White-throated sparrows have their babies after the adult birds migrate north in the spring and have settled into northwestern Canada and northeastern United States. The birds build open-cup nests (shaped like a cup) in small trees or shrubs or on the ground. They prefer partially open shrubby areas or forests, mostly at the edges of clearings. Females lay 3 to 6 eggs, usually 4. Only the female sits on the eggs to keep them warm (called incubating the eggs). It takes approximately 3-4 weeks for the chicks to hatch. About 9 days after hatching the young birds can begin leaving the nest, which is called fledging.
Breeding interval: Usually females only lay eggs once each year, but sometimes after the first brood has left the nest, a female will lay eggs again and raise a second brood of chicks.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs each spring.
Range eggs per season: 3 to 6.
Average eggs per season: 4.
Range time to hatching: 3 to 4 weeks.
Range fledging age: 7 to 12 days.
Average fledging age: 9 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Average eggs per season: 5.
Newborn sparrows are helpless when they hatch. They do not have feathers, so they do not have one of the most important forms of insulation to keep warm and need to rely on their parents. They stay in the nest, waiting for both parents to feed them.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
- Anderson, W. 1994. "Zonotrichia albicollis: White-Throated Sparrow" (On-line). Accessed October 30, 2000 at http://www.orst.edu/pubs/birds/spaccts/spar.htm#wtsp.
- Brown, D. 1996. "Life History: Zonotrochia albicollis" (On-line). Accessed October 30, 2000 at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i5580id.html.
- Wheye, D. 2000. "Birds of Stanford:White-throated Sparrow" (On-line). Accessed 4 April 2002 at http://www.stanfordalumni.org/birdsite/text/species/White-throated_Sparrow.html.
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