Last Thurs, Anne Straight found an adult Golden-crowned Sparrow in the little town of Scioto Mills in far northern IL.
Golden-crowned Sparrows normally live strictly on the west coast. They are regular winter residents in California and their breeding range stretches from Oregon all the way north through the middle of Alaska. The Latin name (Zonotrichia Atricapillus) means "The Banded Thrush with black hair on it's head." A very appropriate name for this bird with it's double band of black surrounding a golden-yellow crown patch.
Luke and I arrived shortly before 10:00 this morning and walked down the Jane Addams trail. We quickly found the location and checked for the bird. No go. So we walked back to the road, and walked down the on the road side of the row of houses, above the trail. We had walked down just as far as before and were watching the back yard of the house when I noticed a largeish Zonotrichia type Sparrow out of the corner of my eye. I raised my binocs and saw the black band on the head. My very first thought was "That's a really weird White-throated Sparrow." Then it clicked. This was the GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW!!! Luke had seen it only a second later than I did and got on it right away. After watching it for a second, we both started clicking away like mad. I managed to get a few decent photos:
It's a typical Zonotrichia Sparrow. They like to hang out with others of the same genus if possible. This one was hanging out with a couple of White-throated Sparrows.
This was my 529th life bird!!! While not a nemesis bird, I've been wanting to see this bird for some time now. I'm really glad I finally saw one, after missing them several times out west.
Who knows when my next "Twitch" will be. Next one I have planned is the Sinaloa Wren at Huachuca Canyon in Southern Arizona. That won't be for a couple weeks though.
Til then, Happy Birding!