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Monday, 27 April 2009


First-winter male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire, April 2009 (Chris Upson)
Hi Lee,

I’ve been away and am just catching up on e-mails ... by now you may well have received good feedback, but I’ll provide a couple of comments just in case. Generally I wouldn’t put much stock in head pattern for ageing, and prefer to look first at tail condition in spring, but the photos you’ve posted don’t show it clearly enough. But with this bird, you’re fortunate to know you’re seeing the same individual now as in fall, and in that case I agree that the transition from buffish to whitish head stripes makes it almost certain this is a first-winter bird. For reference, here is my White-throated Sparrow ID page (; see for other species if interested).

All the best,

Marcel Gahbauer
Migration Research Foundation
Calgary AB / Montreal QC