The Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina is a very tiny, clean, crisp, energetic, sparrow about five inches long and weighing only a half ounce. It has a chestnut cap and a white stripe above the eye, and a black stripe through the eye. The female is the same but slightly duller.
Chipping Sparrows are well adapted to the presence of people and don’t mind if you are nearby watering flowers or filling the feeder. They live and nest in a very wide variety of habitats, including the suburbs.
Arriving in April and May to the Michigan area from its winter home in Mexico, Central America or the southern United States, they perch high in a tree and sing a song to mark their territory. The loud, trilling songs of a chipping sparrow are one of the most common sounds of spring and easily identifiable. The song is often described as the sound of an electric sewing machine. To hear the chipping sparrow’s song, visit HERE.
The males arrive a week or so before the females and once paired, they share nesting, hatching and feeding-the-chicks duties. You may see them picking up any stray seeds from your birdfeeder or feeding on a ground feeder. Their appetite for insects and the seeds of many weeds and grasses make them true allies in any yard. One of their choice foods are the seeds of crabgrass…help yourself little guys!