time in an area to become aware of them. 

In Ontario, the Le Conte's Sparrow is most common during breeding season in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, but it is occasionally found at the edges of flooded meadows, sedge marshes and quaking bogs further south.  They prefer the dry edges of the wetlands where there are tall grasses and minimal woody debris. Often this coincides with areas of periodic disturbance from sources like fires, floods, tidal surges or grazing.  It often occurs in the same places as Sedge Wren and Yellow Rail. 

In Timiskaming District, it is so far only documented from Hilliardton Marsh, perhaps because few other areas of suitable habitat in this area have been as carefully examined by experienced birders.

Abundance: Rare Earliest observed date:  

Typical arrival date:

April 22
Breeding Status: Breeding Latest observed date:  

Typical departure date:

October 9

Documented Observations

 

 

May 22-24, June 11-13, 1993. Four observed at Hilliardton Marsh during field work for a Master's thesis by David Locky.

May 27-28, June 20-22, 1997. Two observed at Hilliardton Marsh during field work for a Master's thesis by David Locky.

May 23-25, June 18-20, 1998. Four observed at Hilliardton Marsh by David Locky during field work for his Master's thesis.