Birds Blog

Species in Focus: Chipping Sparrow

In Maryland, Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) signify spring. Forget Punxsutawney Phil — Chipping Sparrows are the real deal.

Chipping Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Within a few weeks of their arrival, the Dark-eyed Juncos depart to their summer breeding grounds, insects emerge, and voilà, spring has arrived. Before long, Tree Swallows arrive, Hummingbirds, Gray Catbirds, Warblers, and all the species you need to gökotta.

Chipping Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Their plumage is striking and confusingly variable. Early spring and summer Chipping sparrows have a distinct smart appearance, but their plumage in late summer can be confusing.

Chipping Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Chipping Sparrows nest, in trees, but can also nest on the ground. Clutches are typically made up of 3-4 eggs, and they usually raise two broods per year.

Chipping Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Chipping Sparrows have a distinct “chipping” call. This can be a slow chip, often described as a zeeee call, but to be honest, to me, that doesn’t sound like a “zeeee” — I can see/hear it, but…to me, it literally sounds like a chip, chip. The chips combine in machine gun-like fashion making for an impressive call.

Have a listen:

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Also read…

It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird, but not for Hawks

Nesting Season Part III: The Right Box for You

Wordless Wednesday: Black-Crowned Night Heron

Where the Screech Owl Wasn’t

List: The 16 Dos and Don’ts of Managing Your Nesting Boxes

5 Birds to Know in the Northeast this Spring

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