We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on May 11, 2020.

I've been trying to attract more birds within camera range by scattering birdseed in my front yard (and also by hanging a suet feeder that the birds refuse to acknowledge in any way). One visitor that I've been seeing constantly is the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina).

Chipping sparrows are common passerine (perching) birds with an enormous range that includes most of North America. These birds can vary quite a bit throughout their range, and there are at least two subspecies that can be found out west. They often forage on the ground for seeds, insects, and spiders. If you'd like to attract some to your feeder, black oil sunflower seeds are a good bet!

I must also share a wonderful description of the chipping sparrow I found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website (www.allaboutbirds.org), which is an excellent resource for any birder. On their page about chipping sparrows, they include a 1929 quote from naturalist Edward Forbush who wrote that the chipping sparrow is "the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives." Those early naturalists really knew how to paint a picture, didn't they?

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow