A project of

White-throated Sparrow

The State of White-throated Sparrows

Regionally: Steeply declining

White-throated Sparrow Study Area Abundance

The mean (thick, dark brown line) annual estimate of White-throated Sparrow abundance—calculated as the annual sum of estimated White-throated Sparrow within the local area (a 4-hectare circle) surrounding all 791 Mountain Birdwatch sampling stations. The lighter vertical bars represent the 95% Bayesian credible interval (a measure of the uncertainty around the abundance estimates).

White-throated Sparrow numbers have likely been declining throughout our region for at least the last half-century. Mountain Birdwatch data indicate a steep overall population decline (-4.95% per year, 95% credible interval = -5.66% to -4.21%) in the mountains of our region; this trend equates to a 45.62% decline (95% credible interval = 50.28% to 40.31%) between 2010 and 2022. These declines are prevalent throughout the region, but the steepest and most dramatic declines (-13.44% per year, 95% credible interval = -16.92% to -9.24%) were observed in the Catskills of New York (see table below). At those rates of decline, White-throated Sparrow could be absent as a breeding species in the Catskills by 2060.

Mean annual population trends and population change (with 95% Bayesian credible intervals [CRI]) for White-throated Sparrow from 2010 through 2022. A red dot indicates strong evidence for a negative trend.
RegionMean annual
trend (%)
95% CRI
Probability of
Probability of
change (%)
change (95% CRI)
All regions -4.95(-5.66, -4.21)>0.99<0.01-45.62(-50.28, -40.31)
New York
-5.54(-6.77, -4.31)>0.99<0.01-49.53(-56.86, -41.02)
New York
-13.44(-16.92, -9.24)>0.99<0.01-82.32(-89.19, -68.75)
New York
-5.07(-6.31, -3.81)>0.99<0.01-46.46(-54.27, -37.25)
Vermont -4.14(-5.30, -2.94)>0.99<0.01-39.76(-47.95, -30.13)
New Hampshire -5.91(-6.97, -4.87)>0.99<0.01-51.87(-57.98, -45.06)
Maine -4.38(-5.31, -3.36)>0.99<0.01-41.57(-48.07, -33.63)

Globally: Declining 

With a global population of ~140 million, the White-throated Sparrow remains an abundant species. However, USGS Breeding Bird Survey data estimate that this species’ population size has declined by 30% across North America over the last half century. The USGS Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a broad, long-term decline for White-throated Sparrows in the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada (where this species is most numerous), and a stable or increasing population trend for this species in the Western U.S. and Western Canada.

State of the Mountain Birds