Bird of the Week # 38

Chipping Sparrow

The Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) is a species of New World sparrow, a passerine bird in the family Passerellidae. It is widespread, fairly tame, and common across most of its North American range. The male chipping sparrows start arriving at the breeding grounds from March (in more southern areas, such as Texas) to mid-May (in southern Alberta and northern Ontario). The female arrives one to two weeks later, and the male starts singing soon after to find and court a mate. After pair formation, nesting begins (within about two weeks of the female’s arrival). Overall, the breeding season is from March till about August. The chipping sparrow breeds in grassy, open woodland clearings and shrubby grass fields. The nest is normally above ground but below 6 meters (20 ft) in height, and about 1 meter (3.3 ft) on average, in a tree (usually a conifer, especially those that are young, short, and thick) or bush. The nest itself is constructed by the female in about four days. It consists of a loose platform of grass and rootlets and open inner cup of plant fiber and animal hair. The chipping sparrow lays a clutch of two to seven pale blue to white eggs with black, brown, or purple markings. They are about 17 by 12 millimeters (0.67 by 0.47 in), and incubated by the female for 10 to 15 days. The chipping sparrow is often brood parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds, usually resulting in the nest being abandoned.

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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