“Nuttall’s” White-crowned Sparrow

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One California’s many Sparrow specialties are the non-migratory Nuttall’s White-crowned Sparrows. Inhabiting a narrow strip of coastal scrub (less than a mile in most places), the “Nuttall’s” White-crowned Sparrow differs in subtle ways from the similar winter-visiting “Puget Sound” and more obviously, the very smart “Gambell’s” White-crowned. More tannish and with lower contrast, this short-primaried bird never leaves our area and can be heard singing year round. It is the only Zonotrichia found in our area during the breeding season. In Point Reyes, no less than 5 distinct dialects of “Nuttall’s” White-crowned Sparrow songs have been identified, and my wife and I have heard four of them in one day.

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