Bird Identification – White-throated Sparrow – Peabody-bird – Canada Sparrow
“What’s in a name?” Our English cousins over the border are quite sure they hear this sparrow sing the praises of Swee-e-et Can-a-da, Can-a-da, Can-a-da-ah, while the New Englanders think the bird distinctly says, I-I-Pea-body, Pea-bod-y, Pea-bod-y-I, extolling the name of one of their first families. You may amuse yourself by fitting whatever words you like to the well-marked metre of the clear, high-pitched, plaintive, sweet song of twelve notes. Learn to imitate it and you will be able to whistle up any white-throat within reach of your voice in the Adirondacks, the White Mountains, or the deep, cool woods of Maine, throughout the summer, although the majority of these hardy sparrows nest on the northern side of the Canadian border. Our hot weather they cannot abide. When there is a keen breath of frost in the air and the hedgerows and thickets in the United States are taking on glorious autumnal tints, listen for the white-throated migrants conversing with sharp chink call-notes that sound like the ring of a marble-cutter’s chisel.
During the autumn and spring migrations, when these birds are likely to give us the semi-annual pleasure of coming closer about our homes, with other members of their sociable tribe, you will see that the white-throat is a slightly larger and more distinguished bird than the English sparrow, and that he wears a white patch above his plain, gray breast. Except the white-crowned sparrow, who wears a black and white-striped soldier cap on his head, and who sometimes travels in migrating flocks with his cousins, the white-throated sparrow is the handsomest member of his plain tribe.