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, April 15, 2012

Tiny sparrow singing

We have the door open today at Wild Birds Unlimited in East Lansing and I'm listening to a lot of beautiful songs. Today the star performer seems to be the Chipping Sparrow. Now I can hear some of you saying "all sparrows are alike." But the Chipping Sparrow is so cute I insist you get to know him!

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.
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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!

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