The Brewer's Sparrow is a notiously nondescript LBJ ("little brown job") with a famously
lengthy and exuberant song. But the species has a "short song" in addition to the famous
"long song." Here we have the rare juxtaposition of the two, separated only by many seconds of intense
twittering. The latter could have been made by a female, but because the notes fall right in line with
the songs and never overlap them, I suspect they were made by the singer. To me, the twittering, which also precedes
the first song,
has the intensity of solicitation. Maybe this bird was pulling out all the stops to impress a female. Two more long songs may
be found below.
This sparrow is a denizen of the Big Sagebrush desert of the North American Great Basin,
like the Sage Thrasher and the Sagebrush
Sparrow. It was recorded just south of the Cabin Lake Campground, a famous birding
spot and also the center of an intensive study of shrub-steppe bird communities in the 1970s,
led by John Wiens, then a young professor at Oregon State University. With no human noise of
any kind, and a rare windless day, my July 4 visit to Cabin Lake was magical.