Song  Sparrow

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Emberizidae
Subfamily: Emberizinae
Genus: Melospiza

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma  form, kind, species
Swiss-German emmeritz bunting or
     yellow hammer
Gr. melos  a song;
Gr. spiza  a finch
La. melodia  melody

Song Sparrow, F. C. Hennessey

F.C. Hennessey

Six inches long. Brown and white streaks back across the crown, brown and black speckles in streaks over its breast and sides of its white underside. Brown and black wing feathers with white borders. Gray tail.

Inhabits woodlands, groves, wetland edges, open country, farms and vacant lots in towns from southern Alaska across Canada below 60 latitude to Newfoundland and throughout the U.S. to central Mexico. Most migrate short distances, some remain resident year around.

USGS Song Sparrow Map

Builds a well concealed nest of grass, rootlets, bark shreds and leaves lined with fine grass and hair in trees, bushes, trunk cavities, wood heaps and in vines against sides of houses, usually near or on the ground, sometimes up to six or eight feet, sometimes in open fields.

Lays four to six, more or less, white speckled eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another week and a half. Raises two or even three broods in a season.


Eats grains, insects and fruit.

Pumps its tail in flight and characteristically disappears into bushes. Always flies downward when alarmed. Likes birdbaths; get one.

Spirited singer who sings many melodies at all times of day and night in fair or foul weather. F. Schulyler Mathews describes the Song Sparrow as, "The flower of his family, a musician of exceptional ability."

Song Sparrow, Earnest Seton Thompson

Earnest Seton Thompson

The Phoebe platform (below) which may be suitable (or may not, depending on the circumstances) for Song Sparrows has a 6" by 6" base, approximately a 6" ceiling, an open front and partially open sides. 

Gilbert H. Trafton, the author of "Bird Friends", 1916, recommended
platforms open on all four sides for Thrashers, Catbirds and Song Birds.

Chances are slim of attracting song sparrows to any particular shelf, but a pair might like the open cavity in the right spot. Mount low maybe behind a bush so the parents can approach the nest unnoticed, higher if predator cats may be about, amidst a vine covered wall would be ideal.


Song Sparrow Song, F. Schuyler Mathews



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