Meet the White-throated Sparrow, a bird who loves the North, but can be found almost all over the North American continent. Of whom Jenny Wren mentions, “he is one of the largest of the tribe (of Sparrows) and has such a lovely white throat. He really is handsome with his black and white cap and that bright yellow spot before each eye. I am told that he is very dearly loved up in the north where he makes his home. They say he sings all the time.” p. 13 The Burgess Bird Book (Living Books Press edition)
My son and I found it very interesting that White-throated Sparrows actually come in “two different color forms: white-crowned and tan-crowned. The two forms are genetically determined, and they persist because individuals almost always mate with a bird of the opposite morph. Males of both color types prefer females with white stripes, but both kinds of females prefer tan-striped males. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and white-striped females may be able to outcompete their tan-striped sisters for tan-striped males.” Source: (allaboutbirds.org)
Here is our gathering from the above source and our Burgess time:
Whitethroat: White-throated Sparrow
Size & Shape: The White-throated Sparrow is a large, full-bodied sparrow.
Color Pattern: White-throated Sparrows are brown above and gray below.
Behavior: Ground Forager
Something you didn’t know: The White-throated Sparrow comes in two color forms- the white-crowned and tan-crowned.
It’s exciting that these birds are often found around us in winter, and we hope to see some come to our bird feeder for some birdseed.
Their song sounds like “Oh-sweet-Canada-Canada” or “Old-Sam-Peabody-Peabody”. Check it out here: Lang Elliot’s video of Whitethroat’s call on Youtube
One of our Illinois birding guides also says it sounds like “Oh sweet Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly”.
If you and your family want to learn more about birds together, we highly recommend Thornton W. Burgess’ “The Burgess Bird Book“. To find our coloring and writing pages for the book, just check here:
Until next time, you’ll find us Around the Spinney bird watching! <3 Kate
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