Documentation of Golden-crowned Sparrow

Observer Information

Reporter:  Sally Waterhouse  13623 County Road 261L,   Nathrop, CO  81236-7713
Other Observers: 

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Golden-crowned Sparrow
First Date/Time:  3/9/2022 9:00:00 AM
Last Date/Time:  3/11/2022 9:45:00 AM
Duration (total time in view):  5 minutes first day (9th); 25 minutes (11th)
County:  Chaffee
Specific Location:  Chalk Cliff Fish Hatchery, Nathrop
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Transitional


NOTE: At Chalk Creek Fish Hatchery (not anywhere near Bassam Park as shown automatically in summary of location) Feeding on fish raceway and parallel dirt "road"; "road" edged with row of thicker brush and willows

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Binoculars 10x40
Distance:  50 feet
Light:  bright; sun to my SE

Description of the Bird

Large sparrow with dirty gray breast and golden colored crown bordered by dark brown wide lines.  Some yellow below these lines over the eye. Crown itself not extending beyond front of head; thin gray striping top and back of head. Pink legs, 2 white wing bars also noted. A bicolored bill was noted when the photo was viewed. There was also a thin brown eyeline that likely indicates a first winter bird thus my notation of transitional plumage.  

The bird was hopping, walking and pecking on the narrow metal grated walkway that crosses the fish raceway.  These often have remnants of algae, small fish fragments, and fish food on them. The bird flew down briefly to the dirt road next to the raceway and then flew into the thick brush that lines a fence along the hatchery when one of the fish feeding trucks approached.  Beyond the brush is a slightly more open area and then larger cottonwoods. The bird was not seen after it dove into the deep brush although I waited in the area another 30 minutes.  

As far as I know no one else had reported this bird here before I saw it on March 9, 2022.

I watched the bird again on March 11th.  This time it was feeding on the edge of the dirt road next to the fence.  I noticed some fish food buried in the gravel and grass in that area.  I watched it for about 15-20 minutes.

Similar Species Discussion

I didn't really consider any other species.  

Resources Used

I have seen this bird before in Colorado at Red Rocks and in Alaska,  so I knew what it was, but wondered about the dark brown (not black) crown border, crown not extending very far back onto the head, and eyeline, for that I checked Sibley.

Previous Experience

I have seen this sparrow at Red Rocks where long looks under the feeder were possible.  I have a fair amount of experience with sparrows in general both living in the midwest (Ohio) and in Colorado where I've done BBS routes.


Notes made AFTER observation

Date Documentation Submitted

3/16/2022 10:20:00 PM
Click left or right edges of photos to move through all; click outside image to close

Location Map

The marker on the map shows an approximation of the location of this report. The marker is generated using a prioritized Logic base:
1) If the observer has entered coordinates, they will be shown.
2) No specific coordinates are available but the location is mappable.
3) A generic location with no specific coordinates is mapped to the center of the reported county.

Powered By Subgurim( Maps ASP.NET