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There are many different types of sparrows in Maine, but some are more common than others. In this guide, you’ll learn about 10 of the most common sparrows you might see in your backyard or out on a nature walk.
|4.7 to 6.7 inches
|7.1 to 9.4 inches
|0.4 to 1.9 ounces
The song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a small bird found in North America. It is a very common bird, and its song is often heard in the springtime. The song sparrow is a member of the sparrow family, which includes other birds such as the house sparrow and the white-crowned sparrow.
The song sparrow is a small bird. Its body is grayish brown on top and light gray on the underside. The bird has a long, thin bill and a streaked breast. The song sparrow’s song is a simple trill that can be heard for some distance.
The song sparrow is found in open areas such as fields, meadows, and edges of woods. It is a very common bird, and its song is often heard in the springtime. The song sparrow is a member of the sparrow family, which includes other birds such as the house sparrow and the white-crowned sparrow.
|4.7 to 5.9 inches
|0.4 to 0.6 ounces
The chipping sparrow is one of the most widespread and easily-recognized North American songbirds. These small birds are brownish-gray above, with a streaked breast and white belly. They have a reddish cap on their head, and their wings are edged with white. Chipping sparrows are found in open woodlands, scrublands, and even suburban areas across the continent.
In Maine, chipping sparrows can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, edges, clearings, and even backyards. These adaptable little birds will nest in just about any suitable location. Look for them near the ground in trees or shrubs, or even on the ground itself.
Chipping sparrows are seed eaters, and they will also consume some insects. You can attract them to your yard by providing a bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds. These birds are also drawn to areas with water, so a small birdbath or fountain will help to attract them.
Chipping sparrows are relatively easy to identify by their song. They sing a simple trill that sounds like “chippy chippy chip”. This song is often given in a series of 3 to 5 notes, but can sometimes be longer. The males sing to proclaim their territory and attract mates, while the females sing to let the males know where they are.
|6.3 to 7.1 inches
|8 to 9 inches
|0.8 to 1.2 ounces
If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a white-throated sparrow in Maine, you’re in for a treat. These beautiful birds are relatively rare in the state, but they can be found in certain areas if you know where to look.
There are two main populations of white-throated sparrows in Maine. The first is found along the coast, while the second resides in the northern part of the state. Both groups tend to stick to wooded areas near sources of water.
One of the best places to see white-throated sparrows is Acadia National Park. The park is home to a large number of these birds, and they can often be seen near hiking trails and in open meadows.
If you’re interested in seeing a white-throated sparrow for yourself, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. These birds are relatively shy, but they can be coaxed out into the open if you make some noise and wait patiently. With a little luck, you’ll be able to spot one of these beautiful creatures on your next trip to Maine.
|5.1 to 6.3 inches
|0.7 to 1 ounces
Vesper sparrows are one of the most widespread sparrow species in North America, and they can be found in nearly every state. They’re also a fairly common sight in Maine, where they’re often seen foraging in fields and meadows.
These small birds have brown upperparts, white underparts, and a distinctive grayish-brown streaked breast. Males and females look similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Vesper sparrows typically measure between 5 and 6 inches long.
While vesper sparrows will eat a variety of seeds and insects, their diet consists mostly of grasses. In the spring and summer months, they primarily eat insects such as beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.
These sparrows typically nest on the ground, in an area with plenty of grasses or other vegetation. The female builds the nest, which is made of grasses, leaves, and other plant material. She will lay a clutch of 3 to 5 eggs, which hatch after about two weeks.
|4.3 to 5.9 inches
|7.9 to 8.7 inches
|0.5 to 1 ounces
The savannah sparrow is one of the most widespread and easily recognizable sparrows in North America. It is a small bird with a streaked brown back, light-colored breast, and long tail.
Its head is marked with a distinctive orange-brown stripe above the eye, which extends to the base of the bill. The wings are also streaked with brown and have two white bars. The underside of the tail is white with a black center stripe.
The savannah sparrow is found in open habitats such as fields, meadows, and marshes. It forages for insects on the ground, often using its long bill to probe into the soil. In winter, this bird forms large flocks and can be seen in many different types of habitats, including urban areas.
The savannah sparrow is a relatively common bird, and its population is stable. However, this species may be at risk in some parts of its range due to habitat loss and degradation.
|4.3 to 4.5 inches
|0.5 to 0.7 ounces
The grasshopper sparrow is a small bird that can be found in open fields and grasslands across North America. In Maine, they are most commonly seen in the spring and summer months.
These sparrows are reddish-brown on top with a light-colored belly. They have a long, thin beak that they use to eat insects. Grasshopper sparrows are usually around 4–6 inches long.
These birds make a “chirp” sound, which is how they got their name. You might hear them before you see them!
Grasshopper sparrows build their nests on the ground, usually in tall grasses or weeds. The female lays 3–5 eggs, which hatch after about two weeks.
The young sparrows leave the nest after about another two weeks. They are able to fly and fend for themselves at this point.
|4.7 to 5.9 inches
|0.4 to 0.5 ounces
The field sparrow is a small songbird that is commonly found in open fields and meadows across North America. In Maine, these sparrows are most often seen in the spring and summer months.
These sparrows have a brown back with a white belly, and their wings are streaked with black and white. The males and females look similar, but the males tend to be slightly larger.
Field sparrows are mostly ground-dwelling birds, but they will also perch in trees and bushes. They build their nests on the ground, hidden among the grasses.
These sparrows primarily eat insects, but they will also eat seeds and berries. In the winter months, when insect food is scarce, they will visit bird feeders.
The field sparrow is a common bird across North America, but its population has declined in recent years. Habitat loss and fragmentation are the main threats to these sparrows.
If you see a field sparrow in your yard or on a nature hike, be sure to take a moment to appreciate this little songbird.
|4.7 to 5.9 inches
|7.1 to 7.5 inches
|0.5 to 0.8 ounces
Swamp sparrows are year-round residents in Maine. They can be found in wetland habitats, including marshes, bogs, and wet meadows. In the winter, they often move to drier areas near streams or ponds.
Swamp sparrows are small birds with streaked brown upperparts and pale gray underparts. They have an orange-brown patch on their breast, and their face is marked with a dark line through the eye.
These birds eat insects and other small invertebrates. They sometimes catch their prey by swooping down from a perch.
Swamp sparrows build cup-shaped nests out of grasses and other plant material. The female lays 3–5 eggs, which are incubated for about two weeks. The young birds fledge (leave the nest) after about another two weeks.
|6.8 to 8.2 inches
|8 to 11 inches
|1.1 to 1.8 ounces
Maine’s Eastern towhee is a beautiful bird with striking black and white plumage. The male has a black head, back, and tail, with white underparts. The female is similar, but with brownish-black instead of black. Both sexes have red eyes.
The Eastern towhee is found in woodlands throughout Maine. It feeds on insects, berries, and seeds. In the spring and summer, you may see them scratching in the leaf litter for food. They nest in trees or shrubs, usually about 5–7 feet off the ground.
If you’re lucky enough to see an Eastern towhee in Maine, you’re sure to be impressed by its beauty!
|4.7 to 5 inches
|6.5 to 7.7 inches
The first confirmed breeding record of the saltmarsh sparrow in Maine was in 2009, when a pair nested near the Portland International Jetport. It is believed that this species breeds in small numbers throughout the state, primarily along the coast.
This sparrow typically nests in coastal marshes, often in areas that are inundated with tidal waters. The nest is a small cup of grasses and other plant material, placed on the ground among vegetation.
The saltmarsh sparrow is a small bird, with a streaked brown back and a white breast. The head is striped with gray and brown, and there is a yellow patch on the face just above the bill. This sparrow gets its name from its habit of living in salt marshes, where it feeds on small invertebrates.
This bird is declining in numbers due to habitat loss and degradation. In order to help this species, it is important to protect and restore coastal marshes.
If you want more sparrows in your backyard, try planting some native grasses and weeds. White-throated, chipping, field, song, tree, Vesper, and fox sparrows all eat weed seeds. You can also put out a little dish of millet or thistle seed to attract juncos and goldfinches.
In the winter months when these finches are looking for a place to roost at night, evergreens provide good shelter. Try planting cedar, fir, hemlock, pine, or spruce trees to give them a place to stay.
You may also want to try putting up a nest box specifically designed for sparrows. Make sure the entrance hole is the right size (1-1/8 inches in diameter for white-throated sparrows, for example) and that the box is mounted at the correct height (6 to 10 feet off the ground for song sparrows). You can find plans for building your own nest box or purchase one ready-made.
In general, sparrows prefer open areas with some trees or shrubs nearby. They like to perch on top of bushes to sing their songs and look out for predators.
If you have a lot of dense trees in your yard, you may not see as many sparrows. However, if you have a mix of trees and open space, you’re likely to attract a variety of sparrow species.
Sparrows are one of the most common bird species in Maine. If you’re interested in adding some feathered friends to your backyard, consider using the tips outlined above. And don’t forget to use our pictures to help you identify the different types of sparrows you might encounter.
Featured Image Credit: magaliiee13, Pixabay
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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