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 Swamp Sparrow

Status in Michigan
Common 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 Swamp Sparrow.

Use the links below to view the Swamp 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 Swamp Sparrow sightings.
Swamp Sparrow Archives Reports
Fall 2003 29
Spring 2003 59
Winter 02-03 4
Fall 2002 27
Summer 2002 2
Spring 2002 60
Winter 01-02 4
Fall 2001 16
Summer 2001 18
Spring 2001 21
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 23
Summer 2000 7
Spring 2000 33
Winter 00-99 2
Fall 1999 14
Spring/Summer 1999 6

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Swamp Sparrow

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Swamp Sparrow
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Swamp 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

Melospisa georgiana (Latham)
Swamp Sparrow

Common summer resident. Individuals winter occasionally in some southern counties.

First authoritatively listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

SPRING.-Individuals frequently arrive in Michigan during the latter part of March, but the time of the main flight is between mid-April and the last week of May.

Lower Peninsula.-L. "W. Campbell (1940: 210) has observed the Swamp Sparrow in numbers in the Toledo-Erie marsh area between early April and early May. A. D. Tinker saw 2 as early as March 13, 1919, near Ann Arbor, where numbers are reported after the first week in April (15 seen by T. D. Hinshaw on April 11, 1935, and 15 by R. L. Patterson on April 24, 2023) . In 1935, R. E. Olsen and others saw more than 50 Swamp Sparrows at Portage Lake, Jackson County, on April 14 and more than 100 there 2 weeks later. N. A. Wood (1922: 22-23) listed the species as a migrant in Berrien County during the first half of May; Walkinshaw (1939 : 108) gave April 2 as the average date of arrival in the Battle Creek area. From 1931 to 1933 at Sand Point, Huron County, D. W. Douglass saw up to 4 a day by mid-April.

Upper Peninsula.-In Chippewa County, Christofferson and Magee saw a Swamp Sparrow at Munuscong Bay on April 14, 1928; 2 at Sault Ste Marie on April 19, 1927; and 10 at Eckerman on May 1, 1927. Christofferson banded 1 at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, on April 29, 1938, and saw 4 there the following day. N. A. Wood (1933: 727) in 1931 collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, on April 28, and took 2 (U.M.M.Z.) in 1930 on Isle Royale, 1 on May 17, and 1 on May 31.

SUMMER.-Nests and eggs of the Swamp Sparrow have been found from mid-May to the end of the third week in July.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 178) estimated that there were at least 25 pairs in the Erie marsh, Monroe County, in late June, 1934. Gibbs (1885: 87) listed the species as a not uncommon summer resident in Kalamazoo County, where F. "W. Rapp (1931: 24) found a nest with 2 eggs, near Vicksburg on May 7, 1925. Walkinshaw found a nest, with 4 eggs, at Battle Creek on May 24, 1931. Apparently the first published in- stance of breeding in Michigan is a nest with 4 eggs collected in the St. Clair Flats, St. Clair County, on June 16,1903, by A. W. Blain, Jr. (1903b;82) . This sparrow was listed as not common in northwestern Huron County by N. A. Wood and Gaige (1911: 293), and a nest with 3 eggs was found by G, A. Ammann at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, on May 18, 1940. Clyde Karshner collected a set of 5 eggs (U.M.M.Z.) near Big Rapids, Mecosta County, on April 30,1896. In the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County, Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) found 3 nests: 1 with 4 eggs on July 8,1 with 3 eggs on July 10, and 1 with 3 eggs on July 22.

Upper Peninsula.-On Les Cheneaux Islands, Mackinac County, where he found a nest on July 1, Van Tyne (1923: 24) listed the Swamp Spar- row as an uncommon summer resident. The species was found to be common, however, at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, by N. A. Wood (1914:69) , and also at Seney, Schoolcraft County, by Brodkorb in mid-June, 1936. F. W. Braund found a nest with 4 eggs in the Lake Superior State Forest, Luce County, on June 9, 1940; Gaige (1914: 86) collected a young bird of the year (U.M.M.Z.) on July 19, and saw several other Swamp Sparrows there until the end of the month. Both Christy (1925: 214) and S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 183), have stated that this sparrow is an uncommon summer resident in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County. Max M. Peet (1909: 369) recorded a young Swamp Sparrow that was seen with the adults on Isle Royale, July 26.

FALL.-Main flight occurs between the latter part of September and the latter part of October.

Upper Peninsula.-N. A. "Wood collected 3 specimens (U.M.M.Z.) on Isle Royale between August 30 and September 16, 1929. In 1936 Ira N. Gabrielson saw 4 on September 25 and 1 on the following day in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County. Christofferson banded 1 at Blaney, School- craft County, on October 1, 1939, and saw 2 others there later, on October 21. In 1930 Bryens (1939: 106) observed the species at McMillan, Luce County, as late as October 27.

Lower Peninsula.-J. Claire "Wood (1913: 19) saw 4 Swamp Sparrows in Alcona County on October 11; Trautman saw 8 at Houghton, Roscommon County, on October 1, 1938. The species was listed as rather common on Charity Island, Huron County, between October 4 and 11 by N. A. Wood (1911: 103). Walkinshaw (1939: 108) has given October 22 as the average date of departure from the Battle Creek area, his latest record being November 7 (1935). Five Swamp Sparrows were seen by H. A. Mathiak near Ann Arbor on October 17, 1937, and a number of specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been collected there in the early part of the month. In the Detroit area, J. Claire Wood procured 1 specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on October 23, and 2 (U.M.M.Z.) on November 11, 1906.

WINTER.-The Swamp Sparrow has been found during the winter in 4 of the southern counties. D. L. Alien collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) near Augusta, Kalamazoo County, on January 7, 1936. One Swamp Spar- row was seen near Jackson on December 24 and again on December 28 by Fargo and others (1925: 46); in the vicinity of Ann Arbor, 1 was seen by Otto McCreary on February 23, 2023 (Van Tyne, 1926: 117), and 1 (U.M.M.Z.) was collected by Van Tyne on January 20, 1926. Among specimens (U.M.M.Z.) from Erie Township, Monroe County, are 1 taken December 28, 1936, by G. A. Ammann; 3 taken February 4, 1940, February 24, 1934, and February 26, 1933, by Van Tyne. L. W. Campbell (1940:179) reported that there were more than 50- Swamp Sparrows in the Erie marsh, Monroe County, on February 5, 1939; on North Cape, in the same county, he and Van Tyne saw dozens of the birds on February 4,1940.

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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