Thursday, July 19, 2018

What's up with Henslow's???!!

Things are undeniably slow, from a birding perspective, here in southern Ontario, however, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about....but, really, what's up with Henslow's Sparrow in Ontario?!
April 29, 2017 -- PPNP

Take a look at eBird and the last 10 years over the June/July period and it's crazy the difference between Ontario and the immediate surrounding breeding range. Take a look:

Literally a stone's throw into Michigan and there are birds. Throw a rock south, across Lake Erie and there are more birds. While I am being dramatic in saying this, the frequency of observations does warrant me in saying that we must be missing birds on the breeding grounds in extreme southwestern Ontario, specifically in Essex, western Chatham-Kent, and southern Lambton counties.

I do understand that the species is very difficult to pick out, while singing; how many birders could say that they are specifically looking for Henslow's as breeders in Ontario, and extreme southwestern Ontario?? I doubt any. Myself included.

It would be interesting if someone took it upon themselves to look for them. I think if I had the time, I'd try Essex, particularly SW Essex, as that area seems to have a bit more natural cover left, including some restored grasslands. Listening for them in the evening too, would be best.

One additional thing is that the species, from what I understand, isn't that picky in it's breeding habitat. Smaller fields (~5ha) could be good for the species. With that being said, maybe some will be found during the next breeding bird atlas (2021-2026). Time will tell!

Henslow's -- PPNP May 3, 2015

Henslow's -- Pelee Island - May 5, 2011