I’d never much considered the fact that there must be different kind of sparrows beyond house sparrow, though I knew they weren’t native, I didn’t quite know what kinds of other sparrows were around.

I’ve become rather fond of native sparrows. The pink bill of a field sparrow still makes me smile. I rejoiced at seeing 1 large, red fox sparrow under the bird feeder this winter. And I thrilled to see the chipping sparrows flying back and forth with nesting material when I went birding on my lunch break last spring.

On my daily walk back from the car, something stopped me. I backtracked and looked around, and saw a tiny chipping sparrow shaking its head like a Jack Russell terrier with a bone. The mighty mini bird thrashed a green caterpillar onto the black parking lot over and over again, looking up every so often before returning to the tenderizing.

It flew off and left me with a pile of questions. Is this a typical behavior or just an aggressive chipping sparrow? Why does it do this? Was that actually a caterpillar? Was the food for its nestlings, and easier to tear apart if it is smashed into a hard surface repeatedly? Would I see it do this again? Where is its nest? How does it manage to find food with a million house sparrows around?

A productive minute of observation, endless questions.

Chipping Sparrow
Photo by Fir0002. Shared under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Share Alike.

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