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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ammodramus savannarum
POPULATION: 31 million
HABITAT: Breeds and winters in grasslands, including prairies, pastures, meadows, and old fields.
More often heard than seen, the secretive Grasshopper Sparrow gets its name for the buzzing, insect-like quality of its songs. When seen among the dense grasses where it breeds, this small, short-tailed bird appears big-headed and large-billed compared to other sparrows.
Habitat loss and degradation remain the greatest threats to Grasshopper Sparrow and other grassland-dependent species such as Baird’s Sparrow, Long-billed Curlew, and Bobolink. Increased use of pesticides, brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds, and loss of wintering habitat have also contributed to population declines.