Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) – Magee Marsh, Ohio: Over the spring and summer I have seen 23 lifer’s. Twenty-three birds I have never seen before. You would think, as common as Lincoln’s sparrows are, I would have seen the bird years ago. But, that’s the nature of birding. The Lincoln’s is the first of my 23 lifer’s this spring.
The Lincoln’s sparrow was named by John James Audubon to honor his friend, Thomas Lincoln of Dennysville, Maine. Lincoln took a specimen of his sparrow in 1834 while traveling with Audubon on his Nova Scotia expedition. Audubon originally named the bird “Tom’s Finch”, but the name was later changed to Lincoln’s Sparrow.
Lincoln’s are ground nesters. The female weave a cup of dried sedges and line the nest with soft vegetation. It nests in areas of wet thickets and shrubby bogs, under vegetation across Canada, Alaska and the northeaster and western United States.
They spend most of their time on or near the ground where they run, walk and hop as they search on food. During the nesting season they typically eat beetles, larvae and spiders. In winter seeds and invertebrates become their mainstay.
This Lincoln’s Sparrow was photographed in a wet shrubby bog from the boardwalk of Magee Marsh, Ohio; on its Northward migration. I was photographing a yellow-rumped warbler when this fellow came out of the lower vegetation and perched on a snag. It was Richard Crossley who brought the bird to my attention. Little did Richard know at the time, that the Lincoln’s was a lifer for me!