White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

26 May

The sparrow with the cycling helmet. Very smart fellows. Breed in open or shrubby habitats, including tundra, high alpine meadows, and forest edges. Eat mainly seeds of weeds and grasses, plus considerable numbers of caterpillars, wasps, beetles, and other insects during the summer. They also eat grains such as oats, wheat, barley, and corn, and fruit including elderberries and blackberries.

Nests are typically fairly low, placed 1.5 to 10 feet high in shrubs. Across the arctic and subarctic portions of the species’ range, White-crowned Sparrows nest on the tundra and have little choice but to put their nests on the ground, hidden among mats of mosses, lichens, and ground-hugging shrubs.