Bird Spotlight: White Throated Sparrows

White throated sparrow on roof

Bird Spotlight: White-throated Sparrow

By Laura Cook, BIRD (Bird Information, Research and Data) Coordinator

January 2021

Here in Tennessee, this beautiful winter sparrow may be most recognizable by its sweet song. Do you hear the White-throated Sparrow sing Old Sam Peabody or Oh Sweet Canada?

Naturalist Note: Unlike some sparrows, the White-throated Sparrow’s name can help you easily identify it by its bold white throat. These long-tailed sparrows have another interesting characteristic – they have either a white or tan/gray median crown stripe just above and back from their eye. 

White throated sparrow in researcher's hands
BIRD Researcher holding a white throated sparrow.

Each fall, White-throated Sparrows migrate from their breeding grounds in northeastern US & Canada to warmer southern states such as Tennessee. At the Warner Parks Banding Station, we have banded White-throated Sparrows as early as September 30th and continue to band them through the winter and spring as late as May 23rd. There is a lot of variation year to year in their * FOS arrival and departure time as they head back to their breeding grounds.

Over the next few months, see if you can determine 1) when the White-throated Sparrows are in your yard and 2) when they’ve decided to make their way back north! 

* FOS, first of the season. 

The BIRD Program is funded by Friends of Warner Parks, in collaboration with Warner Park Nature Center and Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation. This year, thanks to dedicated volunteers, staff, and partners the BIRD Program marks the 40th year of the WPNC Bird Banding Station!  

Please support our legacy bird research and public engagement and education programs by making a donation, becoming a member, and volunteering with Warner Parks. #ProtectTheBirds #ProtectWarnerParks.

Be sure to check out the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds online library – including bird songs, basic facts, and more!

Stay in Touch With Your Friends