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Mindy Smith

sparrow help maybe chipping

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On Bob Jones Trail in San Luis Obispo county today and saw a mixed flock of sparrows. Please help with this ID. The last one looks like a gold-crowned.

DSCN1876 chipping?.JPG

DSCN1877.JPG

DSCN1878.JPG

DSCN1886 Gold crown immature.JPG

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This looks better for an immature White-crowned Sparrow. Note the yellow bill and lack of dark lores.

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Just now, akandula said:

This looks better for an immature White-crowned Sparrow. Note the yellow bill and lack of dark lores.

What is the first bird?

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Is the first bird a California Towhee? It looks to grey for that to me.

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2 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Is the first bird a California Towhee? It looks to grey for that to me.

I'm getting a little confused. Are the first three photos the same bird and the last photo a different bird? Then my guesses would be Golden-crowned and White-crowned respectively.

California Towhees would have rufous undertail coverts.

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I thought the last three photos were the same bird. and that the first photo was of a different bird.

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Sorry, the first three are of the same bird and there were white-crowned sparrows nearby but I didn't see any adult white-crowns with this small group.  The second bird was with the first as well as a few others that would not hold still enough for a photo. 

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Meant to add that I am sure that none of these were California towhees. They were around as well but not up in the tree. Attached is a photo of the towhee that was also on the trail and closer to the ground. A great place for birding.

12A6E11E-F399-49D0-9E77-CBF4A5F239C8.jpeg

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The final photo is a Golden-crowned x White-crowned Sparrow hybrid. It combines characteristics of both parents - the yellow forehead and otherwise fairly plain facial pattern of Golden-crowned Sparrow, and the bright yellow bill typical of several of the White-crowned Sparrow subspecies found on the California coast in winter.

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3 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

The final photo is a Golden-crowned x White-crowned Sparrow hybrid. It combines characteristics of both parents - the yellow forehead and otherwise fairly plain facial pattern of Golden-crowned Sparrow, and the bright yellow bill typical of several of the White-crowned Sparrow subspecies found on the California coast in winter.

So the first three pics are a Golden-crowned and the last pic is a hybrid Golden-crowned x White-crowned? I never considered a hybrid, but it makes much more sense. Thanks @AlexHenry.

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2 hours ago, akandula said:

So the first three pics are a Golden-crowned and the last pic is a hybrid Golden-crowned x White-crowned? I never considered a hybrid, but it makes much more sense. Thanks @AlexHenry.

First bird is a bit tougher to see well but I think its Golden-crowned. 

Last pic is the Golden-crowned x White-crowned hybrid, hence the confusion. They do hybridize, actually I've never seen one of the hybrids but I've heard about them and I don't think they're too unusual.

Here's an example of a relatively similar one: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/139847681#_ga=2.157033851.1743752776.1582703473-939364039.1542558222

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18 minutes ago, AlexHenry said:

First bird is a bit tougher to see well but I think its Golden-crowned. 

Last pic is the Golden-crowned x White-crowned hybrid, hence the confusion. They do hybridize, actually I've never seen one of the hybrids but I've heard about them and I don't think they're too unusual.

Here's an example of a relatively similar one: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/139847681#_ga=2.157033851.1743752776.1582703473-939364039.1542558222

Why is it not just a Golden-crowned Sparrow?

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7 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Why is it not just a Golden-crowned Sparrow?

The yellow (not gray) bill.

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This conversation is really helpful. Also never thought of a hybrid but it makes sense and the last bird does look like the bird in the above link. Adds so much to the complexity of birding but will try not to be too discouraged as such a novice. Nice to be in this community for learning.

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On 2/26/2020 at 10:08 AM, Phalarope713 said:

Couldn’t the last bird be a Golden-crowned with some yellow pollen on the bill? Aside from the pollen, the bill doesn’t look overly bright for a Golden-crowned. 
 

To me it more resembles in imm. Golden-crowned like the one here:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crowned_Sparrow/media-browser/64978521

The bill looks like a pugetensis White-crowned Sparrow, I have never seen a Golden-crowned Sparrow with a bill like that

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