I have looked forward to every November for the past six years since finding this spot that a number of White-crowned Sparrows have chosen to over winter. What makes these guys so special is that that are fairly uncommon here in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. Honestly it's one of the only places I have heard of since coming down here that has them year after year. This may be their last year but we will get to that later. Just the past week I went to this area off Miller Road in Pineville to check and see what wintering migrants might be around. Upon my arrival I no sooner opened my door to my car when I was made aware they had arrived early this year. Normally they are not in until the end of the first week of November or even the second week but this year my first sighting was on the 25th of October. As I listened to them singing I was surprised and not sure if this was my group or perhaps just some migrants coming through. So I did not report them right away. I returned each day over the next three to find them still present. My high count of seen birds was 6 but I am sure there were more. I did finally report them and was glad to see another birder later that morning enjoying them. After all that is the real fun part of birding. Sharing and talking with others about our feathered friends. The all time high count here was on a Christmas Bird Count about three years ago and there was 17 present at one time. The largest group I had ever seen overwintering anywhere in my 25 years of birding. I was mesmerized by this flock and visited them often. Over the years I have been so blessed by there visits that I find myself bringing bird seed to my friends especially when it's extremely cold. It not only helps them but keeps them close to the road for extra close viewing. It's nice how that has worked out.
There are actually three types of White-crowned Sparrows. There is the Eastern Taiga, Interior Western and then you have the Pacific. But with inter breeding between Interior Western and Eastern there are hybridization's occurring often between them. The bird above is of the Eastern Taiga form of this group and an adult. This sparrow is very social as well. I have often see them feeding in mixed groups of other sparrows. It has not been uncommon to see them feeding with Fields, Songs and White-throated Sparrows at the same time. I have to say out of all the winter visitors that call my county home I do look forward to this ones arrival the most each and every year. This year might just be bitter sweet as I had eluded to earlier on in this story. The property is almost completely gone now due to developing. Sadly this is the fate for most birds today.