Swamp Sparrow

Range Map
Melospiza georgiana

The Swamp Sparrow may be one of the most appropriately named of any species. Their chosen breeding grounds are freshwater or brackish marshes, damp meadows and bogs, and sedge swamps. They breed in most of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains and in the northeastern USA. In the region bordering the southern Great Lakes and southern New England, they are found year-round. During the non-breeding season, they range throughout southeastern USA and northern Mexico.

Taxonomists recognise three subspecies of Swamp Sparrow. 

  • M. g. georgiana breeds eastern South Dakota through Minnesota and the eastern Canadian provinces to Nova Scotia and Nebraska east through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
  • M. g. ericrypta breeds from Mackenzie through the Northwest Territories, east to Newfoundland, and south to British Columbia and east through central Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Minnesota, and central Ontario.
  • M. g. nigrescens along the mid-Atlantic Coast from Maryland north to the Hudson River. 

The first Swamp Sparrow I met was a wayward bird in San Diego near Mission Bay in early April 2014. I did not meet them again until my 2022 tour of Canada when I stopped to explore a wetland reserve in Hinton Alberta. It was late May, and I enjoyed their territorial behaviors and displays.

Click map markers to reveal further information