Apr 12 2009

Chipper’s back in town

Published by at 7:43 am under Migration,Songbirds

Chipping Sparrow (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)Chipping sparrows are unremarkable birds except for the one day per year when they come back to western Pennsylvania. At my house that day was last Wednesday.

Easily recognized by their springtime rusty cap and black and white eye stripes, they arrive with the first wave of warblers when the Spring Beauties are in bloom. They don’t have far to come. Some of them spend the winter in Florida.

I usually find chipping sparrows singing in grassy areas so I used to think of them as field birds but they are actually “edge-y,” preferring a mix of trees and forest openings. I remember how surprised I was when I found a family of them near a hiking trail in the heavily forested Laurel Mountains. Clearly the width of a dirt road is enough of an opening to please them. They like the suburbs too, often nesting in ornamental evergreens.

Now that I know the chippers are back I’m likely to find a Louisiana waterthrush and a yellow-throated warbler at Raccoon Creek State Park. Time for a field trip.

Happy Easter!

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

One response so far

One Response to “Chipper’s back in town”

  1. endmenton 13 Apr 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Chipping Sparrows haven’t arrived here in the Upper Delaware River area yet but I look for them every day. You have inspired me to go out and look for some other visitors.

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