“White crowns,”and fellow Zonotrichia, Golden-crowned Sparrows, are moving through our area now, and during the past few days there have been as many as four of each (they often flock together) in the yard. Typically they scratch in the garden beneath the shrubs, until one notices the bits of seed beneath the suet feeder. They rely on suet-trained birds, especially the frantic, reckless European Starlings, to break up the suet block and cause the grainy morsels to drop. But in no time the bounty on the bricks below is consumed. What to do, if the starlings don’t return?
Until finally, yesterday, it occurred to a few of them that they themselves might have a go at the suet. A Golden-crown was first to size up the situation, but was at a loss as to how to proceed.
A White–crown was first to make a successful landing, to show how it is done.
Birds can be quick reads, and soon individuals of both species were dangling from the cage, bills deep in the suet.
Now is peak movement for White-crowns; for Golden-crowns there is still a week or so before the peak is reached here. The latter species breeds at higher latitudes and altitudes, and its progress toward breeding sites is dependent on the rate of alpine snow-melt.
I always enjoy this Zonotrichial procession. These handsome sparrows are the sign that the door to spring has been kicked wide open, and the glorious onslaught is underway. Feeeee odi odi zeeee zaaaa zoooo!