Saturday, May 14, 2011

White-throated Sparrows: Late April Spring Migration through Northern Illinois

A White-throated Sparrow, Rockford, IL; 4/27/2011.
A year ago on April 24, 2010, I was pleasantly surprised to see an unfamiliar bird (of my young birding life)sitting on the front stoop of our house. I looked it up to find out it was a White-throated Sparrow (at the time it was #154 on my life list). It foraged around for about a half a day in my yard and I never saw it again.  I told Val that I hope it remembered where it obtained  food and rest during its Spring migration, and returns again next year. And sure enough, a year to the day, on 4/24/2011, a White-throated Sparrow appeared in our back yard and spent the entire day feeding on the ground below our feeders. I was wondering if was the same sparrow from a year ago.  The next day a couple more White-throats were in our yard, and a few days later we had a flock of about a dozen feeding dayly for a span of about two weeks. Not only did it return, but it brought its friends.

A White-throated Sparrow, Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, Rockford, IL; 4/25/2011.
 I have seen more White-throated Sparrows this spring than I ever have in my life. Not only have I have seen them in our yard, but also in Rock Cut State Park, and Blackhawk Springs and Espenscheid Forest Preserves (Above). But I think now they have finally moved north. I think the last time I heard one singing from our yard was back on May 6. I would think with the nice Spring weather finally arriving in the first week of May, the White-throats decided it's time to continue their migration to its summer homes in Canada, the northern shorelines of the Great Lakes and the Northeastern States. Supposedly they spend the winter in our area (as its most northern edge of its winter range), I have never seen them around until late April.

White-throated Sparrow, Rockford, IL; 4/27/2011.
White-throated Sparrow, Rockford, IL; 4/27/2011.
Along with the White-throated Sparrows, late April brought another wave of migratory birds through Northern Illinois. The new birds that either saw or heard in late April were Eastern Towhees, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Gray Catbirds, Brewers Blackbirds, Green Herons, Eared Grebes, Brown Thrashers, and Spotted Sandpipers. Of this group, only the White-throated Sparrows, Brewer's balckbirds, and Eared Grebes will be passing through. The other species will spend their summer in Northern Illinois.

1 comment:

~Val said...

I just love the dots of yellow on these little cuties.