About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, April 22, 2013

White-throated Sparrows announce spring officially for gardeners

Is it spring on March 20th when the calendar says its spring? Is it spring when you hear the robins singing for a mate? Is it spring when the blackbirds return to Michigan? For some, yes. For gardeners it’s spring when the White-throated Sparrow arrives in mid-Michigan.When they show up you know the earth is warming, frost free days are here and it's time to get out in the garden.

It snowed on Saturday and I think a lot of people were wondering if warm weather would ever arrive. Then Sunday morning I woke up to the song of the White-throated Sparrow. They have a high warble-like call that sounds like Oh-sweet-Canada-Canada or Old-Sam-Peabody-Peabody

I knew when I heard the white-throated singing that now it is spring! White-throated Sparrows only migrate through mid-Michigan in the spring and fall. You can look for them under the feeders from late April to late May and again sometime in September to November. They show up in mid-Michigan right after the last frost in the spring and right before the first snow in the fall. They breed all along the upper parts of Canada and winter along the southern United States.

White-throated Sparrows take off at dusk and fly all night when migrating. I just cleaned and filled all my feeders and assume they found my yard a suitable pit stop.

A White-throated Sparrow is a medium sized sparrow with brown streaked back, plain gray belly, striped head and a conspicuous white throat and yellow spots between eyes and bill. Male and female adults are similar and come in two variations: some have a white and black striped head and some have a tan and dark brown striped head.

Interestingly, white-striped forms of these sparrows are more aggressive than their tan-striped peers, particularly during breeding season. In nonbreeding months, the birds are more peace-loving and gather in large flocks.

Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/sL_YJC1SjHE

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1 comment:

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Even though I live in Massachusetts, your bird posts always seem to be timed to what is happening under my feeders! This lovely little guy showed up here last week. We had never seen one before and got out the bird books to find out who he is! What a beautiful bird! We also still have a rose-breasted nuthatch from Canada visiting out feeders. I would have thought that he would have left for home by now!