A project of

White-throated Sparrow

Old Sam Peabody

With a song familiar to anyone who has spent time in the north woods during summer, White-throated Sparrow is also a common winter visitor at birdfeeders from Florida to southern New England. Presenting in two distinct color forms, one with a tan-striped head and the other crowned in white and black, White-throated Sparrows have long fascinated evolutionary biologists and natural historians alike.

The State of White-throated Sparrows

Regionally: Stable

White-throated Sparrow numbers without the region have been stable since 2000.

Recent stability

White-throated Sparrow numbers in the study area have been steady since 2011. Faded bars estimate the uncertainty in the estimate of abundance.

Past stability

The average count of White-throated Sparrows was stable during the first 10 years of Mountain Birdwatch.

Globally: Decreasing

Data collected by the Breeding Bird Survey indicate a steady decline in the number of White-throated Sparrows.

White-throated Sparrow numbers have declined across Canada and the United States according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Points indicate annual estimate of relative abundance; higher numbers mean more White-throated Sparrows were counted in that year. Solid black lines above and below indicate the uncertainty around estimates of relative abundance. Figure provided by the United States Geological Survey.

Opportunities for Conservation

The causes of the long-term decline in White-throated Sparrow numbers is unclear. It may reflect decreases in the amount of early-successional habitat available as a result of changing land use and changing forest-management practices. White-throated Sparrows are also highly vulnerable to collisions with buildings during migration, appearing as one of the most frequently killed species in many eastern cities.

What We Can Do to Help

Creating bird-safe buildings by turning out unnecessary lights during migration and using bird-friendly window coverings may help reduce mortality from collisions. As a frequent winter visitor to backyard bird feeders, White-throated Sparrows are also vulnerable to predation by cats, and therefore keeping domestic cats indoors may help reduce winter mortality.

State of Mountain Birds