Thursday, October 15, 2015

White-throated Sparrow

Migrating Sparrows

 White-throated Sparrow
 Last week we had a flock of  20+ White-throated Sparrows around our property.  That is a common occurrence during migration.  Sparrows usually gather into flocks to migrate.  This flock was probably from further north and was feeding and resting on our area.

Pictured above is the White-throated Sparrow in its  non-breeding plumage.  It has lost a bit of its brilliance but is still striking.  Note the conspicuously-outlined white throat, dark bill and crown stripes.  It has a broad yellow to white eyebrow and rusty upperparts.  The underparts are grayish and either clear or slightly streaked as seen above.  Both the male and female are similarly marked.

White-throated Sparrow
The photo above shows the breeding plumage.  Notice the brilliant yellow patch on the anterior aspect of the eyebrow stripe.  Also note the bright throat patch.  

The White-throated Sparrow is a woodland sparrow.  It prefers mixed woods and woodland edges where it feeds on seeds and insects.  It breeds here in our province as well as most of Canada north to but not including the Arctic.  It winters in the southeastern United States.  This sparrow is famous for its song.  We have all heard the 'Old Tom Peabody Peabody Peabody' of the northern forest.  It makes us feel right at home.  A more popular interpretation of the song is 'Pure Sweet Canada Canada Canada'.  I think we can claim this species as ours since it breeds almost exclusively in Canada so the latter interpretation of its song is more appropriate.

Watch for this sparrow feeding on the ground under your feeder where it scratches to find seeds dropped from above.

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