Other Animals

Listen to the Elaborate Song of the Brewer’s Sparrow

This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide. 


This is BirdNote.

Every spring, one of the most musical and complex bird songs on the continent rings forth from the sagebrush of the Columbia Basin in Washington State.

The Brewer’s Sparrow, a migratory songbird that winters mostly in western Mexico, returns in April to the sage. Sagebrush habitat, often called shrub-steppe, is a common landscape of the interior West. However, each year more and more of it is being cleared for irrigated crops and development.

The diminutive Brewer’s Sparrow shares its nesting habitat with other fancy singers like the long-winded Sage Thrasher and the melodic Vesper Sparrow. All three of these birds are sandy brown in color, blending so seamlessly with their surroundings that only a sharp eye can pick them out. Yet even among this accomplished company, the Brewer’s song stands apart. While most birds offer a melody, the Brewer’s Sparrow seems to perform an entire aria.

Find all our episodes and a lot more information about birds at our website BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann.



Written by Bob Sundstrom

Narrator: Mary McCann

Producer: John Kessler 

Managing Producer: Jason Saul

Editor: Ashley Ahearn

Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone

Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill.

Song of the Brewer’s Sparrow provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.© 2019 Tune In to Nature.org; June 2012/2019 

ID# 060705BRSP BRSP-01b

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