Back from the tundra
Ah, the Golden-crowned Sparrows are back for the winter.
This one is sitting in the Ray Hartman ceanothus shrub.
These birds arrive earlier and stay longer on their California wintering grounds than almost any other bird species.
They eat many kinds of seeds during migration and the winter, as well as fruits such as apples, olives and grapes.
Insects such as ants, wasps, moths, and termites are also part of their diet.
The Golden-crowned sparrow is another reason why we need to leave the fallen leaves on the ground, at least in some designated areas of the garden. They forage for food through leaf litter and hop on the ground to feed on seeds and insects.
One of the first signs of their arrival in our neighborhood is their distinctive, very high pitched whistle, a slow, beautiful and mournful song.