[CT Birds] pale-lored White-crowned Sparrow, Seaside

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 15 21:08:00 EST 2016

The White-crowned Sparrows that normally occur in CT have dark lores (the area between the eye and the bill). A bird present now at the west end of Seaside Park in Bridgeport has pale lores, which suggests it belongs to one of three western subspecies. Two of these whose ranges are primarily on the West Coast would seem to be the least likely to occur in the East. The third, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, ranges farther east in the far north and is usually the subspecies mentioned when pale-lored birds appear in the Northeast. As is often the case with subspecies, the situation is far from simple and applying hard IDs to individuals can be open to question. That's why terms like gambelii-type are often used. David Sibley has a very thought-provoking entry in his blog on White-crowned subspecies and the possibility of intergrades between dark- and pale-lored birds in more easterly areas such as Quebec. http://www.sibleyguides.com/2010/11/white-crowned-sparrow-subspecies-where/
I've entered the Seaside bird as Gambel's provisionally in eBird, to indicate that it's not a typical eastern White-crowned, but it has not been validated. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27543042 I've sent a couple of photos around for comment and also included them in eBird. I love these kinds of birds because they run counter to a question that often gets in the way of good birding habits - "Can I count it?"
Greg HanisekWaterbury

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