I just returned from the Potholes and Prairie Bird Festival in North Dakota where I go to see some of my favorite songbirds like the above Baird's sparrow. There was one particular Baird's who did not get the memo on his life history. First, this bird had staked out territory on this tiny patch of grass next to a cultivated field, not desirably Baird's habitat. What's interesting is that where you find Baird's sparrow, you usually find Sprague's pipits and there were no Sprague's hanging out with this guy.
Second his song was just weird. Baird's sparrow should sound like this. I felt kind of bad, he had little chance of attracting the mate with inferior territory and an odd song. Last year, I got a great video of Biard's sparrow and you can hear what their song should sound like:
Below is a video of the odd Baird's sparro that we heard over the weekend (sorry about the sound, as you can see by the way the bird is whipped around, it was a tad windy on the prairie):
You can still hear the basic beautiful tone of the Baird's but the cadence is off. I'm not sure if he was hatched last year and hasn't honed his song or if he is just an odd little misfit trying to break new ground on strange territory.