The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a familiar and widespread bird found throughout North America. Adults typically measure around 5.5 to 6.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 7.5 to 8.7 inches. They weigh between 0.4 and 0.8 ounces, with males being slightly larger than females. Song Sparrows are brownish-gray above, with a heavily streaked brown and white breast and a prominent brown stripe through the eye. Their wings are reddish-brown with two prominent white wing bars.
Song Sparrows are primarily non-migratory, with some populations in the northern parts of their range migrating southward for the winter. In general, Song Sparrows are year-round residents in the western part of their range, while those in the eastern part of their range may migrate to the southeastern United States or Central America. Migration typically occurs at night, with individuals traveling alone or in loose flocks.
The Song Sparrow is a common bird found in a variety of habitats, including brushy fields, open woodlands, and urban parks. They are known for their sweet, melodious song, which they use to defend their territory and attract mates. Their songs vary widely depending on the region, with each individual bird having its own unique song. They also have a variety of calls, including a sharp, metallic chink and a series of high-pitched chips.
During the breeding season, male Song Sparrows establish territories and defend them vigorously against intruders. They will sing from perches within their territory and engage in physical displays such as wing flicks and tail pumps to deter potential rivals. Females build nests on the ground or in low shrubs, using grasses, twigs, and other plant materials. They typically lay 3-5 eggs, which hatch after about two weeks.
Overall, the Song Sparrow is a delightful and charismatic bird that is beloved by many birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Its sweet song and striking plumage make it easy to identify, and its adaptability to a variety of habitats makes it a common sight in many parts of North America. Whether you encounter a Song Sparrow in a city park or a remote wilderness area, its cheerful presence is sure to bring a smile to your face.