[Tweeters] White-crowned Sparrow races

Jessie Barry jhbirds384 at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 14 23:29:36 PST 2005

Message from Cameron Cox:


In the absence of Steve Mlodinow, who is sunning himself in Aruba under the
auspices of a medical conference, I will try to address the White-crowned
Sparrow issue.

>From my experience in the Puget Sound area (mainly King, Snohomish, and

Skagit counties), over the past two winters, pugetensis has a clear
advantage over gambellii. Some days it seems that pugetensis completely
dominants while the reverse is seldom true. Other days it’s more of a 50-50
split, sometimes in the exact areas where nothing but pugetensis was present
a few days before. It is also not uncommon to find a flock consisting
mainly of pugetensis, drive down the road and find a flock were gambellii
dominates, while other flocks are completely mixed. Overall in this region,
I would say that it’s somewhere between 70-30% to 60-40% in favor of
pugetensis with gambellii perhaps being a little more prevalent farther
north. Steve Mlodinow and Charlie Wright have both told me that this has
not always been the case, and that gambellii was formerly more common.

In eastern Oklahoma, where I formerly lived, at about this time of year
gambellii started to show up while during the winter almost all
White-crowned Sparrows where of the nominate leucophrys races. I wonder how
the change in ratios occurs here? How late do the gambellii’s linger and is
there a spike in the numbers of gambellii this time of year representing
spring migrants?

Cameron Cox
cameron_cox at hotmail.com
Seattle, WA

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