Bird Study Group – February 2020
February 5, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
“War between the subspecies? The continued northern march of the southern subspecies of White crowned Sparrows in Alberta.”
Speaker: Dr. Scott Lovell
Over the past four years, I have examined song, plumage, and genetics of two subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows along the front range of the Rockies, from Waterton to just east of Jasper. Preliminary data analyses suggests that the song of the southern subspecies has been moving northern at a very rapid rate over the past ~35 years, and the contact zone between the southern and northern subspeceis of White-crowned Sparrows has moved north as well. Plumage transitions have moved north too, but at a much more gradual pace from the southern plumage pattern to the northern plumage pattern; unlike song which is a very rapid and narrow transition. During my presentation, I will present background into research into White-crowned Sparrows overall, focusing in Alberta, show what I have found during the last 4 years of my research in terms of changes in song and plumage, and finally implications and suggestions as to why we are seeing this pattern.