April 6: Harris’s Sparrow is a species that breeds in northern Canada, and winters in a swath of the central United States from Texas to South Dakota, so it is most unusual when one shows up in New England. Unfortunately I managed to miss by one day the adult Harris’s Sparrow that was seen in November in Wilton, CT several years ago, and when Annie Perko discovered a first-year male Harris’s Sparrow adjacent to an old abandoned chicken farm in Lebanon, Connecticut in early January, 2012, I thought it would likely be gone by the time I got back up north from Florida, since I looked for Harris’s Sparrow in late March last year in Texas, but by that time they had all already migrated north. However, Annie and Mike have been putting out seed every day and logging the bird’s presence, and lo and behold, it is indeed still there. It did take three visits to the spot before finally seeing the bird, but persistence really does sometimes pay off.
Prior to this sighting, Harris’s was one of the only two remaining sparrows missing from this forum. The other one is Henslow’s, which is the purpose of the upcoming sojourn to southeastern Indiana next month.