Chipping Sparrow Collecting Nesting Materials in the Wasatch Mountains

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Chipping Sparrow collecting nesting materials, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahChipping Sparrow collecting nesting materials – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A few weeks ago while up in the Wasatch Mountains I watched and photographed a Chipping Sparrow that was busy collecting nesting materials.

The angle of light I had wasn’t the best for most of the time I photographed this sparrow walking around on the ground collecting fine materials but I did like this one photo despite its flaws. I would have preferred to have the sparrow facing more towards me instead of away from me but this photo showed the nesting materials in the bill quite well. I presume this is a female since they build the nests while the males guard them.

When the Chipping Sparrow had a beak full of nesting materials it flew up and into the tree I was parked under and I hope that is where she is building her nest, they only take about 4 days to complete the nest so by now she may be brooding young. I hope to go back up into the mountains and observe this tree for any chick feeding activity soon.

I enjoyed my brief time observing and photographing this Chipping Sparrow.

Life is good.


A few Chipping Sparrow Facts:

  • Chipping Sparrows are medium sized sparrows, with long tails, black-streaked backs, pale gray underparts, white throats, black lines through their eyes and they have rufous caps. During their breeding season their bills are black and during the nonbreeding season they are pink.
  • Chipping Sparrows can be year round residents or migrate short distances within their range. Throughout the year they can be found in all the lower 48 states and Alaska.
  • Chipping Sparrows prefer open woodlands, grasslands, forest edges, brushy pastures, gardens and parks.
  • Chipping Sparrows eat insects and seeds and they prefer to feed on the ground.
  • Chipping Sparrows lay 2 to 5 eggs which hatch in 11 to 14 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous. Females develop a bare patch on their abdomens that fill with fluid during the breeding season which is thought to allow the transfer of heat from their bodies to the eggs.
  • A flock of Chipping Sparrows can be called a “tournament” of sparrows.
  • Chipping Sparrows can live up to 9 years.


  1. Elephants Child June 30, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I do love collective nouns – and a tournament is new to me.
    Thank you. And thanks for featuring this hard-working charmer.

  2. Marty K June 30, 2018 at 11:49 am

    She’s such a pretty bird. Thank you for using your skills and artistry to share a LBJ. 😃

  3. Glen Fox June 30, 2018 at 8:58 am

    I’m always fascinated by the various terms that are applied to flocks of various bird species like a “tournament”. Would you please share the source of this information. Thank you for educating us!

  4. jo smith June 30, 2018 at 8:00 am

    In Arkansas we only have them in the summer, when I lived in Houston they visited my feeder in the winter. Sweet little sparrows, wish we did have them here year around.

  5. Bob mcpherson June 30, 2018 at 6:55 am


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