Parental Foraging in Chipping Sparrows (Spizella Passerina)
During the breeding season of 1982, the population of Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) that inhabits the Western Michigan University's campus was chosen to study the use of foliage and other foraging sites. Three pairs were selected to be observed intensively.
During the time the female is foraging and when the male is either foraging or in territorial advertisement activities both sexes choose needleleaf trees out of proportion to their availability.
It is also likely that in the later stages of caring for young, when food demands were highest, the birds become less selective and forage on needleleaf trees as well as broadleaf trees and on the grounds.
In general, the foraging behavior of Chipping Sparrows harmonizes well with the theory of optimal foraging. When the food demands are small, there is a tendency to forage on needleleaf but when the food demands increase the birds become less selective and forage on needleleaf trees as well as broadleaf trees and ground.