About The Song Sparrow
Song Sparrows are the most common, widespread, and most geographically variable of all the birds found in North America. It has 34 recognized sub-species that have varying appearances from very large, long billed members to small, tiny-billed specimens. The Song Sparrow is 5 to 7 long with heavy brown streaks on its white under parts and a very prominent spot at the center of its breast. It has a long rounded tail, relatively short wings, and a pale stripe at the center of its crown. Sub-species may vary in terms of color and size but they all share the same rounded tail. Both male and female Song Sparrows look alike.
The Song Sparrow Nesting Preferences
Not all Song Sparrows are migratory; however, in those that are, the male Song Sparrow arrives ahead of the females on the breeding ground to start looking for a good spot to build a nest. Upon arriving, the male Song Sparrow then starts defining his territory by singing his song from three or four prominent perches. This can start as early as February.
When the female birds arrive the male Song Sparrow then chooses a partner and tries to get her attention by performing his mating ritual. Once, a partnership is forged, then the male Song Sparrow and his mate will start moving around the territory as a pair.
The female then proceeds to build a cup-shaped nest on the ground under a tuft of grass, a bush, or a brush pile. While the male brings the nesting materials, it is the female who does the building from grasses and occasional leaves.
From the moment nest-building starts, the male Song Sparrow begins to sing again to dispel invaders. The female then lays 3 to 5 greenish white eggs at an average of one egg a day. The female also does the incubation of the eggs which lasts up to 12 to 13 days. Within 10 days, the young birds will leave the nest even if they are barely able to fly. At this point they become the responsibility of the male Song Sparrow. The female then starts laying some more eggs. Within a breeding season, the female Song Sparrow raises up to 3 broods. Both parents continue to feed their young for another 20 days. Within a week following this phase, the female Song Sparrow could be laying the next batch of eggs again.
Building a Birdhouse For The Song Sparrow
Song Sparrows, being ground nesters are not interested in building their nests in cavities of any kind including a nest box. This is perhaps why there are no birdhouses that have been built specifically for the Song Sparrow. The next best thing, if one really wanted to attempt it, would be to use the bird house of a similar type of bird species.
The Song Sparrow Mating Habits
During courtship, the male Song Sparrow swoops down at the female as he normally does with intruders but the female does not flee. The male then flies from shrub to shrub with fluttering wings, its neck outstretched and head and tail held high, singing at each stop.
The female continues to ignore the males swooping down motions until the male starts to accept this behavior and the two become a pair. The female then proceeds to build the nest on the ground hidden by a mound of grass or a brush pile. The pair may use this nest more than once as they remain mated through successive seasons.
Once he has found his mate, the male Song Sparrow reduces his singing to only about ten songs per hour.
The Song Sparrow Feeding Preferences
Song Sparrows feed on the ground foraging for seeds, insects, and some fruit. To attract these birds to feeders, you may scatter some seeds on the ground.
Interesting Song Sparrow Facts
The name Song Sparrow was given to this species of birds in recognition of the fact that these birds sing as many as 20 different tunes with as many as 1,000 improvised variations on the basic theme.