Family: Buntings, American Sparrows and Relatives (Emberizidae)
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Did you know?
Clay-colored Sparrows have been known to breed with Chipping Sparrows.
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Clay-colored Sparrows have been expanding their range from eastern Canadian provinces into New York State. Breeding Bird Atlas data reports that the number of probable and confirmed blocks has increased from 23 in the mid-1980s to 49 from 2000 to 2005 (Andrle and Carroll 1988, McGowan and Corwin 2008). While the Clay-colored Sparrow population in New York appears to be increasing, breeding is rarely established at one location and populations may not be stable as suitable habitat converts to woodlands.
During the first Breeding Bird Atlas, Clay-colored Sparrows were reported in 23 blocks from 1980 to 1985 with 12 blocks recorded as probable or confirmed breeding (Andrle and Carroll 1988). This species was reported in 67 blocks during the second Breeding Bird Atlas (2000-2005) with 49 blocks reported as probable or confirmed breeding (McGowan and Corwin 2008). When comparing probable and confirmed breeding blocks from both atlases, it appears that the breeding population may have quadrupled. In addition, the range has expanded from 14 counties to 30 counties in New York between the two atlases. The increase is most likely due to the increasing conversion of cropland to shrubland in the state. Breeding Bird Survey data are too sparse in New York to determine trends (Sauer et al. 2007).
The first breeding record for Clay-colored Sparrow is from 1970 at Ithaca in Tompkins County. Since then, the population has been increasing in New York. While breeding rarely occurs at the same location on a regular basis, they are likely established breeders in many counties. Breeding Bird Survey Data was not abundant enough to determine trends (Sauer et al. 2007).