Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chipping Sparrow: May Backyard Sparrows, Regina, SK (1)

Several Chipping Sparrows have pecked around our yard in Regina, Saskatchewan, this month, and that's the first backyard Saskatchewan bird for my May list.

Chipping Sparrows, to me, look like American Tree Sparrows — or vice versa. Both have sparrow brown markings and red heads, but while Tree Sparrows have red lines by their eyes, Chipping Sparrows have black lines. (Yes, I know; a proper ornithologist would provide a more detailed, technical explanations and mention details like the Tree Sparrow's half yellow beak, but a proper ornithologist, I am not.)

Chipping Sparrow. Photo © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
The Chipping Sparrow, with its red cap. © SB 

The Chipping Sparrow winters in the southern U.S., and summers in the rest of the U.S. and in Canada. Sensible migration!

I was intrigued to learn that some call them the "Hairbird" because of their habit of lining their nests with hair — smart birds! Audubon Birds (the app that's linked to eBird) says horse hair was a former favourite, but as Chipping Sparrows rarely see horses these days, they have been seen to "pluck strands from the coat of a sleeping dog." (I must brush my yellow dog Ginger more; when I brushed her a few days ago, I put her shed hair in a cleft of lilac branches and it soon vanished — though I doubt this lovely redhead took that prize.)

What is this? Chipping Sparrow .
Location: Backyard, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  
Photo date: May 17, 2013.


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