Consider the number of integers in a short interval that can be represented as a sum of two squares. What is an estimate for the variance of these counts over random short intervals? We resolve a function field variant of this problem in the large $q$ limit, finding a connection to the $z$-measures first investigated in the context of harmonic analysis on the infinite symmetric group. A similar connection to $z$-measures is established for sums over short intervals of the divisor functions $d_z(n)$. We use these results to make conjectures in the setting of the integers which match very well with numerically produced data. Our proofs depend on equidistribution results of N. Katz and W. Sawin.