Date: 6/8/19 5:21 pm From: <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] Chipping Sparrow fledglings out and about now
"Out and about" is one of those phrases that, when I say it out loud, tends to make people guess that I'm from Canada. But no, I'm just from northern Minnesota, though I closer to Winnipeg than Duluth.
Anyway, the season's first batch of CHIPPING SPARROW fledglings are now fully flight-capable. I flushed a couple today while trying to locate VESPER SPARROW nests north of Corvallis. Some young Vesper Sparrows from the season's first broods have "fledged" in the sense of having left the nest, but at this point they're more "hoppers" than "flyers."
This brings us into the season that tends to produce a lot of reports of "Brewer's Sparrows." I've personally never seen a Brewer's Sparrow in Benton or Polk County, despite having spent hundreds if not thousands of field hours in the most likely habitat. I've seen l*o*t*s of juvenile Chipping Sparrows that could easily be mistaken for Brewer's Sparrows.
If you think you're seeing Brewer's Sparrows in the mid-Willamette Valley, any time between now and fall migration, please try to get a photo, and/or note details very carefully. There are a lot of sight records from this season in eBird, but very few with any documentation. I don't question that a few strays might show up in late summer, as eastern Oregon birds start to disperse from sagebrush habitats. But juvenile Chipping Sparrows are more variable than the books show. Since I see adult Chipping Sparrows attending to these juvies, I feel pretty confident in calling them Chippers even if sometimes they look kind of like Brewer's.