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October 29, 2011 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: White-throated Sparrow

For the past week I’ve been seeing White-throated Sparrows in my backyard and in the nature parks where I go for walks. This is a sure sign of the changing seasons as I only see these birds in spring and autumn with an occasional winter visitor. They are a short distance migrant leaving their breeding grounds in Canada as they move south into the eastern and southern US and California for the winter.

I saw this bird last weekend while walking on a trail. He or she (males and females look alike) was singing and flying between the branches but was nice enough to pause for a moment.

The White-throat is a full-bodied, pretty sparrow with long legs and a long narrow tail. They have distinctive facial markings in the white crown, black eyestripe, yellow markings above the eye (called lores) and of course, the white patch on the throat.

The bird in the photo to the right was in my backyard under the feeders scratching the ground for dropped seeds. (Click to enlarge and you will see he has a sunflower seed in his mouth.)

They also like to forage in leaf litter and wood chips kicking back and forth. They readily come to feeders and often can be found mixed in a flock of other sparrows.

I link up my bird photos on Saturday Snapshot hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.



Leave a Comment
  1. dyane / Oct 29 2011 3:12 am

    so many different kinds of sparrows……nice shot


  2. Louise / Oct 29 2011 3:45 am

    I think I’ve only ever seen the common house sparrows here in Australia. Lovely to meet this little one.


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:44 pm

      Although the House Sparrow is native to Europe I think they can now be found in most parts of the world. They are truly scrappy little birds and adapt easily.


  3. Jayme@Beachreader / Oct 29 2011 5:48 am

    I think I’ve seen a cousin of this little guy in my neighborhood. Nice photo.


  4. Trish / Oct 29 2011 5:58 am

    He/she is very camouflaged up in that tree. What a pretty little thing.


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:46 pm

      When they are scratching around in the wood chips they blend in so nicely they almost disappear. Except I can still see the debris being kicked about.


  5. Mary / Oct 29 2011 6:28 am

    I was going to comment about the camouflage – like Trish – very helpful, I’m sure 🙂


  6. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Oct 29 2011 6:33 am

    The other day I went to pick up a pizza, and in the berry trees there had to be at least 100 sparrows. It was the loud chirping that caught my attention.

    Gorgeous photos Leslie. Can’t wait to see your winter birds this year 🙂


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:48 pm

      Those had to be House Sparrows. They are very noisy and chirp instead of singing.


  7. Christine Rains / Oct 29 2011 6:39 am

    Awesome photos!


  8. Kay / Oct 29 2011 7:00 am

    What pretty birds! I like the little yellow bits on the head.


  9. laurelrainsnow / Oct 29 2011 7:40 am

    That first shot is so great, with the sharp foreground against the softer background. Awesome! The bird is gorgeous, too. Thanks for sharing.



  10. BermudaOnion / Oct 29 2011 8:10 am

    What a gorgeous photo! The colors of the bird are echoed in the background.


  11. Marie / Oct 29 2011 8:37 am

    Great shot. Definitely one of my favourite birds. Its “Oh Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” (or Poor Sam Peabody, Peadbody, Peabody) song stops me in my tracks everytime. I love it! We haven’t seen one this fall yet even though we’ve seen other migrating birds. There’s still time. 😉


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:50 pm

      They have a lovely song and will sing in the winter too, which is nice because so many of the birds fall silent when it’s cold. I think this is one of the prettier sparrows along with the White-Crowned Sparrow. There’s still time for you see one!


  12. TheBookGirl / Oct 29 2011 9:18 am

    I love the striped markings on his head…it looks like he’s wearing a very distinctive hat 🙂


  13. Lisa / Oct 29 2011 10:09 am

    Great shot – I always enjoy your bird photos (even if birds generally all look alike to me).

    My Saturday Snapshot


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:51 pm

      Until I started going on bird walks with experienced birders I had a difficult time telling one sparrow from another. Now it’s much easier! And I have a very good guide book.


  14. smellincoffee / Oct 29 2011 10:14 am

    That seed looks so big in the mouth of that little bird!


  15. Alyce / Oct 29 2011 11:39 am

    They’re so pretty! All I’ve been seeing recently around here are flocks of geese flying south for the winter.


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 12:52 pm

      Geese. Yes. I went for a walk yesterday to hopefully get some photos of migrant birds and all I found were flocks of noisy geese. And had to be careful where I walked!


  16. Bev@My Reader's Block / Oct 29 2011 11:47 am

    Love that first photo! Looks just like a postcard shot.

    Here’s mine:


  17. Patti Smith / Oct 29 2011 1:32 pm

    The bird in the top photo is so lovely…I love his/her little yellow tuft around his/her beak 🙂 I also love the tree branches in the background bc it is obviously a fall picture…no leaves 🙂


  18. Amy / Oct 29 2011 4:14 pm

    He’s adorable…I love all the markings and details. The black stripes on the bird’s head look painted on! And I love what looks like a small row of polka-dots at the top of his wing! This is a very pretty bird.
    Your photos are breath-taking!


  19. Elena / Oct 29 2011 4:39 pm

    I love those two bird photos. They’re something I’ve tried to do in the past with only minimal success.


  20. Suko / Oct 29 2011 6:16 pm

    Very pretty photos! You have a great eye for capturing the beauty of birds.


  21. Lisa@ButteryBooks / Oct 29 2011 8:34 pm

    In the first photo, I love how clear the bird is with all of the background blurry…cool photo!


  22. Harry Nicholson / Nov 12 2011 4:39 pm

    The migrants are also sweeping across Britain. A great swirl of fieldfares passed overhead in the dusk – looking for a roost, perhaps. It is still mild in Scandinavia and so some species have yet to feel the need cross the North Sea. If the wind moves into the north they will be here in a rush. The oil platforms are often covered in birds taking a rest.



  1. Weekend Birding: World Sparrow Day « Under My Apple Tree
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