The chipping sparrow [Spizella passerina] frequents roadsides, bird feeders, mountain meadows and grassy fields across the west. The male guards the female as she builds a rather flimsy nest that often can be seen through and provides little insulation for its young. After 3-4 days of building, 2-7 pale blue to white, lightly streaked eggs are incubated for 10-15 days.

During the breeding season the female develops a bare patch on her abdomen that fills with fluid. This allows efficient transfer of heat to the eggs. The nestlings leave the nest in approximately 12 days and begin eating seeds and small insects as a mainstay of their diet.

An early naturalist description of the chipping sparrow in 1929 was “the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

Populations have declined by 38 percent between 1966 and 2015.

When in a group, chipping sparrows are referred to as a “tournament” of sparrows. For more images visit http://abirdsings