Ornithologists recognize more than 30 subspecies of the remarkably adaptable Song Sparrow. Because song sparrows seem to learn the structure of their music from other song sparrows, local “dialects” are common.
Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia.
Length: 5-1/2 to 7 inches.
Wingspan: 8-1/4 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Coarsely streaked, dark on back and light underneath, with streaks on its sides that join to form a central breast spot. Its crown is brown with a narrow stripe, and a broader grayish stripe over each eye.
Nest: A well-hidden ground or low nest of grasses, weed stems, leaves and bark fibers lined with finer materials. The three to five eggs laid inside are a dark-splotched greenish white.
Voice: Three clear notes of “sweet, sweet, sweet” followed by shorter notes and a trill. Its distinctive call note is “chimp.”
Habitat: Low, open, weedy or brushy areas around farms and residential areas.
Diet: In fall and winter, small weed and grass seeds. In summer, lots of insects.
Backyard Favorites: A ground-level tray feeder with seeds, located near brush.
Bird Song & Range Map
Listen to the Song Sparrow’s song and learn where to spot them!
Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.