Category Archives: Perching Birds

Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia

General: The Song Sparrow has a wide geographic range, occuring over most of North America from the Aleutians to the eastern United States. It is one of the most common of America’s sparrows. There are Song sparrow diets consist of seeds, fruits, and insects.approximately 39 subspecies in North America and Mexico (Pyle 1997). It has a beautiful and distinctive song that is one of the most common bird calls you will hear in the summer. Like many other songbirds, the male Song Sparrow uses its song to attract mates as well as defend its territory.

Identification tips: The song sparrow is one of the few birds with a large geographic variation in coloration and plumage. The song sparrow is approximately 5.1/2 inches long with a conical bill. It has a brown crown, grayish face and supercilium. As can be seen the song sparrow has a brown streak that extends behind eye and a thick malar streak. It typically has a brown back with darker streaks. It has brown wings with some rust and its underparts are white with heavy dark streaks with a central breast spot. The tail is long, brown and rounded. The sexes are similar. Juveniles are similar to adult but buffier.(Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter). As previously mentioned, there is considerable variation in plumage across its range from dark to rusty upperparts and in bill size and shape

Habitat: Preferred habitat for this species is brushy areas, especially in fields, along streams and the borders of woodlands. They are common in our cities and suburban areas (Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds).

Food: Song sparrow diets consist of seeds, fruits, and insects.

Black-capped chickadee – Poecile atricapilla

General: The black-capped chickadee is a familiar visitor to bird feeders in New York. When considering their small size, they seem almost fearless. Many a time I have had a chickadee land right next to me while filling the feeder. I During the fall migration and winter, chickadees often flock together.have been lucky enough to have them eat from my hand.

The Black-capped Chickadee is very similar to the Carolina Chickadee and where their ranges overlap they can be difficult to separate. In fact, they have trouble telling themselves apart and hybrids occur. The most obvious difference between them is their songs. Black-capped sings a two note song while Carolina sings a four note song. Hybrids sing a three note song. They are the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts.

Identification tips: The black-capped chickadee is approximately 4.5 inches long and has a short bill. It has a black crown and throat with a white face, pale gray upperparts and white edges to wing coverts. Their body has grayish-white underparts and rusty flanks. The sexes similar. They are often found in small flocks

Habitat: Their breeding habitat is mixed or deciduous woods in Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They are permanent residents, but sometimes move south within their range in winter.

Food: Insects form a large part of their diet, especially in summer; seeds and berries become important in winter. They sometimes hammer seeds on a tree or shrub to open them

Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter