Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zonotrichia Trifecta

Even though there hasn't been a single fall weather front move through yet, there has been a real upsurge in avian activity in our yard. The Townsend's Solitaires have been staking out their winter territories for a couple of weeks now, and we've had Red-breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees looking like settling in. This week brought the first Juncos, a male Spotted Towhee and an unseen Varied Thrush. White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) are here in numbers, but raising a mist net yesterday led to the discovery of one young each of the rarer congeners, Golden-crowned Sparrow (Z. atricapilla) and White-throated Sparrow (Z. albicollis). Golden-crowneds often pass through, staying for a week in the fall and another in the spring; it's only once every few years, however, that we hear or see a White-throated.*

Here's a photo of the young White-crowned Sparrow, the third member of our Zonotrichia trifecta...

*Well, actually, we hear one twice every day, as its song, "Poor old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody," is the ten-o'clock tone on the bird clock in our living room.

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