|First sighting in Mission Viejo on Sept. 20. Photo by J.J. Meyer|
The white-crowned sparrows have returned to spend the winter with us. I look forward to their arrival every year. My sighting is two days later than last year. But still earlier than their arrival in 2013, which was on Sept. 28.
White-crowned sparrows migrate to Southern California in the fall. Some travel from as far as Alaska to spend winter with us. Scientists say migratory birds often return to the same location every year.
Like most sparrows, these birds are ground feeders and prefer to stay close to the safety of trees and shrubs. Though they may sometimes visit platform feeders for sunflower and other kinds of seeds, they're more likely to stay on the ground eating seeds dropped by other birds.
Welcome our winter visitors by tossing black oil sunflower seeds, millet and cracked corn on the ground for them.