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 Henslow's Sparrow

Status in Michigan
Uncommon Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Henslow's Sparrow.

Use the links below to view the Henslow's Sparrow reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Henslow's Sparrow sightings.
Henslow's Sparrow Archives Reports
Fall 2003 5
Spring 2003 14
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 3
Summer 2002 11
Spring 2002 21
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 7
Summer 2001 34
Spring 2001 10
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 0
Summer 2000 14
Spring 2000 10
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 0
Spring/Summer 1999 1

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Henslow's Sparrow

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Henslow's Sparrow
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Henslow's Sparrow
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Passerherbulus henslowii henslowii (Audubon)
Western Henslow's Sparrow (A.O.U. 1998: Henslow's Sparrow)

Summer resident. Largely confined to the southern 4 tiers of counties, although it has been collected north to Saginaw Bay and Mackinaw City and is apparently spreading northward.

First recorded for Michigan by J. B. Purdy (1897: 220-21).

Barrows (1912: 494-97) and A. S. Hyde (1939) have reviewed the occurrence here of this very inconspicuous sparrow. J. B. Purdy (1897:220-21) collected an egg set in Plymouth, Wayne County, on July 27, 1893. Breeding was subsequently noted in Jackson County (L. Whitney Watkins, 1894o; 180-81) and Calhoun County (E. Arnold, 1903c: 27). Small colonies were found regularly in a number of localities about Detroit, in Wayne, St. Clair, and Oakland counties (Swales, 1903: 39; 1905: 111;1910d; 458-59; J. Claire Wood, 1905&; 416). The species is apparently rather unstable in its abundance "even in suitable habitat" (A. S. Hyde, 1939:60).

SPRING.-Henslow's Sparrow generally reaches the southern counties by the end of the second week or in the third week of April. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 171-72, 196, 209) the average date of arrival for individuals is April 19, and for the beginning' of the main flight, May 4, but individuals have appeared there as early as the second week of April. In the Ann Arbor region, the species has been noted several times as early as April 8 (one to three birds in 1922, 1926, and 1934), though usually not until later in the month or until May. Numbers have been found in the Portage Lake marsh, Jackson County, by R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and other observers: 8 on April 17, 1934; 100 to 200 (1 in U.M.M.Z.) on April 28, 1935; 50 on May 2, 1937. At Battle Creek (Walkinshaw, 1939: 108-9), the species has arrived twice on April 16; the average, taken over 10 years, is April 20.

SUMMER.-Nesting is in progress in southern counties from mid-May to late August, many first clutches being found in late May (A. S. Hyde, 1939: 36) and early June. Henslow's Sparrow has been noted in summer in many southern counties, sometimes very commonly, as in 1930 (R. E. Olsen, 1932: 481-82). L. W. Campbell (1940: 171-72) observed colonies from 1934 to 1936 in the Erie marsh, Monroe County. At Gibraltar Bay, near Grosse lie, "Wayne County, Trautman found a small colony of about 15 pairs on July 2, 1935. In Washtenaw and Livingston counties, where the species was formerly considered uncommon, it is now usually common (N. A. Wood and Tinker, 1910: 134; R. E. Olsen, 1932: 481-82) ; in 1934, a 40-acre tract of habitable territory "held about thirty or forty singing males" (A. S. Hyde, 1939: 46). At the Portage Lake marsh, Jackson County, 20 Henslow's Sparrows in a day are common in June, July, and August; and on August 8, 1937, R. E. Olsen and A. D. Tinker counted as many as 50. In Calhoun County, where F. C. Hennessey (1916: 115) re- corded a colony in 1916, Walkinshaw (1941: 127; and notes) found this species "a very common bird on the drier sedge-grown areas." In the 1930's Walkinshaw discovered a number of nests there, as well as in parts of Kalamazoo County. Leonard Wing collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) May 29, 1932, at Constantine, St. Joseph County. On May 10, 1938, at Ann Arbor, L .D. Case collected a nest with 3 Sparrow eggs and 1 Cowbird egg; on May 16, 1935, at Pond Lily Lake, Ross Township, Kalamazoo County, Walkinshaw examined a nest containing a single egg (broken). In the same township, he recorded fledglings leaving the nest as late as August 26, 2023 (not August 19, as given in A. S. Hyde, 1939: 36). Whereas actual nesting records northward seem to be lacking, the species has occurred in the breeding season as far north as the tip of the Lower Peninsula. A recent spread in that direction is indicated by the following records-the only northern ones for Michigan. In Eaton County, Kalmbach (1908 : 230) secured 3 specimens from a colony near Eaton Rapids, and A. S. Hyde (1939: 15) obtained 3 (U.M.M.Z.) on August 15, 1933, at Olivet. This sparrow has been noted also in Clinton County and northeast to the Saginaw Bay region (Walkinshaw; A. S. Hyde, 1939: 36), at least to Fish Point, Tuscola County. At Fish Point, 3 were seen on June 7, and 1 (U.M.M.Z.) collected on June 8, 1926, by N. A. Wood; 10 on July 19, 1934, by N. A. Wood and R. E. Olsen; 20 on May 24, 1936, and 10 on May 30, 1937, by R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and others. On June 13, 1931, 5 miles southeast of Mackinaw City, Cheboygan County, Leonard Wing (1931a;618; and notes) collected 1 (U.M.M.Z.).

FALL.-Movement in southern counties is concluded apparently during the middle or last third of October. Walkinshaw (1939: 108-9) gave September 23 as the average date of departure from Battle Creek. At Anderson, southern Livingston County, A. S. Hyde (1939: 15) flushed about 2 dozen of the species on September 21, 1935, but only 7 or 8 on the following October 18; in a careful search of breeding habitat about Portage Lake, Jackson County, he found only 4 or 5 (1 in U.M.M.Z.) on October 24, 1935. H. J. Leraas caught 1 (U.M.M.Z.) at Birmingham, Oakland County, on October 25, 1934, and J. Claire Wood collected 1 (U.M.M.Z.) in Grosse Pointe Township, Wayne County, on October 23, 1906. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, according to L. W. Campbell (1940: 171-72, 196, 209), the average date for the end of the main flight is August 20, and for the last individuals, October 8; stragglers remain on occasion until October 16.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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