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.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chipping Sparrow Juvenile with adult male

Male Chipping Sparrow
Sometimes juvenile brown birds are hard to identify at the bird feeder. Luckily babies can be very vocal. Recently I was carrying seed out to a car at the Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store and heard a loud, rapid see-see-see-see. I saw one bird chasing another and knew they were Chipping Sparrows.

I have been watching the little male at my window feeder over the past few weeks picking up quick bites and then zipping away. And then yesterday he brought his fledgling to my window.

"Peek-a-boo" juvenile Chipper
The baby was a little shy at first but soon forgot me and continued to harry his parent with an insistent (and loud) food begging call!

Chipping sparrows are small, neat, active sparrows with a distinctive bright copper colored cap and black eyestripes and white eyebrows. They also have an all light gray belly and the typical brown tweed sparrow back. The juvenile is sort of a light tan with black and brown tweed stripes all over.

Chipping sparrows are found throughout most of North America. In Michigan they arrive early April from the more southern states. They have one to two broods and migrate south again in September and October with other sparrow species.
Poppa Chipper finding seeds for Jr. (out of focus, sorry)

Chipping sparrows get their common name from the sharp "chip" call that they make frequently as they forage and interact with others. Their song is a single noted trill made up of rapid repetitions of a "tssip" that sounds like a sewing machine or a car with break trouble.

Chipping sparrows eat mainly grass seeds and other annual plants seeds. During the breeding season the diet also includes up to 40% of bugs. At the feeders they enjoy sunflower, safflower, millet, and peanuts.

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