Common Summer Sparrow
The Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) is a common summer resident of New Brunswick. It breeds here, usually arriving in May. It is a resident of most of Canada and the United States. It winters in the southern US and Mexico.
The Chipping Sparrow is a slightly smaller sparrow, being the same size as a Savannah Sparrow and a bit smaller than the Song Sparrow. The Chipping Sparrow is 14 cm long (5.5") and the Song Sparrow is 17 cm (6.25"). The Chipping Sparrow is lighter in colour with no streaks on its gray breast. It has a rufous cap and a gray face, nape and rump. It has a distinctive black line through the eye which extends to the beak. Its legs are pink and it has 2 wing bars. Its song is very fast pulsating trill. Its alarm call is where it gets its name, a distinctive 'chip'. Everybody should be familiar with this call note since this is a common bird around residential areas. It enjoys open areas around woodlands and parks. It is often seen in small flocks.
The Chipping Sparrow builds a flimsy cup-shaped nest of grass and stems, lined with hair in shrubbery or a tangle of vines. It lays 2 to 5 blue green eggs, with dark brown, blue and black marks. Incubation lasts from 11 to 14 days and is carried out by the female. She develops a fluid-filled patch on her breast which enables good heat transfer to her eggs.
Chipping Sparrows are friendly, welcome residents of our yards and recreational areas. Their population is stable. They feed on the ground and eat insects and seeds. Take notice the next time you see a sparrow on the ground around your house or recreational area. It will probably be a Chipping Sparrow.