A sparrow in four acts

Last month we camped at Cow Creek South Campground along the shores of Green Mountain Reservoir. Apparently, it’s wonderful habitat for White-crowned Sparrows but not so much other species (I don’t remember seeing anything else). We heard and saw these dapper sparrows an awful lot and I was positive their lovely songs/calls would be forever bonded in my memory. Alas, I couldn’t tell you now what they sound like. But I loved listening to them and had a wonderful time photographing them.

My first attempt didn’t yield a great photo:

July 9, 2021


My next attempt yielded better lighting, but this one seemed determined to hide its identity.

A moment later, I was rewarded with a lovely shot.

This may or may not be the same bird, but it clearly had had enough of the paparazzi and fled my camera range.


From All About Birds (text below + recordings from New Mexico):
The song of the White-crowned Sparrow Is one of the most-studied sounds in all of animal behavior. Different subspecies across the country sing clearly different songs, but they’re all recognizable by the sweet, whistling introduction, a succession of jumbled whistles, and a buzz or trill near the end. Songs last 2-3 seconds. Females sing only rarely.

White-crowned Sparrows have about 10 different calls. The most frequently heard include a sharp pink, lower-pitched than the White-throated Sparrow’s call. It’s usually made by males or as an alarm call near the nest. They also make a harsh, rasping call used by sparrows during altercations.

Ah yes, now I remember: pink, pink.
I might not recognize the songs and calls next time, but I’m pretty confident I can identify this sparrow when I see it again. 🙂


10 thoughts on “A sparrow in four acts

  1. I use the Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell University. It’s so easy to use. My 2 year old grandson can find the chickadee and start the call- and of course respond to it “Dee dee”. :). Thanks for a great post. Love the pics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you took the time to comment here because I’d forgotten about Merlin. My download several weeks ago was interrupted due to NO ROOM ON PHONE and now, because of your comment, I deleted stuff and am good to go. Thank you! (And hooray for your grandson’s “dee dee”!)


  2. So cute! I love All About Birds! I occasionally donate to the the Cornell lab of Ornithology because I appreciate all that they do. I love them even more because they don’t put you on any lists and spam your email with donation appeals. I think I get maybe one a year from them. I wish more organizations would be more respectful about not spamming our inboxes.

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