A project of

White-throated Sparrow

The State of White-throated Sparrows

Regionally: Declining

A plot of White-throated Sparrow study area abundance. The x axis show years between 2010 and 2021. The y axis shows local population size. Local population size has been steadily decreasing from approximately 1400 individuals in 2010 to 700 in 2021.

The mean (thick, dark red line) annual estimate of the White-throated Sparrow abundance within the immediate areas surrounding ~750 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 (-5.96% per year, 95% credible interval = -6.76% to -5.17%) in the mountains of our region; this trend equates to a 49.07% decline (95% credible interval = 53.67% to 44.20%) between 2010 and 2021. These declines are prevalent throughout the region, but the steepest declines (-14.32% per year, 95% credible interval = -18.00% to -9.73%) were observed in the Catskills of New York (see table below).

Mean annual population trends and population change (with 95% Bayesian credible intervals [CRI]) for White-throated Sparrow from 2010 through 2021. 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 -5.96(-6.76, -5.17)>0.99<0.01-49.07(-53.67, -44.20)
New York
-7.63(-8.99, -6.23)>0.99<0.01-58.07(-64.52, -50.71)
New York
-14.32(-18.00, -9.73)>0.99<0.01-81.04(-88.73, -67.57)
New York
-7.21(-8.59, -5.81)>0.99<0.01-55.97(-62.77, -48.21)
Vermont -6.01(-7.26, -4.72)>0.99<0.01-49.29(-56.34, -41.28)
New Hampshire -5.63(-6.78, -4.48)>0.99<0.01-47.05(-53.79, -39.63)
Maine -5.16(-6.14, -4.15)>0.99<0.01-44.10(-50.21, -37.27)

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