Chipping sparrow

Chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina).

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There’s a new bird at the feeders, a chipping sparrow. Birds of New Jersey reports that chipping sparrows are migrating birds, to southern states, Central America, and Mexico.  Some of them spend summers in New Jersey. So, the dark-eyed juncos have left New Jersey, and the chipping sparrows have come back. This is the last week of April.

Another LBJ (little brown job) identified. I’m making progress.

According to Birds of New Jersey, chipping sparrows have a clear gray chest, rusty crown, white eyebrow with a black eye line, and two faint wing bars. Males and females look alike. Juveniles look similar but have a streaked chest and lack the rusty cap. Juveniles may be difficult to distinguish from other LBJs, unless they are with the mature chipping sparrows.

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Chipping sparrows are often seen on the ground beneath feeders eating dropped seeds, as the one above is doing. The dark-eyed juncos were ground feeders as well. Birds of New Jersey explains that chipping sparrows get their name from the male’s fast chip call.

Welcome, chipping sparrows. I hope to see many of you this summer.

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