About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Some Native Sparrows

Though some native sparrows look similar, these sparrows have distinct differences.

Chipping Sparrow• They must consume over two pounds of seeds through the course of winter to survive. With an average body weight of only 13 grams, this means that Chipping Sparrows consume over 70 times their own weight in seeds each winter.
• They molt all of their body feathers once or twice a year and they may also replace the feathers on their face and throat up to six times a year.

American Tree Sparrow
• They are known to eat tons of common weed seeds each year.
• When the ground covered in snow, they have been observed flying around a weed plant, using their wings to dislodge seeds for easy retrieval.
• They eat 30% & drink 30% of their own body weight every day during the summer..

White-throated Sparrows• They have either white stripes on their head or tan stripes. These distinct color forms are genetic in origin. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and each bird almost always mates with a bird whose stripe color is opposite from their own.
• They are occasionally known to mate with the Dark-eyed Juncos and produce hybrids.
• Their average travel distance is about 70 miles per day while migrating north in the spring.

Song Sparrows• They are the most common and widespread sparrow native to North America.
• There are 31 recognized subspecies of the Song Sparrow, more than any other bird species found in North America.
• When migrating, male Song Sparrows don’t travel as far south as the female so they can be the first birds back to the nesting grounds in the spring.

Dark-Eyed Juncos• Dark-eyed Juncos are often called “Snowbirds,” possibly due to the fact that in mid-Michigan we see the first junco around the time as our first snow. Another possible source of the nickname may be the white belly plumage and slate-colored back of the junco which has been described as “leaden skies above, snow below.”
• Dark-eyed Juncos tend to return to the same area each winter. Chances are that you have many of the same birds at your feeder this winter that you had in previous years.

For more information about native sparrows, visit allaboutbird.com - our online bird guide.

1 comment:

Joy K. said...

Sparrows may be the birds that tip me over into insanity. They all look so similar.

My husband will say "There's a new bird outside."

"What's it look like?"

"Sort of sparrow-y."

"Oh, &^%#*@!"