We've noticed a surprising dearth of White-throated Sparrows this winter in north-central, central, and western Missouri as well. Until recently, the majority of WTSP we encountered were of the tan variety. These anecdotal accounts arise from visiting several feeders, participating in CBCs and being in the field conducting other surveys. Statistics are wonderful for getting good resolution on specific trends, but phenomena so obvious needs only common sense to make inference from observation. That said, with the wealth of eBird data available on WTSP, it seems like it would be simple enough to post stratify a random sample. Heck the data could be truncated using only the same observers that have birded and reported in previous years.

As Edge mentioned, the sparrows could be wintering elsewhere (north or east?). It would be interesting to check our eBird occurrence information for the ''missing sparrows"  east as well as north. Knowing these birds have winter site fidelity, it is something to keep an eye on. In any event, Mike Doyen can rest assured that he isn't alone in his experiences.

We currently have a few White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris's Sparrows at our feeders. American Tree Sparrows seemed to be quite numerous in surrounding areas, but not at our feeders.


On 18 Feb 2013, at 5:58 AM, Mike Doyen wrote:

> Fellow Mo-Birders.
> I am concerned about the absence of sparrows in the Ozarks this winter. I do find small flocks of Junco but almost nothing else. As I compare data to prior years what alarms me the most is sparrow hot spots like White River Trace CA are almost absent of sparrows both in numbers and species. I birded locations yesterday that have always been good sparrow habitat and not one sparrow was located with the exception of a small flock of Junco and a single Towhee and I birded all day. I am curious if this is an Ozark phenomena or are other birders noticing the same thing.
> Mike Doyen
> Rolla, MO
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