Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Organismal Biology

Reader 1

Elise Ferree

Reader 2

Tessa Solomon-Lane

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© 2022 Lauryn B Jeans


White-Crowned Sparrows (WCSP), Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, are small, migrating passerine birds whose over-wintering ground social behavior is poorly researched. Suitable wintering grounds must balance climate preference and migration length, are affected by territory size and habitat competition, and have long-term effects on bird fitness. A study observed Golden-Crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla) returning every year to the same wintering ground and forming strong social communities during those winter months. We predicted that WCSPs exhibit wintering ground fixation and form stable flock structure at the Bernard Field Station (BFS) in Southern California during the winter months of October to February. To test this prediction, we studied WCSPs that forage in the BFS (BFS) in Claremont, CA as a continuation of a three-year study that started in 2019. We used motion-censored cameras to capture WCSPs to observe site fidelity and flock size and strength. To assess WCSPs level of fixation to the BFS, we found that nearly one out of four WCSPs returned season 2021-22 from season 2020-21. To assess the strength of the WCSP social communities, a modularity optimization network analysis identified significantly non-random WCSP flock structures within the BFS over season 2021-22. Future research must be conducted to observe if WCSP flock structures remain the same over several winter seasons, and our research can serve as a baseline for those future studies.

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