Today’s photograph is brought to you by the migrating white-crowned sparrow. This sparrow actually spends the winter months in the southern part of the United States (and Mexico) before heading back to the northern parts of the US and Canada.
The diet of these sparrows is mainly seeds, though they will eat insects as well. During the summer months is when they will eat insects and spiders (as that is what they feed the young). Though they will also feed on berries and small fruits as well during the spring, summer, and fall months. Winter is mainly feeding on seeds of weeds and grasses, though they will grace bird feeders as well during this time.
Depending on the part of the country that they are breeding in the birds may have one to three broods per year (more the further south they are). The female will sit on the eggs for about two weeks, and then once the young hatch both parents will feed the young. The young will usually leave the nest within a week to a week and a half after hatching.
Some other cool facts about the white-crowned sparrow include:
Young male sparrows learn the basis of the mating call during their first few months by listening to the songs being sung in their immediate area.
Migrating sparrows can cover a large distance in a short time period. Sparrows that breed in Alaska will then fly approximately 2600 miles south to winter in southern California.
They will share territories with fox sparrows but will chase out chipping sparrows and dark-eyed juncos.
The loud singing is usually the males, and the quieter and more variable singing is the females (which may only be during breeding season or looking for food in the winter).
These sparrows actually have song dialects, as they tend to return closely to the area that they were raised.