The sparrow family of passerines is perhaps one of the most confusing of all the bird families.  With so many species featuring similar markings and overall colouring, it can often be difficult to decipher one from the other until you learn the markings that make them stand apart such as, white-throated sparrows from your white-crowned sparrows. American tree sparrows from your song sparrows and so on, That, in essence, is what we are here for!  In addition to helping our customers select the very best feeders and seed to go with them, we aim to be an endless resource when it comes to all species of birds.  Or at least the ones you will find here in the Ottawa area.

 

With that in mind, this month we will break down one of our favourite sparrows, the white-throated sparrow.  Keep reading below and learn how to effectively identify these birds, where you can find them and how to identify their calls and songs this time of year.

Where to Find the White Throated Sparrow

These migrating birds do not travel as far as some other species, calling much of the eastern United States home during the winter months.  Depending on climate, they can be found as far north as southern Ontario and as far south as Texas, California, and Florida.

During the breeding season, they return to the great white north in droves, covering much of our beautiful country except for a large portion of British Columbia.  These small songbirds love forest edges and regrowth following logging or fire activity and will happily become regular visitors to your backyard bird feeder.

Identification

As far as sparrows go, these are a large member of the family and like other sparrows, sport a prominent bill protruding from their stout, round heads.  Mostly brown on the top, these birds feature a grey underbelly and a black and white striped head with a yellow marking between their eyes and a white throat, as their name suggests.

white-throated-sparrow-on-the-ground

These birds do however go through different colour morphs, where colouring can appear less vibrant as others.

Vocals

Nothing is sweeter than old sweet Canada, at least according to the song of the white-throated sparrow.  Described by many to sound like “Sweet, Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada, this high-pitched, whistled song is hard to miss and for most, instantly recognizable.