Thursday, July 5, 2018

White-crowned Sparrow in Poway

White-crowned Sparrows are common roadside birds in the San Diego region. They arrive in fall and remain through mid-spring. They sing in migration, which peaks in early April.

Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow
Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow. Poway, California. April 8, 2018.
There are 5 types of White-crowned Sparrows in North America, each differing slightly in plumage details and song: Eastern and Mountain forms have black lores (feathers between eye and bill). The West coast forms--Puget Sound, Nuttall's, and Gambel's--have pale lores.

This Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow has a pinkish-orange bill and white-and-dark stripes on the back, brighter than the Nuttall's and Puget Sound White-crowneds.

In the San Diego region, Gambel's is the common form. Mountain and Puget Sound form are rare winter visitors. Nuttall's doesn't migrate much from the San Francisco region. If an Eastern form showed up, it would be quite hard to tell from the Mountain form.

Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow

While waiting along a fence line to get a photo of Lawrence's Goldfinch, this sparrow popped up about 6 feet from me as if saying: "Take my picture!" So I did.


  1. A colony of them moved into my backyard. They eat 3 lbs of bird seed a day and sing like crazy. They'll have great nutrition for their next migration stop

    1. That's a lot of seed! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.


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