The most distinctive feature of this relatively large sparrow, as reflected in its name, is the striped crown. Its grey head is crowned with conspicuous black and white stripes. The white-crowned sparrow lacks the yellow spot near each eye and the white throat of the white-throated sparrow, a close relative. This bird is approximately 17 - 19 cm in size.
Loud scuffling in the bushes often signals the presence of this spirited bird. Using both of its rather large feet, it vigorously scratches among the leaf litter in search of food.
(Please note — these photos are unverified images submitted by members of the CWF Photo Club.)
Habitat: While many sparrows travel in mixed flocks, the white-crowned is more of a loner, preferring to travel individually or in small groups with others of its kind. It frequents clearings, meadows, forest edges, parks, and gardens that provide shrub cover.
Diet: White-crowned Sparrows eat mainly seeds of weeds and grasses and grains including oats, wheat, barley and corn. They also consume considerable numbers of caterpillars, wasps, beetles, and other insects during the summer.
The female white-crowned sparrow builds the nest and the final product is constructed from twigs, coarse grasses, moss, bark as well as hairs. On average the female will lay 3-7 eggs and have 1-3 broods per year. The female will incubate the eggs for 10-14 days until the eggs hatch.Notes: Due to its abundance and wide-distribution, the white-crowned sparrow is one of the best-studied birds in North America and has allowed us to learn a great deal about bird song, for which many of the sparrows are noted.
More on this Species:
To have the white-crowned sparrow visit your yard you need to know that the preferred food of this energetic bird is grass and weed seed, so allow an area of your garden to go a bit wild and do not cut back seed heads. Create a patch of prairie meadow with wildflowers and grasses for an abundant seed source. In spring and summer, the white-crowned sparrow also requires insects, so avoid the use of pesticides. A hedgerow along a field edge provides sheltered hunting grounds. Seeds on a low platform feeder may tempt this ground feeder to make a migratory stopover.