Chipping Sparrow

Not Surprisingly, the Chipping Sparrow “Chips”

Another species that stands out in this soundscape is the Chipping Sparrow. You’ll often hear its dry chip notes and its song, a long, chipping rattle that remains at the same pitch. This is a great one to get to know well because it can be confused with several other bird species.

As Found in the Field

Watch this video of a Chipping Sparrow and its trilling song. Notice how the beak stays open during the trill while the bottom part of the beak vibrates rapidly.

Benjamin M Clock/Macaulay Library
[Chipping Sparrow singing while perched on a branch]
End of transcript

How to Talk About It

TempoTrill
PitchDoesn’t really change during the song
RhythmA single four-second-long trill
RepetitionDozens of very brief, nearly identical chip notes in the trill
Tone QualityLong, dry, and mechanical

Learn the Sound Pattern

Listen for the distinct trill pattern.

Arthur A Allen + Peter Paul Kellogg/Macaulay Library

Song Spotlight

Again, let’s listen to the soundscape, this time with the Chipping Sparrow in mind.

Photo: Kevin J. McGowan. Audio: Gregory F Budney/Macaulay Library
The Chipping Sparrow stands out because of its reddish-brown cap.

They can be seen in places with trees and expanses of grassy areas.

Sparrows can be tricky, but one tool for telling them apart is getting to know their song.

Can you tell that this species is a triller?

A trill is a series of similar phrases, repeated rapidly on one pitch at a steady rate.

The trill is long and dry, evenly spaced and almost sounds mechanical and rattling.

[Birds singing and calling]

When you look at the Chipping Sparrow in the spectrogram, you can see that it has rapidly repeating
notes that remain at about the same pitch.

That pitch is higher than the robin and the chickadee.
End of transcript

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