Lark Sparrow on Antelope Island

I had some luck with a cooperative Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) this past Sunday where the handsome bird stuck around for quite a bit on several different perches.

Back view of a Lark SparrowBack view of a Lark Sparrow – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

Lark Sparrows are showing up in nice numbers this year on Antelope Island State Park and I am tickled that they are because they are great subjects.  The bold facial pattern is very appealing to me.

Lark Sparrow perched on SagebrushLark Sparrow perched on Sagebrush – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

I recently purchased iBird Pro app for Android which has a “Fact” tab and because of the app I learned an interesting fact about Lark Sparrow nesting habits. First, they often take over old Mocking Bird or Thrasher nests instead of building their own.

Secondly, the fascinating part for me is that the eggs and young of both species have been found in the same nest which suggests they can or do share nests with other birds.

Lark Sparrow singing on a Sunflower stalkLark Sparrow singing on a dried wild Sunflower stalk – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

This Lark Sparrow spent a lot of time singing from this dried wild Sunflower perch, I have two separate series of images from this exact location that were taken minutes apart. Periods of song can last up to an hour in Lark Sparrows.

Some years I see more of a certain species than I have previous years which gives me plenty of opportunities with them, I hope Lark Sparrows are one of those species for me this year!


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing birds. My approach is to photograph the birds without disturbing their natural behavior. I don't bait, use set ups or call them in. I use Nikon gear and has multiple camera bodies and lenses.


  1. These are fantastic images Mia. Really lovely sparrow photos!

  2. I love lark Sparrows. They have a “teddy bear” like face! So cute! I never saw one of these birds until I moved to AZ. I had no idea they were located in Utah an don antelope island no less! I love that place!

  3. I saw my first Lark sparrow recently during the Biggest Week in American Birding.. on one of the tours through Oak Openings Preserve in Ohio recently. They sure do have a beautiful song! Wish I could have gotten a few shots like these! Really beautiful sparrow. I especially love the last image with the throat feathers all fluffed up during it’s song.

    • Debbie, I’ve seen a few images of Lark Sparrows that were taken at the Biggest Week in American Birding, the settings were quite lovely. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Gorgeous photos of one of my faves Mia! That first image with the bird showing its back, but head in profile, and the sage fading into the beautiful green and blue bokeh, outstanding!

  5. i recently enjoyed the company of lark sparrows…and love their sweet song.

  6. Wow, nice images Mia! Been a while since I’ve seen one of these.

  7. Those are some nice pastel colours with the sagebrush and the sky. Very nice! I’ve never seen a Lark Sparrow.

  8. Outstanding photos Mia! Love the wild sunflower perch!!

  9. I really love the lighting on these images. It makes this little guy gorgeous. Carol

  10. What delightful photos..the detail you captured is marvelous..thanks for sharing..

  11. Great shots, Mia. With that bold head pattern, I think the Lark Sparrow is one of the prettier sparrow species.

  12. Such a gorgeous bird! Well done Mia. I could look at Lark Sparrows all day!

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