I don’t know who names birds. I suppose the person who discovers a new species gets some say, but often the moniker has something to do with what the animal looks like. There’s a White-throated Sparrow. But, it could have been dubbed the White-chinned or White-necked or even a Johnson’s Sparrow, I suppose. There’s also a White-crowned Sparrow. And, yet it could have been named the White-capped, or more aptly White-top-striped Sparrow. What if the gentleman who discovered it was Mr. Green. That would be confusing – Green’s Sparrow that doesn’t have any green markings! I’ve read that some folks perceive the white and black markings on the White-crowned Sparrow’s head as a bicycle helmet! If they had been in charge, perhaps the species would have gone down in the scientific literature as Helmet-headed Sparrow.
But, let me be honest, and a bit more serious. I don’t hate the name White-crowned Sparrow because I have been getting to know these little birds for a while now. They show up in Spring and stick around for many weeks before heading north to have a little family. Now, they are back again on the Fall migration and they have been here for several weeks. There are lots of them, and they don’t mind hanging out around people. So, I have filmed them often, of late. And, I have come to find their little personalities quite endearing. They are like little princes wearing their simple, yet noble white crowns.
In case you are wondering why some White-crowned Sparrows have blackhead markings and others have brown – the ones with the brown head stripes are evidence that the bird is still a juvenile. I frequently see an adult with a juvenile – and wonder if it’s a parent-chick relationship.
Enjoy the photos I’ve taken during this Autumn migration when the little princes come to visit.