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Black-chinned sparrow        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The black-chinned sparrow is a handsome and somewhat junco-like bird that breeds in thick, old chaparral vegetation and other dry brushland in the southwestern US.   Its sweet, accelerating 'bouncing-ball' song begins to be heard in spring, but where I live these attractive little sparrows disappear by August.   These birds (males with sharply-delineated black throat patches, females with slightly less clear-cut markings) were photographed at the top of the Box Springs Mountains above Riverside, California.   Many are sitting in chamise (Adenostema), which seems to be a favored plant for black-chins in southern California.   Most of them were quite reluctant to come out into the open.   More photos of this species are here.

  • most: Canon 10D or 1D Mk. II or 7D, 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens, fill-in flash (2004, 2005, 2010)
  • below, right: Canon EOS1v, 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 2X converter, Elite Chrome Extra Color (2003)