Chipping Sparrows

This crisp, bright morning also seemed to bring out a good many other birds around our neighborhood, with more activity than in quite a while. One of the happiest pieces of news was to find about a dozen Chipping Sparrows foraging in the grass of our front yard. As I walked by them, they all sprayed up from the ground into small trees and bushes, along with several Yellow-rumped Warblers – and two landed in the bare limbs of a redbud tree, where I could see them well.

A Chipping Sparrow is a lively, pretty sparrow with a brown-streaked back, smooth gray breast and belly, a black line through the eye with a white eyebrow above it – and a crown of bright rusty-red. Some are here year-round, and through the summer their long, level trills are among the most familiar birdsong. At this time of year they’re not singing, but more may arrive from a little further north, and through the late fall and winter season they feed and move in flocks of various sizes. Usually on walks in late fall and winter I pass at least a few gatherings along the roadside and in grassy yards, where – as I walk by – they scatter up and into trees and shrubs like leaves blown up into the air.

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