In Maryland, Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) signify spring. Forget Punxsutawney Phil — Chipping Sparrows are the real deal.
Within a few weeks of their arrival, the Dark-eyed Juncos depart to their summer breeding grounds, insects emerge, and voilà, spring has arrived. Before long, Tree Swallows arrive, Hummingbirds, Gray Catbirds, Warblers, and all the species you need to gökotta.
Their plumage is striking and confusingly variable. Early spring and summer Chipping sparrows have a distinct smart appearance, but their plumage in late summer can be confusing.
Chipping Sparrows nest, in trees, but can also nest on the ground. Clutches are typically made up of 3-4 eggs, and they usually raise two broods per year.
Chipping Sparrows have a distinct “chipping” call. This can be a slow chip, often described as a zeeee call, but to be honest, to me, that doesn’t sound like a “zeeee” — I can see/hear it, but…to me, it literally sounds like a chip, chip. The chips combine in machine gun-like fashion making for an impressive call.
Have a listen:
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