An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

White-throated Sparrows Migrating


White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) numbers are building in northern New England as they head towards the mid-October peak of their migration south.  Even though they are no longer constantly singing their “Poor Sam Peabody-Peabody-Peabody” song, which allows quick  identification, White-throated Sparrows’ white throats, striped crowns and yellow lores (the area between the eye and the bill) make them one of the easier sparrows to identify.  Don’t be surprised if you see this bird with a tan, and not white, crown.  There are two color forms, white-crowned and tan-crowned.  Interestingly, an individual bird almost always mates with a bird of the opposite color form. Males of both color types prefer females with white stripes, but both kinds of females prefer tan-striped males.


6 responses

  1. Kay Shumway

    Please explain how you know who they mate with?

    September 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    • Cornell — they know everything you would possibly want to know about birds — plus Birds of North America Online! Apparently the research was done in Manomet.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm

  2. Meade Cadot

    Hi Mary,

    As I recall, the male and female color preferences in mates was discovered via color banding not too far from here at Manomet. Have I got that right?




    September 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • Hi Meade,
      You’re far more informed about this than I. That’s so interesting that the research was done at Manomet!

      September 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

  3. Susan in NH

    Now that you mention it, I know I have seen both color stripes here. Fascinating!

    September 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

  4. Tina Wilson

    Agh…not going to hear Peabody Peabody anymore.

    Sent from my iPod.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s