[birding] White-crowned Sparrow update

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Fri Jul 31 11:14:43 PDT 2015

Hi all,

Fun to hear the reports of other birds that are on second or even third

About that WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW nest with a single nestling at
Luckiamute State Natural Area, this morning while working out there I
took another peek at the nest. It was empty but I didn't see any obvious
signs of nest predation -- just a very tidy, vacant nest.

About an hour later, while I was snipping the heads off Queen Anne's
Lace about 30 yards away from that nest, I saw a single
not-yet-able-to-fly fledgling, hopping along through a patch of
bunchgrass & California Poppies. It looked in just a bit farther along
in development compared with the nestling from a few days ago, with pin
feathers on the wings continuing to develop. It gave a "tseep" note just
like older White-crowned Sparrow fledglings in the area, and was
answered by an adult that perched in a nearby shrub.

So I think was likely the same nestling, which left the nest a little
early perhaps because the nest had become vulnerable and was too exposed
to the afternoon sun. 

Leaving the nest when able to hop, but not fly, is a common strategy of
ground-nesting grassland birds. I tend to think of White-crowned
Sparrows as mainly "shrub-nesting" birds, but about 1/3 of the nests at
this site have been right down on the ground. So I guess it makes sense
that they would use this strategy too.

Happy birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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