Saturday, November 10, 2012

White-throated Sparrow


                    If you are a person for whom every bird looks like a sparrow, this is a sparrow.

The White-throated Sparrow is a common bird throughout the United States and Canada. Sadly, when they are grouped with almost three-dozen other sparrow species, you’re not likely to recognize them as different.  But to dismiss them as LBB’s (little brown birds) for their lack of distinction is a disservice.  You only need to view them up close to notice they’re uniqueness.

Obviously named for his throat, the bright yellow spot above each eye is a big help in identifying them, too. They are not hard to spot among all the other sparrows.  You only need to pay attention to the details to find one in Wisconsin. They sing a crisp, clear song all year long similar to Oh, Sweet Canada, Canada. Males and females look similar.

Often foraging at eye-level or below, the White-throated Sparrow will come to your platform feeder.  Living on tree buds in the spring and fall and on insects and invertebrates in summer, when feeding their young, they’re highly active.

White-throated Sparrows hop rather than walk.  Scratching in the leaf litter, they pounce on whatever they uncover.

Sparrows can be difficult to ID.  The differences between species are subtle.  But, the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you are looking at is huge. It’s no longer ‘just a sparrow’.