Winter Recordings Needed!

First, thanks to everyone for participating in our project – without your help, there is no way we could get a handle on what is going on with these moving song variants.

Our analysis of a combination of all the Xeno-canto files people have been sharing, songs extracted from AviChorus, backlogged recordings from the Macaulay Sound Library and our own personal recordings is just about complete, and includes songs from over 1000 males recorded between the 1960s right up to 2016. The latest news is that every male in recordings from about 2013 onward west of Toronto, Canada (~longitude -79.801 E) has a doublet-ending song. East of that line, the triplet-ending songs are still the predominate song type. Scott Ramsay and I will be conducting a west-to-east survey through the area around Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, as the western edge of Algonquin is right at this divide line, and recordings from Scott’s field sites in the park in 2014 suggest there may be a bit of an upsurge in doublet-ending songs! We will let everyone know what we find. If you are east or west of this line, we would love to have any recordings you make this upcoming spring.

The other part of our analysis is an update on the geolocator results from our 2013 pilot study. The four birds in Prince George, BC that we have recovered geolocators from indicated they winter in one of two general locations – the peninsula area of California between San Francisco and Monterey Bay (specifically, just north of Pescadaro), or the triangle of western Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and northeast Texas. Two of the birds in the latter area appear to have wintered between Dallas and Houston, and the third was in the Quachita Mountains of Arkansas. In early March, the birds start to practice singing, and it appears that they start thinking about heading north about the end of April. We would LOVE to get some recordings of birds in these areas to see how prevalent either the doublet-ending or triplet-ending songs are in these spots.

Red dots show where BC's white-throated sparrows spent their winter months.  The Yellow dot in northern BC is where all four of these birds were breeding.

Red dots show where BC’s white-throated sparrows spent their winter months. The Yellow dot in northern BC is where all four of these birds were breeding.

If you don’t live in those areas, especially along the eastern seaboard from New Jersey south, we know that is where some of our Algonquin birds are spending their winter. We would also love to have winter song recordings from these areas to see what song types are common on those wintering grounds.

As always, you can send any recordings you make directly to us by email, or you can upload them to Xeno-canto. In either case, we will let you know what song type the bird is singing.

Thanks again for your interest in our project.


3 thoughts on “Winter Recordings Needed!

  1. Kelly Krechmer

    I recorded a WTSP singing briefly yesterday in Nelson county, Virginia. The recording was with my iphone mic though. I uploaded the recording to eBird. I included my site below if your interested I can send the recording to you directly too.

    1. Steffi LaZerte

      That’s fantastic! The first recording is a bit too faint for us to use but the second shows a nice clear Triplet-ending song. Thank you for your contribution!

      We normally post songs we use to Xeno-Canto, to make them available to others. Would you permit us to do that on your behalf? Note, that this would mean your recording would be released under a Creative Commons license, which you may not want (

      Thanks again for helping us out in our study!