By: Pat Coate
The Roger Tory Peterson Birding Festival was held this past Friday and Saturday in and around Jamestown, NY. On Friday I joined about 15 others and we loaded up the Jamestown Audubon van, picked up a few more along the way and headed down to Piney Tract (aka Mt. Zion Grasslands), near Sligo, PA. Piney Tract is a reclaimed strip mine that is now an Important Birding Area and contains mostly grasslands habitat. The target birds were grassland sparrows – Henslow’s, Grasshopper and Clay-colored. We were 3 for 3 and all were life birds for me!
Despite the vigor with which this sparrow seems to be singing, the Henslow’s call is a meager, demand-my-money-back two syllables.
These birds seem to prefer thick grass with a dense litter layer and it was clear why this area is well-suited for them. Piney Tract is the largest breeding area in Pennsylvania for Henslow’s sparrows.
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