White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) have been so plentiful in the backyard.

White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are a common sight at bird feeders in Montgomery Township, New Jersey. These small, chunky sparrows have distinctive black and white stripes on their heads, a white throat, and a splash of yellow between their eyes and beaks. Their plumage includes warm brown tones on their wings and back, contrasting with a clean grey underbelly.

At bird feeders, White-throated Sparrows typically forage for seeds, particularly sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn but they also nibble on suet cakes and mealworms if available. These sparrows are known for their clear, whistling song that sounds like "Oh-sweet-Canada-Canada-Canada," making them a delightful addition to backyard birdwatching.

Their behaviour at feeders often involves hopping between perches, quickly grabbing seeds, and retreating to nearby cover to eat. They are social birds and may be seen in small flocks, especially during migration seasons. I plan on providing a variety of suet cakes and maintaining a clean feeding area to attract these charming sparrows to my backyard throughout the year.

Chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina)

They love my backyard.

My daily early morning visits to Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge mean I get less sleep and admittedly, I do feel tired. I'm up earlier so I can walk around the refuge while the birds are out foraging for food. Sometimes I come back empty-handed. When lunchtime comes around, I sit in the backyard with the camera nearby, hopeful that I will get a photograph.

This spring, Chipping Sparrows have been very active and vocal in the backyard, especially near the edges and clearings of the woods. Males sing a series of rapid, dry chips to establish territories and attract mates. They are frequently seen foraging on the ground or in low shrubs at the fence line, searching for seeds and insects.

The Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) is a small, slender bird with distinct colouration, especially noticeable in the spring. Adult Chipping Sparrows have a bright rusty-red cap, a striking black line through the eye, and a white eyebrow stripe. Their upper parts are streaked brown, while the underparts are a plain greyish-white.

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) in juniper tree
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) · 15 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

Watching bird behaviour can create a sense of hope. Observing birds in their natural habitats, engaging in activities such as feeding, nesting, and interacting with each other, remind# me of the resilience and continuity of nature. This connection to the natural world provides a sense of peace and well-being, offering a hopeful perspective on life's challenges. Bird behaviours often display resourcefulness and adaptability, inspiring a feeling of optimism and a reminder that life goes on despite difficulties.

Even at this size, the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) looks like a large raptor.

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) on the ground near grass and twigs
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) · 15 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR