Identification and Pictures
Chipping sparrows are small, slim, gray
sparrows, with long, slightly notched tails; about 5
inches. They have a bright rufous cap, a streaked brown
back, streaked wings with two white wing bars, a black
line through the eye, and a white line over it. A
gray band runs across the nape of its neck. They
have a dark conical bill.
In winter the adults are browner, the breast is not
quite as gray, the eyebrow line is duller, and the bill
will turn pinkish. Younger birds are buffer, have
a light stripe through the crown, and have light streaks
on the breast. In early days in the U.S., it was called the
hair bird because of its use of horse hair in its
Photos by Keith Lee.
The camera I use is the Canon
Song and Call
sparrows were named for their song, which is a series of chipping sounds that
can sound like long trill. They like to sing this from a high
perch. Call notes are a short chip, and seet sound.
Listen to Chipping sparrow.
Range and Habitat
Chipping sparrows range across most of
Canada, and the U.S. in summer, migrating south, usually
in flocks, to the southern U.S., and Mexico for the
winter. They like open woodlands, conifer forests,
towns, farms, and grassy areas such as residential
Breeding and Nesting
sparrows are usually monogamous, however males may have
more than on mate. The males arrive
to breeding areas before the females, and establish
territories. The pair will choose a nesting
site in a tree or bush together. The female builds a loose cup nest of
weeds, grass, and rootlets, lined with hair. The
male will feed the female while she incubates 3 to 5
light blue speckled eggs for 10 to 12 days. After
hatching, both adults will feed the young birds until
they leave the nest in 9 to 12 days, and another 3 weeks
after that. They usually only have one brood per
Food and Feeding
Chipping sparrows eat mostly seeds, but also eat
insects. They usually forage in open areas, on or
near the ground, running, hopping, and stopping to
scratch the ground with their feet. Outside of
breeding season they forage in flocks. They will
visit backyard seed feeders.
on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.
To learn about other
favorite birds click here.
Bird Watching guides, books, binoculars,
cameras, gifts for bird lovers, bird baths, feeders
Available for Immediate