Vesper Sparrow Identification
Vesper Sparrows are a medium-large sparrow approximately 15 cm long. They are grayish brown above and buffy below with brown streaks. They have a narrow white eye-ring, white outer tail feathers, and a rufous shoulder patch. The Oregon Vesper Sparrow subspecies cannot be determined by plumage or vocalization, but by geographic range. This subspecies is restricted to agricultural fields, grasslands, and savannah habitats west of the Cascade Mountains. Similar species include the Song Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow, but both of these species lack white outer tail feathers and the white eye-ring. Vesper Sparrows are often detected by their melodious song. Beginning with 2-4 clear, long notes and ending with a mix of varying trills, these beautiful singers will serenade your morning and night. In fact, that is how they got their name. Vesper means “evening.”
Left to right: Savannah Sparrow and Oregon Vesper Sparrow © Karl Schneck, Song Sparrow © Jim Livaudais.