I'm not sure what others got on Christmas Bird Counts, but for most species I noticed maybe a slight decline in SE Missouri and SO Illinois. The main lack I noticed was dense grassy habitat attributable to the extreme drought of last summer.
----Bill Eddleman, Cape Girardeau

--- On Mon, 2/18/13, Douglas, Ryan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Douglas, Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Absence of sparrow in the Ozarks!
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, February 18, 2013, 12:27 PM

#yiv1054947736 P {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}

Here are Winter (Dec-Feb) 2009-2013 data for White-throated Sparrows in Missouri from eBird.

Each color represents a different year. 2012 and 2013 look slightly lower than 2009-2011 for frequency of checklists reporting this species. However, January 2013 was higher than January 2012 for a few weeks. 

The average count (the average number of birds on the checklists reporting the species) was higher in January 2012 and 2013 than it was in 2010.

The total number of White-throated Sparrows reported in Missouri (as a whole) was higher in January 2013 than in 2009, 2010 and 2012. This discrepancy between what observers feel they are seeing and eBird's data could be due to more observers using eBird this year and thus reporting more sparrows overall (ie: White-throated Sparrows may have been vastly under-reported in past years when the density of eBirders was lower). The other metrics are likely to be at least a little better for trying to understand long-term trends since they're normalized by the number of checklists submitted.

For what it's worth, most of the White-throated Sparrow eBird metrics in Iowa and Illinois appear to be more-or-less the same over the past 5 years.


Ryan Douglas
Postdoctoral Fellow
310 Tucker Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

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