White-throated Sparrow
Zonotrichia albicollis
Family: Fringillidae



White-throated Sparrow
Cornus florida
The White-throated Sparrow has a conspicuous white throat. Upper part of the head is black with a narrow white stripe from the forehead to the upper part of the neck. A broader white stripe, anteriorly passing into bright orange, over each eye, margined by a narrow black stripe extending from the eye down the neck. Upper part of the back narrow white stripe from the forehead to the upper part of the neck. Upper part of the back is bright bay, variegated with black, lower back and tail brownish-grey. Sides and fore-part of neck and breast are bluish-grey with the rest of the underparts greyish-white. Tail dusky brown.

In the female, the colors are similarly arranged, but much duller, the bright bay of the male being chanced into reddish-brown, the black into dark brown, and the white into greyish-white. The white streak above the eye is narrower, shorter, and anteriorly less yellow, the greyish-blue of the breast paler, and the white spot on the throat less defined.

The White-throated Sparrow measures anywhere from 6-7" in length with a wingspan of 9-10".

These birds can be found on the edges of fields bordering on creeks or swampy places, and overgrown with different species of vines, sumach bushes, briars, and tall grasses. They form groups, sometimes containing from 30-50, and live together in harmony. They are constantly moving up and down among these recesses, with frequent jerkings of the tail, and uttering a note common to the tribe. From the hedges and thickets they issue one by one in quick succession, and ramble to the distance of 8-10 yards, hopping and scratching, in quest of small seeds, and preserving the utmost silence. During the warmer days, they remove partially to the woods, but never out of reach of their favourite briar thickets, ascend the tops of hollies, or such other trees as are covered with tangled vines, and pick either a berry or a winter grape. Their principal enemies in the day-time, are the little Sparrow Hawk (American Kestrel), the Slate-coloured or Sharp-shinned Hawk, and above all, the Marsh Hawk.


Song:

The song of the White-throated Sparrow is a clear whistle of 1 or 2 notes followed by 3 quavering notes on a different pitch. The notes are a slurred tseet and a harsh chink. At the approach of night, they utter a sharper and shriller note, consisting of a single twit, repeated in smart succession by the whole group, and continuing until the first hooting of some owl frightens them into silence.


Range:

Canada to Northeast US. Winters to South US.


Courtship/Nesting/Eggs:

The nest is built by the female in wet thickets, usually concealed, and consists of grasses, twigs, and pine needles and is lined with deer's-hair, grasses and a few feathers. During the months of May-August, as many as 4-6 very pale mountain-green or cream eggs, thickly marbled with reddish-browns are laid. Incubation is done by the female only and hatch 12-14 days. The first young leaves the nest anywhere from 7-12 days after hatching and fly anywhere from 2-4 days after leaving the nest.


Natural Feeding Habits:

This birds diet is mostly seeds of weeds, fruits of dogwoods, elder and cedar, buds of apple, maple and oak trees. They will also insects such as ants, flies and beetles. Sometimes they will arrive at a feeding station which contains mixed bird seed. They normally scratch around in leaves looking for seeds and insects.


Other Names:

Other names for the White-throated Sparrow is Canadian Sparrow or White-throat.

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