Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina

General: The Chipping Sparrow used to use hair in its nest, accordingly, it was given a nickname of “hairbird”. They are frequent visitors to birdfeeders. They are a timid bird that makes way when other birds are present.

Chipping Sparrows typically build their nests low in a shrub or tree. The female lays 2–7 Pale blue to white eggs lightly streaked or spotted with black or brown. Incubation is about 10 – 15 days. When the chicks hatch they are naked, helpless with their eyes closed. They fledge in 9 – 12 days.

Identification: The Chipping Sparrow has a dark, conical bill. The crown of the head is a rusty color. There is a black stripe that runs through the eye. It has a gray face and under-parts (these two features help identify the Chipping Sparrow). Its back is tan with dark streaks the wings are brown with brown bars. Chipping Sparrows are between 4 ½” – 6” long with a wingspan of approximately 8 ½”. They weigh roughly ½ oz.

 

Juvenile Chipping Sparrows are prominently streaked below. Like non-breeding adults, they show a dark eye-line, extending both in front of and behind the eye. The brownish cap and dusky eyebrow are variable but generally obscure in juveniles.

Habitat: Chipping Sparrows inhabit grassy woodland pastures, gardens, city parks, brushy pastures and suburban neighborhoods.

Territory: Depending on time of year – during breeding season from the Yukon, Manitoba and Newfoundland south through the entire US, south into Mexico and Northern Latin America.

Migration: The Chipping Sparrow is partially migratory, with almost all high northern birds migrating in winter to the southern United States and Mexico. Chipping Sparrows migrate by night.

Food: Most of the foods Chipping Sparrows eat are seeds – grass seeds, grains and flower seeds and at times fruits. Insects will be eaten in spring and fed to chicks. These birds are frequent visitors to feeders. The pictures here are from my feeder.

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