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Wildlife Spotlight: White-crowned Sparrow

​The white-crowned sparrow is a large sparrow identified by its range of brown and gray feathers with a distinct white and black striped feather pattern on the head. When it comes to their coloring, these birds can be identified by regional differences. For example, white-crowned sparrows that are found along the Pacific Coast tend to have yellow bills and more dull white head stripes, whereas white-crowned sparrows found in the northern United States can have orange or pink bills with slightly different head stripes.

White-crowned sparrows forage mainly on the ground and in low shrubs, occasionally making short flights to catch insects in the air. These birds mostly feed on seeds, insects and other vegetation including buds, flowers, berries, and small fruits.

Similar to other sparrows and towhees, white-crowned sparrows can be found hopping across the ground through low brush and seen “double-scratching” where they quickly hop backwards to turn over leaves and then pounce forward.

Across much of the United States, the white-crowned sparrow is a winter bird, but here on the Landmarks, we are lucky enough to have these birds as permanent residents. For more information about native wildlife on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.