- Author: Robert J Keiffer
The "chipping" trill of a very small sparrow drifts in the air amongst the oak woodlands here at the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center during spring and early summer months. This distinctive call of the Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) announces the territory of a male who is setting up or has an established breeding territory.
The small size, notched tail, plain breast, and bright rufous cap all help to identify this bird species. This bird is quite common throughout North America, but restricts its winter range to the very southern portions of the U.S. and Mexico. For their nesting habitat they prefer grassy woodlands and certain agriculture settings with woody edges ...as well as back-yards. The nests are typically a small, flimsy one of grass material, and is usually located within four feet of the ground in a shrub or tree.