Posted by: atowhee | January 27, 2015

RARE OR REGULAR?

Back in the 1970s White-throated Sparrow was an unusual bird on an Oregon Christmas Bird Count.  Now over 2 dozen counts find the species annually and instead of total individual WTSPs in single digits Oregon counters have topped 200 White-throats in both 2012 and 2013 CBCs.  Those most recent couknts are the only ones in Oregon history to record over 200 individuals of thee species.  We await recent [2014] results which should again be a 3-digit number.  Below is a White-throated Sparrow in winter residence at Ashland Pond.  He’s perched near his Zonotrichia cousin, the Golden-crowned and a more distant cousin, the Spotted Towhee.SPAROS3A (1280x960)So surely the White-throat no longer could be considered anything more than uncommon in winter in forested areas of the state.  But is the increase in records due to climate change?  Greater birder awareness of the possibility?  The rate of finding WTSP on CBCs has increased per counter hour so either the density of the birds is going up or the density (grasp) of the counters has decreased and awareness increased.


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