Letters

Published on 13 March 2014 in Letters

White-throated Sparrows in captivity Sirs,–I read with interest Mr. J. T. R. Sharrock’s account of a Whitethroated Sparrow {Zonotrichia albicollis) at Needs Oar Point, near Beaulieu, Hampshire, in May 1961 (Brit. Birds, 54: 366-367). I feel you should know, however, that three of these birds escaped from an aviary in the vicinity of Datchet, Buckinghamshire, in late September i960. One was in immature plumage; the other two were adults, one of them a known female. All were colour-ringed with plastic rings, in black, green and red respectively. A fourth bird was killed[When Mr. Sharrock’s observation was considered by the Rarity Records Committee, enquiries were made about White-throated Sparrows in captivity in Britain and these seemed to show that none had been imported in recent years. The birds mentioned by Mr. Nelson were known, but, owing to a misunderstanding, it was thought that they were the closely related White-crowned Sparrows (Z. leucophrys). The Hampshire bird was not ringed, however, and in any case it seems unlikely to have had any connection with the ones from Datchet in view of the letter which follows.–EDS.] White-throated Sparrow and American Robin crossing Atlantic on board ship Sirs,–I sailed from New York in R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth on 26th April 1961. The following afternoon, when we were about 700 miles out and slightly north of east from New York, I observed a Whitethroated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) below the bridge. Subsequently I got so close that I was almost able to get it in my hand. It

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