Rich quickly got the word out to the Texas birding community and the bird was easily re-found the following day. In fact, it remained somewhat faithful to a small area along that county road for the rest of the winter and was seen and documented by countless birders (photo below, 23 March 2015 by Byron Stone). The last documented sighting of the Striped Sparrow at that location was on April 7th, 2015, almost 4 months later.
Striped Sparrow is a species endemic to Mexico, currently known to be resident in the mountains of the western slope of Mexico ranging from eastern Sonora to central Oaxaca. It is found in open pine forest and grassland at elevations from 1500 to 3000 meters. Striped Sparrows are thought to be year-round resident in their range though perhaps there is some slight altitudinal movement. Still, it is not a species that was at all expected to be found in central Texas.
By all accounts, the Williamson County bird showed no signs of having been captive. It was well photographed and there were no indications of unusual feather wear, nor odd bill or leg abnormalities. Behaviorally, it seemed to associate with and feed with the resident mixed wintering sparrow flock in the area and reacted with wariness not unlike any other bird in the group.
This record was circulated 3 times for review by TBRC members, each time receiving a un-decisive vote (5-4,6-3,6-3). As per TBRC By-laws, it was then discussed at the 2016 Annual Meeting where it received a final vote of 6-3, which means the final decision is that the record was NOT ACCEPTED, due to questionable origin.
The TBRC does not claim that it KNOWS how this particular Striped Sparrow came to be in central Texas and recognizes that others may have different theories that could possibly provide a (hypothetical) explanation for a natural occurrence there. Documentation for additional Striped Sparrow sightings is always welcome as a means of better establishing either a pattern of natural vagrancy or human assisted occurrences. Should more records arise and a pattern of natural vagrancy become a reality, this particular record could certainly be reevaluated.
Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee, August 2016.