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
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.
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
and a pair of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers
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!