Although researchers and scientists have spent little time observing the Golden-crowned Sparrow, this handsome bird, with the black cap and the touch of bright yellow at the top of its head, has not gone unnoticed by the people who live and work among them. 

Around the turn of the 20th century, gold miners in the Yukon territory noticed its melancholy, three-note, downward song. To them, the bird was saying, “No gold here,” or, “I’m so tired,” or “Oh, dear me.” They referred to it as “Weary Willie.”  

In the fall, Golden-crowned Sparrows wing their way south from their summer breeding grounds in the tundra and shrublands of British Columbia and Alaska, returning to their winter territories along the West Coast of the U.S. and northern Mexico. In California, the Golden-crowned Sparrow arrives earlier and leaves later than other overwintering bird species, as they start showing up in September and heading north in April and May.

Through the fall, winter and early spring, they’ll forage for foods in mixed flocks with White-crowned Sparrows and Juncos. If you live near the edge of a town or city, you may find them in the bushes, clinging to tall grasses or on the ground, foraging for seeds. They may even sing their little song.

The Golden-crowned Sparrow will feed from a ground feeder or hopper feeder. Fill it with Lyric Supreme Mix, a premium bird food blend packed with the Golden-crowned Sparrows favorite morsels: black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, safflower seeds, peanut pieces and small golden millet.