Harris’s Sparrow – Centre County, PA

Alex Lamoreaux|

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.

Harris's Sparrow - molting adult in Howard, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

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.

Harris's Sparrow - molting adult in Howard, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Harris's Sparrow - molting adult in Howard, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

About the Author

Alex Lamoreaux


Alex Lamoreaux has been an avid birder and naturalist since he was a youngster, growing up exploring the farmland and Appalachian ridges near Hershey, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State University, studying wildlife biology. Alex has traveled extensively throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa and is a freelance nature tour guide, field biologist, and wildlife photographer. Alex has worked on wildlife research projects ranging from Whimbrel migration along the coast of Virginia to Yellow-billed Cuckoo nesting in the desert southwest. He has been the migration counter at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for the past two fall seasons, documenting the massive visible migration of raptors and songbirds along Lake Superior. Alex loves to share his knowledge of nature, and strives to bring the birding community together to share in the fun that studying birds and wildlife has to offer. He has helped to organize and coordinate birding events in his home state of Pennsylvania and beyond. Contact Info Alex Lamoreaux aslamoreaux@gmail.com (717) 943-7086