How to Identify and Attract Chipping Sparrows

Bring this cheery summer visitor into your backyard with our top tips for identifying and attracting chipping sparrows.

Where to Find Chipping Sparrows

Chipping sparrows are among the most common sparrows in North America. They’re summer visitors for most, reaching all the way up to Alaska. They winter or spend the whole year in southern states, from California, east to Florida and north to Maryland. Learn all about sparrows: what birders should know.

What Do Chipping Sparrows Look Like?

You know you’re looking at a chipping sparrow by its chestnut cap and black eye line, though it does lose the cap and the eye line fades slightly in winter. Males and females look alike. Learn how to identify white-throated sparrows.

Chipping Sparrow Nests

While the females build the nests, the males stand guard. Like many sparrows, they’re a bit picky about where they build; the female might start several nests before she settles on a single location. The female typically lays two to seven pale blue eggs and will raise one to three broods in a single season.

What Do Chipping Sparrows Eat?

These are some of the most low-maintenance feeder birds, because they graze on whatever they can find on the ground. So keep those feeders full—the sparrows appreciate anything that falls down. Here’s the best way to attract birds that don’t visit bird feeders.

Backyard Tip: Plant grasses if you want to support these sparrows. Native and ornamental grasses offer plenty of seed for this ground bird.

Look-Alike Winter Sparrow

If you think you’ve seen a chipping sparrow in winter, you might want to take a second look. You may be seeing an American tree sparrow—a winter visitor throughout the central and northern U.S. The tree sparrow also has a rufous cap, but it summers in northern Canada and Alaska. Check out simple tips to attract winter birds.