Sorting Sparrows: Chipping Sparrow

In suburban neighborhoods throughout much of New England, one is likely to find a resident pair of American Robins or Chipping Sparrows, or both. Robins are classic yard birds who are hard to miss, given their larger size, worm-nabbing skills, and sing-song voices. The smaller Chipping Sparrows, on the other hand, go under the radar of many non-birders. In breeding plumage, the Chipping Sparrow sports a bright rufous cap, black eye-lines, and an unmarked gray chest.

Photo of Chipping Sparrow

Whereas Song Sparrows sing complex songs and Field Sparrow songs resemble bouncing balls, Chipping Sparrows give simple, loud trills. Here's an example of their rapid series of dry chips:

 

By early May in many areas, Chipping Sparrows are so common that, once you tune into their trills, it can be difficult not be in earshot of one or two of these sharp-looking birds.

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