English and Scientific names:

Cassinís Sparrow (Aimophila cassinii)

Number of individuals:

1 presumed gray adult male (likely SY male)

Locality: LOUISIANA:

Bossier Parish

Specific Locality:

at terminus of W. Viking Dr., Bossier City

Date(s) when observed:

12 May 2008

Time(s) of day when observed:

~8:10 AM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

 

Baton Rouge, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

 

Justin Bosler, Terry Davis, Jonathan Carpenter

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

Jeff Trahan, Paul Dickson, Charlie Lyon, Larry Raymond, Clyde Massey, Jim Ingold, Mac Myers, Curt Sorrells, m. ob.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Clear sky w/ optimal early morning sunlight.Sun angle was fairly high and not a factor.Sun was opposite the bird and behind observers.†† ††

 

Optical equipment:

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Canon ZR830 digital video camcorder (equipment in excellent condition)

Distance to bird(s):

ca. 4-8 meters

Duration of observation:

~15 min.

Habitat:

Edge of wheat/barley field in an open suburban area.Various herbaceous plants and woody shrubs along roadside.

Behavior of bird:

The sparrow was observed in flight, foraging, and at rest.It was initially solicited into view w/ playback and it immediately began to sing from a nearby metal fence.It delivered several series of partial and full song before moving to another perch.Within a few minutes, it was back on the ground foraging beneath the Johnson grass.It eventually disappeared into the wheat field.

Description:

 

A fairly large, drab Aimophila sparrow w/ grayish-brown upperparts streaked w/ rufous and dull black.Underparts largely unmarked, pale gray w/ faint streaking on the sides and flanks.Noticeable dark rufous-brown cap on head.Relatively long, rounded, dark brown tail w/ whitish corners at tip.Large, silvery bill w/ dark culmen, dark irides, and horn-flesh tarsi/feet.Appeared to be a gray individual, as opposed to rufous, as shown in the Sibley Guide to Birds.On 10, 11 May, other observers watched it perform its characteristic skylarking song flight.By 12 May, it preferred to sing from a low perch, which it did for several minutes, but it never sang in flight.

Voice:

Distinctive song began w/ a few soft whistles, followed by a long, sweet trill, a lower whistle, and ends w/ a higher note.This complex song was delivered repeatedly for several minutes during the observation.Also gave an agitated trill accompanied by a series of chip notes.A high-pitched sit note was heard when the sparrow was not singing.††††

Similar species:

The only other relatively similar sparrow that occurs in LA is Bachmanís Sparrow (BASP), which is in the same genus.However, BASP can be eliminated by the drab gray-brown, less bright plumage, lack of rufous on the upperparts, smaller bill, song, and habitat.All other N.A. sparrows can be eliminated by the diagnostic CASP song.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Video by Devin Bosler. Yes, video images attached.Digiscoped photos by Justin Bosler.†††

Previous experience with this species:

Very familiar w/ CASP from AZ, NM, and TX.Spent nearly an entire summer working in and around CASP habitat in New Mexico in 2007.Most recent encounter was of a singing male in w. TX, W of Robert Lee (Coke) on 20 Mar 2008.††

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005), The Sibley Guide to Birds (Sibley 2000).

This description is written from:

notes made during the observation

notes made after the observation

memory

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain:

 

Yes

Reporter:

Devin Bosler

Date and time:

23 May 20082:00 PM CDT