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White-throated Sparrow — Whistler of the North

© Lang Elliott

Perhaps of the most beautiful sparrow song of all is that of the White-throated Sparrow, a handsome species that breeds in northern areas where spruce and fir trees abound. The song of the male is simple yet elegant. It is composed of clear, pure whistles. There is usually a noticeable pitch change at the beginning of each song (after the first or second note) and most songs end with two or three triplets—whistles that are composed of three obvious pulses.

Individual males sing only one stereotyped song pattern, and neighboring males may sing noticeably different songs. The cadence of one common song pattern is revealed by two popular memory phrases: My Sweet, Canada, Canada, Canada and Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody. 

This video footage was gathered in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The setting was an open parkland dotted with patches of Balsam Fir and Black Spruce.

Uploaded on Feb 10, 2010, © 2010 Lang Elliott & Bob McGuire
The Music of Nature