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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Species Code: SPPA

This is an "at risk" species

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

The Chipping Sparrow is a common breeder in dry, open forests throughout eastern Washington. In the Olympics, uncommon breeder at Hurricane Ridge, and northeast to Dungeness. Common in the Fort Lewis area (Pierce County); and locally breeding in forest clearings in Pierce, Thurston, and southwestern King Counties. Common in open, grassy farmlands in Clark County. Also occurs at high elevations in eastern Whatcom and Skagit Counties; and along the southwestern Cascade crest and high on Mount Rainier. Common but declining breeder in the San Juan Islands. Local and usually rate at other western Washington sites along the west slope of the Cascades.

Core zones were steppe zones at the margins of the Columbia Basin, and Oak, Ponderosa Pine, Interior Douglas-fir, Grand Fir, Subalpine Fir, Alpine/Parkland, Willamette Valley, and Woodland/Prairies Mosaic zones. Peripheral in the Interior Redcedar and Interior Western Hemlock zones, and peripheral and local in the Puget Sound Douglas-fir, Mountain Hemlock, and Western Hemlock zones. Good habitats in core forest zones were agricultural, forest openings and clearings, and all forests. Forest patches in steppe zones were also good. In peripheral zones, agriculture and forest openings and clearings were good. In all zones, wooded parks were also good.

Washington breeders represent the western subspecies S. p. arizonae. The loss of western Washington prairies and the increase of Brown-headed Cowbirds have contributed to the decline of Chipping Sparrows on the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juans. This species is abundant throughout eastern Washington in suitable habitat. It occurs mostly in scattered or open groves of trees, the margins of woodlands, or in orchards or gardens. Chipping Sparrows are most common in low, dry forest and in open subalpine forests and parkland. The dual occupation of low open forests and high, alpine forests, with birds less common in mid-elevation, closed forests is characteristic of species that need open forests and dry conditions for breeding.

Chipping Sparrows are common in and around agricultural fields in appropriate forested zones, and such habitats are considered to be good in this model. However, because this species is sensitive to Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism (presumably highest in agricultural areas), such habitats might justifiably be considered poor because of lowered breeding success.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester