Juvenile Rufous-crowned Sparrow
- A juvenile RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW here this morning (7/27) was the fourth post-fledging wanderer detected on the property in ten years.
I wrote a small "featured photo" piece for Western Birds (Vol. 40, No. 4, 2009) about juvenile Rufous-crowned Sparrow plumage, based on photos I shot here in Deer Canyon on August 6, 2006. The 2006 bird was the third occurence of a summer juvenile rufous-crown on the property since 2000.
This morning's bird is interesting for three reasons:
1) any wandering Rufous-crowned Sparrow is "interesting" because of their remarkable territorial fidelity. A post-fledging wandering juvenile is, however, certainly more expected than a wandering adult. (See: Collins, P. 1999. "Rufous-crowned Sparrow". The Birds of North America, No. 472.)
2) the nearest known territory/population is 2 3/4 direct aerial miles distant.
3) this morning's bird is in much fresher plumage than the August 6 2006 bird. (my photos in Western Birds showed a bird already molting into post-juvenile plumage with streaking on the breast and belly much diminished, the lores lightening and the malar stripe darkening noticeably. The dark lores on this morning's bird surprised me.)
I've uploaded five photos of this morning's bird on my flickr site, giving a pretty comprehensive view of fresh juvenile plumage--this bird even still has a residual bit of the fleshy corner to the gape present in nestlings.
Arroyo Grande, CA
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