"The Sound of Fall"

White-crowned Sparrow

        I like to spend the morning hours working in my yard. Time flies by because I have some of the best music available to motivate me - Bird Songs. Huge trees are my CD players and birds are the performing artists. It's Indian Summer time, with the weather cooling, leaves turning color, and birds singing. Fall doesn’t merely come with the shortening of days or chill of the air. To me, fall arrives when I first hear the sound of White-crowned Sparrows. It’s like white-crowned sparrowclockwork; when it’s spring they leave for the north country; when it’s fall they return, and the White-crown has returned!

        The White-crowned Sparrow is one of the best-studied songbirds in North America. Because males learn the songs they grow up with and return to areas where they were raised, song dialects frequently form. And did you know that males residing on the edge of two dialects may be bilingual and able to sing both? Listen, and you may hear the White-crown song. "You - can’t - come and catch me," or "you - should - come and fly with me," (two White-crowned Sparrow songs - people language, of course). There are five recognized subspecies of White-crowns. Some are permanent residents and some are migratory that flies from California to the Arctic Circle. This winter, when seed drops from your feeder, watch to see how many White-crowned Sparrows are willing to clean it up. Enjoy this winter bird and I hope his song cheers you as it does me.

        Thank you Keith Davis for the picture of the White-crowned Sparrow. Keith is well acquainted with this beautiful bird specie and makes sure that in winter there is always food to welcome it to our yard. For more information about the White-crowned Sparrow, birds, or Red Cliff Audubon activities - call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996.


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