Status and Occurrence of the Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) in British Columbia.
By Rick Toochin
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Introduction and Distribution
The Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) is a desert species that is found breeding in arid environments from localized areas of central Washington State, to south-central Oregon and southeast Oregon, southern Idaho, southwest Wyoming, south to northwest Colorado, western Oklahoma, Texas and through New Mexico, Arizona to California and south to the Baja California Peninsula (Beadle and Rising 2002, Wahl et al. 2005). The Black-throated Sparrow’s retreat from the northern portion of its breeding range to winter in areas such as southeastern California, central Arizona, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and into New Mexico with birds being found in most of western Texas (Beadle and Rising 2002, Wahl et al. 2005). Very rarely Black-throated Sparrows are found as winter birds in Oklahoma and southern coastal California (Sibley 2000, Beadle and Rising 2002). As vagrants, the Black-throated Sparrow has been found throughout the eastern United States with birds reaching eastern parts of Canada such as Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador (Sibley 2000, Escott 1994). In western Canada the Black-throated Sparrow has been found in Saskatchewan and Alberta (Sibley 2000, Escott 1994). The first record of Black-throated Sparrow in British Columbia was of a bird found by Anne Miller and was collected the same day by her mother on June 8, 1959 at Murtle Lake near Wells Gray Park (Godfrey 1961, Campbell et al. 2001, Toochin et al. 2013). Since the first record British Columbia has had a dramatic increase in records with some years having irruptions of birds (Campbell et al. 2001, Toochin et al. 2013). The Black-throated Sparrow is a casual but an increasingly encountered species in British Columbia. There are no records for Alaska (West 2007).