In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Harris’s Sparrow, pictured above, in our October 2015 issue.
Black-bibbed, pink-billed Harris’s Sparrow winters in the central United States and is the sole North American passerine that nests exclusively in Canada. The species is rare far to the east or west of the central states and provinces. In June, it is found largely from the Yukon Territory to northern Manitoba, where it nests along the transition zone between boreal forests and tundra. On the June map, purple squares in the central United States represent lingering northbound migrants. By October, the sparrow has almost completely left its breeding range and can be found in much of the central U.S. and southern Canada. In fall, vagrants can occur in any flock of White-throated or White-crowned Sparrows across North America, generally along hedgerows, weedy patches, shelterbelts, and, rarely, at feeders.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the October 2015 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.
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