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Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) Emberizidae

Blue Mountain National Recreation Area, MT
May 13, 2016
Robert Niese

These charming birds are relatively abundant and widespread throughout North America and are a quite underappreciated bird. Here in the west, they are generally only found in or around coniferous forests and pineland savannas, whereas their eastern cousins are a much more urban or suburban bird. Their song is a loud trill which, often to the chagrin of field ornithologists, varies substantially among individuals and can easily be confused with the trills of Dark-eyed Juncos, towhees, and many species of warblers.

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) Emberizidae

Burch Mountain, Wenatchee National Forest, WA
April 27, 2013
Robert Niese

White-crowned Sparrows are an abundant migrant (sometimes resident) of the PNW with a very easy-to-identify song. If you’re just starting out learning to identify bird song, try your luck with the local sparrows first.

Sage Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) Emberizidae

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, WA
April 7, 2013
Robert Niese

Washington is home to the northernmost populations of Sage Sparrows in North America. These birds are sagebrush and chaparral obligates and are threatened throughout the state as these ecosystems get converted into range lands.