My sparrow fest

So it seems like ever other bird blogger has gotten out to digiscope the sparrow migration and today was finally my day. I got some OK pictures but there always seemed to be something obstructing part of my subject.

Lincoln’s Sparrow

I managed to come across several Lincoln’s Sparrows and one cooperatively perched about 30 ft away long enough to snap a few photos. These delicate sparrows are one of my favorite. According to some, Lincoln’s Sparrows affinity for dense shrubby areas, secretive nature and boreal breeding habitat make it one of the most elusive of N. American birds.

White-crowned Sparrow- adult

White-crowned Sparrows made a major push into the area following the cold front that just passed. Both striking adults and buffy juveniles were pretty common and generally easy to digiscope.

White-crowned Sparrow- juvenile

White-throated Sparrow- tan-stripe morph

According to Birds of N. America Online, there are two different color morphs of White-throated Sparrows during the breeding season. Tan-striped birds like the one above generally provide more parental care while white-striped birds, pictured below, are more aggressive, territorial and likely to mate more than once (extra-pair copulations). The interesting thing is that each morph nearly always mates with its opposite. Tan-striped males tend to mate with white-striped females and white-striped males look for tan-striped females to mate with.

White-throated Sparrow- white-stripe morph

Ammon, Elisabeth M.. 1995 . Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

Falls, J. B., and J. G. Kopachena. 1994 . White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:


2 Responses

  1. I don’t have much luck finding Lincoln’s Sparrows around here but we’ve had lots of White-crowned this year.-Maybe it’s not as much that the Lincoln’s are rare but take cover before I find them.-Nice photos too!

  2. I just now saw your sparrow shots. They’re great! It’s so strange, how difficult it can be to see these birds regularly, but when there are truckloads around and you’re patient, you can get great views (and photo ops). Good work!


    David (

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