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They may often be overlooked or called something else, but our Native Sparrows have behaviors all their own.
• White-crowned Sparrows are likely to return to the same areas each year.
• Male White-crowned Sparrows can actually be bilingual, learning and using distinct song dialects from their home territory and a bordering one.
• White-crowned Sparrows have been known to migrate over 2,600 miles from Alaska to California. While migrating north in the spring, their average travel distance is about 70 miles per day.
• During the winter, a White-crowned Sparrow's body contains about 3 grams of fat of which ½ is used up at night and must be replaced everyday.
• The American Tree Sparrow's name is somewhat misleading due to the fact that the breeding grounds for most of these birds are found in the treeless tundra habitats of the far north. Early settlers, seeing the birds on their southern wintering grounds, named them for their similar appearance to the Eurasian Tree Sparrows they left behind in Europe.
• When the ground is snow covered, American Tree Sparrows have been observed to fly around a weed plant, using their wings to dislodge its seeds onto the snow below for easy retrieval.
• American Tree Sparrows migrate in flocks at night.
• Individual White-throated Sparrows have either white stripes on their head or tan stripes. These distinct color forms are genetic in origin. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and each bird almost always mates with a bird whose stripe color is opposite from their own.
• White-throated Sparrows with white striped heads are known to sing and contribute to the defense of their breeding. Tan striped females do not exhibit the same behavior.
• Watch for White-throated Sparrows feeding on the ground while flipping aside leaves with their bill or by scratching away the leaf litter with a series of quick kicks with their feet.
• Song Sparrows are found in every state of the Union and Canadian province. They are the most common and widespread sparrow native to North America.
• There are 31 recognized subspecies of the Song Sparrow, more than any other bird species found in North America.
• The Song Sparrow in different parts of the country can look amazingly different. Some are lightly marked and pale while others are dark and heavily streaked.
• In the northern part of their range, Song Sparrows are partially or completely migratory depending on snow cover and winter temperatures. This is due to their ground feeding habits and their almost total dependence on weed seeds for food in the winter.
• Adult male Song Sparrows perform about six to twenty different melodies; each one is a slight variation on the basic Song Sparrow song.
• Some Song Sparrow songs may be very short, consisting of only four notes and lasting less than two seconds, while others may consist of 20 or more notes, lasting over five seconds.
• Female Song Sparrows are attracted to males that learn and sing a larger repertoire of songs. These males are much more successful in holding their territories and reproducing.
• During the dawn twilight on a spring morning, male Song Sparrows will sing a song every eight seconds and may average over 2,300 songs during an entire
• Song Sparrows prefer to forage on the ground and readily visit backyard feeders where seeds, especially millet, are offered.• Song Sparrows are very aggressive around feeders and can even dominate larger sparrows and other birds. They have been known to challenge and drive away as many as five House