Sunday, June 1, 2014

White-crowned Sparrow - with a very white head

Mystery bird - looks like a White-crowned Sparrow © SB
An unusual bird visited our Regina, SK, backyard feeder many times this spring — one like nothing I've seen in bird books, but which we think is likely a White-crowned Sparrow with partial albinism.

Its head and neck are white, except for a few fine, lingering black traces on its crown.

Its markings were so striking that I started calling it a Ghost-crowned Sparrow.

At first, it was very timid — as all of the newly arrived migrating sparrows seem to be.

But it quickly realised that this was a fairly safe food source (our cats stay indoors, though others wander through... And a Sharp-shinned Hawk has landed here, too.)

In any case, it settled in for several weeks, then flew on.

White-crowned Sparrow - if that's what it really is - posing in the backyard.  © SB

A beautiful White-crowned Sparrow - with a difference!  © SB

For reference, here is a White-crowned Sparrow with typical markings. Others that arrived this spring are shown a few posts down: White-crowned Sparrows in my Regina backyard - Spring!

A typically coloured (and curious) White-crowned Sparrow   © SB

What are these? White-crowned Sparrows (the one at top seems to have partial albinism).  
Location: Backyard, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  
Photo dates: Top photo, May 6, 2014; others, May 9, 2014.


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