Remember Flower Power – a slogan used as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violent ideology in the 1960s? The Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) is a big believer— flowers are very nearly all it eats! Studies have found that plant material makes up 95% to 97% of this songbird’s natural diet, with flowers comprising up to 50% of this. This large sparrow of the north country nests exclusively in Alaska and western Canada, on the ground in habitats above the treeline. It is found in western California, Oregon, and Washington only during the winter, spring, and fall seasons. The Golden-crowned Sparrow is a common feeder bird, though preferring to forage on the ground, often flocking with other sparrows. Dark-streaked brown upperparts, light-brownish underparts, a long tail, and a distinctive yellow (golden) crown distinguish it from others in the lowland brush or field edges it frequents. The yellow crown is bordered with dark stripes and is most bright in mature individuals. The scientific genus name Zonotrichia is Greek for “bird with bands,” an allusion to the crown stripes – from zone for band (or stripe), and trichias for small bird. The species name atricapilla is Latin for “black hairs”, coined from ater or atri for black and capillus for hair, referring to the black bordered crown. Although there is some evidence of this species increasing in number, there is concern that not enough is known, and that monitoring is insufficient in its northern range—an important challenge for researchers and land managers. The data that KBO collects from Golden-crowned Sparrows captured in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion during the migration and winter seasons contribute greatly to our understanding of this species’ conservation status in North America. Sources: Marshall et al., eds. 2003. Birds of Oregon: A general reference. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon; Gruson 1972. Words for birds: A lexicon of North American birds with biographical notes. Quadrangle Books, Inc., New York, New York; Martin et al. 1951. American wildlife and plants: A guide to wildlife food habits. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, New York; Rich et al. 2004. Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. This article appears in KBO’s Spring 2011 Newsletter.
My Outdoor Buddy’s website.
Press Release. March 29th, 2011. “Homing in on Herons: Biologists will survey Great Blue Heron rookery sites in Southern Oregon and statewide to see how the species is doing.” Medford Mail Tribune. April 4th, 2011.
To read the full article in the John Deere magazine Homestead and to learn more about what you can do to help improve your yard for bird habitat click here.
press release, or one of these articles in The Oregonian, Medford Mail Tribune, orAshland Chamber of Commerce website.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s executive director John Alexander has recently been awarded for his years of effort in conservation through international partnerships. The U.S forest service awarded him the Wings Across the Americas award, recognizing the partnership between KBO, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad in Costa Rica and Dr. C.J Ralph of the U.S Forest Service in Arcata, CA. Through their efforts many Latin American biologists have been brought to the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion for an extensive six month bird banding training. The trained biologists are then able to use these skills back home to help expand the network of scientists throughout the Americas. Data collected through this partnership will help computer modeling tools show projections of how birds will likely react to changes in climate, the environment and land use in the future. The goal is for these tools to help public land agencies make decisions about land use practices. Many of the species seen here in the spring and summer are migratory, therefore conserving habitat in Latin America not only benefits the endemic birds found there, but also the migrants we commonly see here. To read the full article and learn more about what Klamath Bird Observatory and its partners are doing, click here.
article on the Medford Examiner’s website.