American Tree Sparrows are poorly named because they aren’t found in trees, more often the weeds next to trees, and they breed on arctic tundra far from trees and winter mostly on the plains in weedy habitats. Beginning birders are often intimidated by sparrows, they all look the same, but American Tree Sparrow has a distinctive bicolored bill, a rufous crown, wings, and back, and the clear breast with a central spot or “stick pin” makes I.D. fairly easy. They are related to the more common Spizella sparrows such as Chipping Sparrow, but Chipping Sparrows move south of Colorado for the winter as do other Spizella sparrows like Brewer’s and Clay-colored Sparrows. Tree Sparrows leave by mid-March so winter is the best time to study them on the Chico. Search dense areas of tumbleweeds on the plains and you should find some.