[Tweeters] ARIZONA QUESTION Re: [BIRDWG05] Mystery White-crown

taylorrt at comcast.net taylorrt at comcast.net
Wed Mar 22 19:53:50 PST 2006


Tweeterdom,

I picked up this message on the Arizona Listserv and thought a western Washington Zonotrichia expert might want to attempt an answer and reply to the e-mail.

Alan's e-mail address is at the start of his message.  Providing the Arizona Listserve address may serve no purpose because I believe you have to subscribed to have posting privileges.  But here it is:

BIRDWG05 at LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU

It is great list and for Diane MacRae's info, they just eported their first TV in the last week.  They must have an interesting migration route to be here and Oregon before Arizona!

Cheers and good birding,

Bob Taylor
Bonney Lake, WA
taylorrt at comcast.net

-------------- Original message -------------- 
From: Alan Miller <tyrannulet at EARTHLINK.NET> 

> Also on March 21st, I encountered a very peculiar looking first winter 
> White-crowned Sparrow in Escapule Wash. The bird was with a large number 
> of “normal” looking White-crowns yet somehow managed to keep apart. It was 
> so busy pecking at the ground that I got within ten feet or so and had a 
> good, unimpeded look. My first impression was that it was stubbier and 
> darker than the other White-crowns. What it had, in fact, was a much 
> shorter primary extension, and dark brown on the underparts. The mantle 
> was a “sooty” brown, as if it had been rolled around in the dirt. The tips 
> of the median coverts showed only a few white spots, while the tips of the 
> greater coverts showed a “shorter” and weaker pattern of white spots than 
> the White-crowns I’m accustomed to. As for the head – dark brown lateral 
> crown stripes, a sooty gray medium crown strip, yellow bill, and faint 
> malar stripe. To me, it looked pretty much like the photograph of Z.I. 
> nuttalli shown on page 225 of Beadle and Rising’s “Sparrows of the United 
> States and Canada”. It also looked like the portrait of “pacific” White- 
> crown on page 495 of Sibley, only less so, e.g., this bird had a fainter 
> malar stripe, was darker overall, and had less white on the wings. I’m not 
> used to looking for sub-species of White-crowned Sparrow, but this bird is 
> nagging at me. Would someone like to tell me how likely it is that I saw a 
> Z.I. nuttalli or Z.I. pugetensis? Please. 
> 
> Alan Miller 
> Sierra Vista 
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