Yesterday morning, Bob Snyder was leaving his house in Howard, PA to go to work when he noticed an interesting sparrow at his backyard bird feeders. After snapping a few photos, Bob realized it was an adult Harris’s Sparrow! This morning, Drew Weber and I drove over to Bald Eagle State Park while we waited to hear back from Bob about whether or not we could watch the feeders at his house. Bob called and gave us the ok, and so we sat and waited. After just a few minutes, I spotted a White-throated Sparrow come in to the feeders and out of nowhere, the Harris’s Sparrow was right in front of us! Below are a few photos I took of the bird.
This species is a casual vagrant to PA with only 13 previous accepted records for the state. This is the second Harris’s Sparrow ever recorded in Centre County, the first was seen on November 27th, 1983 in State College. According to records submitted to the records committee, this is only the 3rd spring record of a Harris’s Sparrow in the Ridge-and-Valley region of PA– more records are from the the northwest and the Piedmont in the southeastern part of the state. Harris’s sparrows are generally more concentrated in the central part of the country this time of year.