eWestern BirdsThe Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists
Vol. 45, No. 2
Western Field Ornithologists
Apparent Sympatry of Two Subspecies of the White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys pugetensis and gambelii, in Washington State
Eugene S. Hunn and David Beaudette
ABSTRACT: White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys pugetensis) breed throughout the lowlands of western Washington, but before 1953 there was just one record of this subspecies east of the Cascade Range. Over the last 35 years, however, because of logging and development, pugetensis has spread and now occurs at and east of the Cascade crest, with definite evidence of nesting by 1988 on the eastern slopes of the Cascades. Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow (Z. l. gambelii) was first recorded nesting in the Cascades of northern Washington in 1957. Beaudette confirmed its nesting in the central Washington Cascades at Naches and Stevens passes in 1994 and 1996, when he observed singing males of both pugetensis and gambelii in close proximity to each other. In 2006 Hunn recorded songs of both subspecies in such a situation near Naches Pass. More recent reports extend the area of apparent sympatry south to White Pass in Yakima County and east of the Cascade crest in Kittitas and Yakima counties. The situation suggests that the White-crowned Sparrow as now defined might include two (or more) species.