[CT Birds] May sparrows

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Tue May 4 22:08:06 EDT 2010

The humble White-throats sure are attracting a lot of attention. It's normal for them to migrate though CT throught the first week in May, with some of them continuing later into the month. As noted by others, we also have a small breeding population, mainly (but not exclusively) at higher elevations in the northwest. If you've been having White-throats at your feeder for the past few weeks, it's likely quite a few different individuals have been involved.

Less well-known, and overlooked because of the flood of colorful migrants, is that May is the prime northbound migration time for both White-crowned and Lincoln's Sparrows. White-crowneds can be quite conspicuous now. They'll sometimes feed on lawns, eating things such as dandelion seeds. Lincoln's are much skulkier. As with most passerines, recognizing songs will unmask these stealth migrants. If you hear a White-throat that sounds like it's spent too much time at the local pub, look for a White-crowned. Lincoln's doesn't sing much on migartion, but it's well-worth learning and listening for the song.

If you want to prospect a little along the coast, try to find Nelson's Sparrows. Their spring migration timing through the state isn't well worked out, but they're thought to be late migrants (late May, maybe even early June). 

Greg Hanisek

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