Bird ID – White Crowned Sparrow

The White Crowned Sparrow is not a bird I see very often.  A small flock came to visit my ground feeding station this May.


Where usually found, the White Crowned Sparrows are seen foraging at the edges of brushy habitat, hopping along on the ground. This particular way of hopping was what drew my attention to them. They looked like a kid’s windup toy.  They’re also found in the safety of shrubs or trees, and I saw them retreat to the lowest branches. Not a smart thing as this is where the city cats hang out in wait.


Science learned of the physiology of bird migration observing this species, which I found really interesting. The subspecies of this bird have slightly different head patterning and song across varied regions. Plus, these birds have a large range and even occur in the Arctic where the sun does not set during their breeding season, so the birds sing all night.


Their range “breeds from Alaska and Manitoba east to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south in western mountains to northern New Mexico and central California. Winters north to southern Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland.” (source)


They really are a handsome sparrow. I also photographed an American Tree Sparrow, another cutie, but will save that for another Bird ID post.


These photos were taken with the Nikon P510 from a window inside the house. I packed up the big camera and lenses for my trip, and needed a camera fast to get these sneaky little birds before they hid. I was pretty happy with the little camera, similar to the photos of the hummingbirds in St. Lucia. It did a nice job.

Since you are seeing this auto-uploading post, it means my travels have taken me to a place without WiFi. Sorry if I cannot answer comments and visit for a few days, unless I get to a WiFi hotspot. So a few bird posts will upload automatically in my absence… hopefully. I always have trouble with the schedule portion of WP.

Stay tuned for some beautiful gardens that I visited on my trip when I return home. It is azalea, Rhododendron and peony time here in Pennsylvania, a real artist pallet of color. It has been a wet and cool spring leading into sunshine and warmth, making this a very blooming spring. The big estate gardens are absolutely gorgeous.

Also, see my new page, Bird Chirps. It is under construction but I am adding birds I photograph and identify. I have been seeing more and more birds not commonly seen in my garden plus I am listing birds I saw on my travels too.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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33 Responses to Bird ID – White Crowned Sparrow

  1. These are very attractive birds. You got some good shots even though you didn’t have your best equipment on hand.

  2. Christy says:

    Hi Donna…I hope you’re enjoying your trip! I really enjoyed this post. These little cuties visit TN in the winter. I usually see them beneath the sunflower seed feeders.

  3. Such good pictures!

  4. catmint says:

    never seen that sparrow before. It’s so cute, like a regular sparrow with a black and white striped hat. Do you keep your camera ready and set to a particular setting so you can photograph the birds quickly and so beautifully? In a similar situation I get so excited, by the time I have grabbed my camera and adjusted it, the birds have gone!

    • No I don’t have the camera at ready and set. I had to run and get the little camera and was lucky when I returned they were still there. I just have to wait until they feel comfortable to come out from under the bushes which gives me time to set the camera. In winter, I leave the big camera in the room, already set for a quick shutter. Birds are always at the feeder, and I just wait for something a little different. like the hawks.

  5. mazza18467 says:

    a very attractive sparrow, we have common house sparrows, tree sparrow is what we call a ring sparrow, dunnocks. and a grassparrow which is not a sparrow but a family of the pipets.
    I also had a look at your Bird chirps, quite a collection, even had to search the hummingbird.
    enjoyed it . thanks

  6. Donna, what a fun idea, and a great name for the new page! Margie

  7. Countryidyll says:

    Oh, what little beauties! We don’t have them in England. Well, I don’t think so. House and hedge sparrows, once plentiful are, sadly, in decline. -(

  8. We have LOTS of white crowned this year. Sadly, have not seen any white throated or indigo buntings.

  9. How tiring it would be to be bound to sing while the sun shines and for the sun to never set.

  10. janechese says:

    I have seen these here in Alberta the last couple of years. like their behaviours and nice to look at, too.

  11. Pat says:

    What an attractive little sparrow!

  12. A.M.B. says:

    Great pictures! I don’t see these sparrows often either. I hope you’re having a great time in Philly. It’s particularly nice here when the peonies are out. How was Longwood?

    • I am! The peonies are looking great and Longwood is tomorrow if it does not rain. I went to my cousin’s horse farm today and it rained all day. Her peonies are still in tight bud though.

  13. I adore this bird and how lucky they visited you. I love this new Bird page of yours…

  14. Love when your blog goes to the birds:)

  15. Fergiemoto says:

    Cute little sparrows.
    Hope you are enjoying your trip!

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