A December Chipping Sparrow

During the breeding season, a report of a Chipping Sparrow is generally not a cause for excitement.  However after September, these small sparrows largely disappear from Eastern New York, replaced in late October by their larger, arctic cousins the American Tree Sparrow.

On December 12, I was on my way to run some errands.  As I opened my back door, I noticed a small bird on the feeder.  Quickly realizing that it wasn’t one of the normal hoard of House Sparrows that are normally there, I quickly went back inside (hoping the bird didn’t fly off!), grabbed my binoculars and there on the feeder was of all things, a Chipping Sparrow in December!

Now I went through my list of other possibilities and quickly ruled them out.  The dark eye-line pretty much eliminated the even rarer possibility of Clay-Colored Sparrow and the ultra rare Brewer’s Sparrow.

The bird was present again on December 13, but appears to be in poor shape.  The bird spent nearly all day at feeder, hardly moving (but feeding the whole time).  I last saw it at dusk, when it flew off for the night with a small group of Dark-eyed Juncos.

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3 responses to “A December Chipping Sparrow

  1. Hello there, this is off-topic for a moment as it’s my first visit to your blog and I’m completely geeking out over it. I was searching for reviews of ‘Thoreau on Birds’ which I have been reading, came across your review, then my eye caught your link to Southern Adk Audubon which is local to me! Then I realized your name was familiar (maybe from ebird or if you post in the Hudson-Mohawk yahoo group). It’s also nice to realize there’s another birder in a general 50-ish mile radius around my age (I was born in ’82)!

    Sounds like the chippy might not make it, but what an awesome sighting in the bitterly cold of winter up here!

    • Yup, you have likely seen my name a lot on HM Birds and E-bird and especially this time of year will find me roaming around Ft. Edward or Stillwater in search of waterfowl and other good winter birds.

      Looks like I need to spruce the blog up a bit 🙂

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