Harris's Sparrow

1/800s at f8.0, ISO:400, Canon Mark III 1Ds w/800mm, x 1.4 converter

The Harris's Sparrow is a large sparrow. Their breeding habitat is the north part of central Canada (primarily the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, ranging slightly into northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan). In fact, this bird is Canada's only endemic breeder. In the winter they migrate to the Great Plains states of the United States, from lower South Dakota to upper Texas. The Harris's Sparrow breeds in stunted coniferous forests and adjacent scrubs, especially areas of the grand boreal forests where stands of spruce abut mossy bogs. They often nest near the northern limit of tree growth in the forest-tundra ecotone. The Harris's Sparrow generally feeds on the ground, scratching vigorously in the leaves and soil for food. 85% of observed foraging during nesting occurred as ground gleaning. During breeding season individuals typically forage alone or with a mate. Primary in the diet (66% of stomach contents of breeding birds) are seeds. Also important in the breeding season diet are fruits, largely black crowberries and mountain bearberries. Nests are usually constructed in early to mid-June. From 3 to 5 eggs are laid. The young will fledge in about 8 to 10 days.
Medicine Creek, NE