White-throated Sparrow - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image White-throated Sparrow - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image White-throated Sparrow - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image White-throated Sparrow - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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White-throated Sparrow
Zonotrichia albicollis

Sparrows, Grosbeaks and Buntings
Sparrows, Finches & Grosbeaks (Emberizidae)

Size: Length: 16.5-18.5 cm Wingspan: 22-25 cm

Description: Common in the foothills, but uncommon in the Rockies, the call is well known to anyone familiar with the wilderness. It is also one of the easiest sparrows to identify. It has a multicoloured head with a black eye-streak, white eyebrow line, black crown, and is topped off with a white median line. There is a small yellow-orange patch in front of the eye. The throat is white. The cheeks and breast are gray fading to white on the belly. The back is brown, striped with black, while the rump is plain brown. The wings have two white bands.

The white-crowned sparrow is similar, but lacks the distinctive white-throat and yellow patch in front of the eye. In the foothills and Rockies, they prefer open areas adjacent to balsam poplar-white spruce forests, and willow thickets.

They build their nest of grasses woven with twigs on the ground, hidden beneath a clump of grass or a small shrub. Occasionally the nest will be built low in a tree or shrub. Like the cry of the loon, the call of the white-throated sparrow is synonymous with Canadian wilderness. It is a series of melodic notes which sound surprisingly like: "Dear sweet Canada, Canada, Canada". They commonly overwinter in the mountain parks, lending their melodic call to the winter landscape.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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