Bird #63 — White-throated Sparrow

zonotrichia (from zone, girdle, belt and trichos, hair) albicollis (from albus, white, and collum, neck)

Sunday, September 30, 1979 — 12:00 noon

Glencoe, Illinois — Botanic Gardens

I passed the Botanic Gardens every day during the summer of 1979 on my way to my job at C. R. Ebert Roofing.  Dundee Road crossed over one end of the lagoon at the edge of the garden.  The lagoon was often filled with ducks and geese and I finally decided to check it out.  It wasn’t too exciting.  The gardens had only opened in 1976 and most of it was still lawn.  A lot of planting was in the works, and I imagine it will be more thrilling in the future.

Although I had never seen a White-throated Sparrow, I was familiar with its song.  When I was nine, I went fishing in Ontario, Canada with my dad and several other men from church.  Dad constantly pointed out the “teacher, teacher, teacher” of the Ovenbird and the “Mr. Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” of the White-throated Sparrow.  The other men began teasing him, but Dad didn’t care.  And I never forgot those two birds and the sounds they made.

On this day, Sally and Iwalked most of the paths, including the one that led through a small wooded area.  The White-throated Sparrows were foraging in the leaves on the trail through the woods, not much minding the steady progression of people.

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