White-throated Sparrow Migrates To My Friend’s Feeder

by Larry on November 8, 2009

White-throated Sparrow photos by Larry Jordan

A few weeks ago, my friend Debby texted me that she had a White-throated Sparrow at her feeders.  This may not sound like much if you live East of the Rocky Mountains but White-throated Sparrows are not common in the central valley of California as you can see on this map courtesy of Cornell Lab.  Cornell Lab actually has a note below the map stating “Species is present only at very low densities in the western wintering range shown.”

So, of course I headed over to her house to see my first White-throated Sparrow, and what a beautiful specimen it was.  Debby had layed out plenty of food around her yard, making sure the sparrow would stick around for anyone wanting a look at the rare migrant.

This bird was travelling with a flock of White-crowned Sparrows it seemed.  There were several white-crowns, adults and juveniles feeding in the yard right outside her livingroom window!  How convenient for watching this beautiful newcomer.

There are two morphs of this species, a tan-striped and a white-striped morph.  The white-striped morph we were able to see here has a brighter yellow eyebrow stripe than the tan-striped morph.

The White-throated Sparrow differs from the White-crowned Sparrow by having a white throat and a bi-colored bill rather than a pinkish bill

White-crowned Sparrow

And the immature Golden-crowned Sparrow has yellow in its crown to set it apart, whereas this adult has the yellow central crown stripe bordered with bold black eye stripes.

Golden-crowned Sparrow

The afternoon spent watching birds through Debby’s livingroom window also included several other species attracted to her feeding station.  There were the ever present Western Scrub-Jays

and Mourning Doves

as well as White-breasted Nuthatches competing for her suet (she uses the same recipe as I do)

with a pair of Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpecker Female

Downy Woodpecker Male

and a pair of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers

Nuttall’s Woodpecker Male

Nuttall’s Woodpecker Female

Now that’s what I call an enjoyable afternoon birdwatching, all from the comfort of a friend’s livingroom window!  Thanks Debby!

Make sure you stop by to see the other great Bird Photography Weekly photos!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Fine November 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Awesome sighting…A beauty of a bird..I always look forward to seeing them when I visit my sister in North Carolina
.-= Dawn Fine´s last blog ..Matsutake Mania =-.

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Nicole November 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I’ve never seen one of these.
What a little Beauty!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Spur winged Plover Party =-.

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Mick November 8, 2009 at 11:00 pm

It’s always good to see a new species and even better to get such good photos. Very nice also to have all those birds so easy to see close to the house.
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Red-capped Plovers =-.

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Bob K November 9, 2009 at 1:37 am

That’s quite a collection there, Larry! The White-throated is definitely icing on the cake!
.-= Bob K´s last blog ..Face-off =-.

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Eileen November 9, 2009 at 1:38 am

Great photos of the sparrows. The White Throat Sparrow is a common yardbird for me in the winter. It is great you got to see it. I would love to see the Golden Crowned Sparrow. Wonderful photos.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Cedar Waxwings =-.

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MaineBirder November 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

Wonderful find Larry! The White-throated Sparrow are very common here in Maine. I am sure it was a treat to have this bird in your neck of the woods. Excellent photo series!

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Leslie November 9, 2009 at 8:55 am

Always exciting to see a new bird. Nice shot of the white-throat. Although they are a fairly common bird at my feeders they never seem to stand still long enough to get a really good picture.

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Heather November 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Congrats on your first White-throat! I always look forward to their arrival at our feeders in late fall (southeast Ohio). We seem to get both morphs here. Love all the other birds in this series, too, especially the Western Scrub Jay.
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Of air and water =-.

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Larry November 9, 2009 at 11:38 pm

@Dawn thanks, it was a real treat to see

@Nicole I had never seen one either!

@Mick of course you are right about seeing new species and yes, it was nice being able to photograph them right from the living room :-)

@Bob icing is right! I love those bright yellow eyebrow stripes

@Eileen thanks. The Golden-crowned Sparrow, as well as the White-crowned are common here but I still appreciate their beauty

@John thanks a bunch! A treat indeed!

@Leslie you’re right. They do seem to be in motion most of the time.

@Heather thank you very much. I would love to see the tan-striped morph. The Western Scrub-Jays are year round residents here. They are a beautiful bird.

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ramblingwoods November 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Birding from the house is mostly what I do especially in the winter here in WNY. But what a treat Larry. I am going to grab your suet recipe… Michelle

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Amber Coakley November 12, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Hi Larry,

Did you have the opportunity to listen to the birds? The reason I ask is because the White-throated Sparrow is one of the few bird calls that I know, and it is lovely. I spent last Saturday morning in my own back yard and heard a White-throated Sparrow before I saw one. I was so excited! I also saw my first Junco of the season.

It looks like you sure had a great day birding at your friend’s house. Glad you enjoyed your day. :-)
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..International Coastal Cleanup – Results and Commentary =-.

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NatureFotostep Fåglar/Birds November 15, 2009 at 1:37 am

a lot of beautiful birds and grat images you show me here. :)
Thank you.
.-= NatureFotostep Fåglar/Birds´s last blog ..Bildverkstan Tema 20 Tema med variationer – Mur =-.

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