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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

White-throated Sparrow fun facts

It was so warm yesterday all the windows were open and I heard the call of a bird I only hear 2 times a year in mid-Michigan. In the spring I hear the song and know frost free days are ahead. In the fall when I hear them I know freezing days are just around the corner.

I'm now waking up to this song that sounds like a chickadee trying to sing under water. I haven't looked under the feeders yet but I'm sure I'll see the fist wave of White-throated sparrows.

They nest in upper Michigan and Canada. Fall migration begins in September, and we usually start to see them by mid-October (before the first permanent snowfall). They migrate in loose flocks, flying at night and foraging during the day. As with most species, fall migration is slower than spring migration, with longer stopovers. We can probably expect them to stay in our area for a few weeks

Some fun facts:
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Sparrows (Emberizidae)

• Individual White-throated Sparrows have either white stripes on their head or tan stripes. These distinct color forms are genetic in origin. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and each bird almost always mates with a bird whose stripe color is opposite from their own. They all have distinct white throat feathers.
•White-throated Sparrows are known to migrate at night and begin their flights around sunset. Some research studies suggest they use star patterns as one means of navigation.
•A group of sparrows has many collective nouns, including a "crew", "flutter", "quarrel", and "ubiquity" of sparrows.
•The White-throated and White-crowned sparrows only pass through mid-Michigan as they migrate north or south in the spring and fall.
•You may hear the birds before you see them. I always think White-throated sparrows have a song that sounds like a chickadee yodeling. Birders describe their song as "poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody"

Related Articles: 
What Bird is Singing Outside My Window: How to identify birds' songs http://bit.ly/qIoqqR 
Sparrows Native to mid-Michigan http://bit.ly/oy9XGz 
Which one of these birds is not like the others? http://bit.ly/qM1LQt 
What birds winter in Michigan? http://bit.ly/rqQgU2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This page helped me out when I was wondering what bird call I was hearing at 12:34 a.m. It turned out to be a migrating white -throated sparrow.