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THE CHIPPING SPARROWS ARE COMING, THE CHIPPING SPARROWS ARE COMING!!!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Thornius on March 29, 2006 10:04 AM
My friend Vicky, in Pascagoula, MS, sent in photos of what she thought was a group of Wrens or Siskins. What she had was a flock of Chipping Sparrows! They leave the northern US for the Winter and are among some of the first birds to return in Spring. Look for a tiny sparrow with plain, unstreaked, light-gray breast, a bright rusty red head cap and prominent black and white horizontal eye line.

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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by obywan59 on March 29, 2006 10:40 AM
I get chipping sparrows here too, but I haven't seen any yet. I did see a couple of fox sparrows though. It's the first time I've seen a pair of them. I usually just see one of them and just in the spring, although I saw one for the first time in the fall last year. I guess they are just passing through, they never stay very long.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by Thornius on March 29, 2006 02:19 PM
Chipping Sparrows were reported here in Nashville, TN today for the first time. I don't get them in my yard that I've seen but I have seen them at another house I used to live in and at a local nature center. I have seen ONE Fox Sparrow in my life, about 15 years ago at a recreation area near Nashville. Sparrows are SO hard to identify that I rarely bother to try. We have specialists on every species of birds on the field trips I go on. I let the Sparrow specialists point out the different species of Sparrows to me. I am one of the Woodpecker Specialists. Some species of sparrows are highly unique and easily recognized, like the Chipping Sparrows, but many of the species can be distinguished only by doing a DNA test, LOL.

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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by loz on March 31, 2006 11:25 PM
I think I saw one just now....I have a bell hanging on the clotheline that I bought at walmart that's made out of birdseed.

Well I thought it was just a plain old sparrow on it, when I saw it's head from around the side of the bell--it was red!!! [grin]

But it looks just like a sparrow other than that...
by Thornius on April 01, 2006 12:46 AM
Do a Google Image Search on Chipping Sparrow and see if that is what you saw.

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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by loz on April 01, 2006 01:09 AM
Hmmm, that wasn't it.....

It looked just like a sparrow but it's head was a darkish red color... [dunno]
by loz on April 01, 2006 04:16 AM
Okay, it came back but I didn't have my camera....it's a little smaller than a sparrow actually...it's driving me nuts. [nutz]
by Thornius on April 01, 2006 04:45 AM
Try House Finch, or Purple Finch. Look at the males of both species.

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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by loz on April 01, 2006 11:29 AM
Wow thorny, both of those look pretty similar to me.....but it really looks like one of them...I'm leaning towards the House Finch....Whatever it is, it's the first one I've noticed here before....usually I just have sparrows, starlings, cardinals, bluejays, mourning doves, mockingbirds, robins, the rare goldfinch, and hummers.

I think I need to keep a cheap pair of binocs outside on the backporch for times like this.

Thankyou! [thumb]
by slredmond on April 01, 2006 03:48 PM
Lots of red finch around here. Not a bright, cardinal red; the red is not as vibrant. No above-the-eye stripe like a sparrow. They like the same diet as the chicadees and goldfinch.

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Sandy R.
by slredmond on April 01, 2006 10:32 PM
Loz - is this your friend? Red house finch if so.
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I thought he was very polite in giving me both ends this morning! He looks a little irritated that I haven't been out to top off the feeder. [Roll Eyes]

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Sandy R.
by loz on April 02, 2006 01:46 AM
Hey I think that's it Sandy....I never see them around here....honestly that's the first one I've ever noticed....Good pictures!! My brother is in from Michigan right now! He lives in Mason...not sure if you are familiar with that or not....

I got a pic but it was too far away, my camera is only 3x optical so I had to use digital zoom after I took it that's why it's so blurry...but it looks the same to me.

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by slredmond on April 03, 2006 01:35 AM
Hi Loz - that's probably what you have there. We have quite a few, though not as numerous as the goldfinch. The reds are a little larger than the gold.

I'm in the Cereal City - Mason's not that far from us.

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Sandy R.
by Thornius on April 03, 2006 04:07 AM
That is a male House Finch or possibly a Purple Finch, Loz. Like you say, they are ALMOST identical. The difference is noticeable comparing the females of the two species. If no females are present it is REALLY hard to tell the difference. For every Goldfinch you get you will have 10 House or Purple Finches!!! [shocked] [shocked] [shocked] I counted no fewer than 6 purple finches both male and females at my feeders yesterday. (They nest in my Bradford Pear 30 feet away).

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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by Thornius on April 03, 2006 04:14 AM
Here is a picture of two of the House Finches, probably a mated pair, that visited my feeder yesterday 4-1-06. The male fuinch is on the left and the female on the right. And yes that IS a male Cardinal in the lower left background. Not a very good picture I'm afraid.

Headless House Finches (Male [L] Female [R])
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A bird in the hand......can sometimes be a mess.
by obywan59 on April 09, 2006 04:23 AM
I just saw my first chipping sparrow! [thumb] They may have been here earlier, but I've been busy and haven't been paying attention. [dunno]

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Terry

May the force be with you

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