Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow in a snow storm

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow in a snow stormJuvenile White-crowned Sparrow in a snow storm – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 1600, +2.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The White-crowned Sparrow in this image is small in the frame, the bird isn’t super sharp and there isn’t a lot of contrast or color to the photo either yet the image speaks to me.

When I look at this image I see the snow-covered shrub and can compare the size of the bird to how high the snow is piled up. I can see an icy ring of snow around the base of the bird’s bill. I see harsh conditions but I also see the small sparrow’s ability to survive and adapt to the environment.

I see more than the image itself.


It is a challenge to photograph in low light and even more so with snow falling heavily which is why I selected a higher ISO than I normally do, ISO 1600 is pushing it with my Nikon D300 and I also had to use positive exposure compensation so the image wouldn’t be too dark.

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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 to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Beautiful! Merry Christmas and thanks for the photography tips!

  2. Hi! The Bird I see is in the loving Arms of a Angel! I love to see images in snow,tree’s etc.
    Beautiful picture and now that it is Christmas Day. I miss seeing snow! On the Holiday Season! Happy Holiday’s to All!

  3. Lovely, Mia! He’s a survivor! Happy Holidays and a great new birding year!

  4. I also like the moody atmosphere created by the snow, in which:

    “The feathered creature,
    amidst the crevices of snow,
    dissects the earth for its hidden survival,
    which now lies buried well beneath,
    but not at all,
    Merry Christmas.

  5. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    For about ten years I battle paralysis and it was the birds that helped me to walk again. As I watched their antics in winter… through everything from blizzards to sleet and ice storms it connected with something inside that helped me to heal. Thanks for this image. It’s in the same vein. Merry Christmas! and a New Year of all good things… (with wings! :-)

  6. This picture made me smile too, thanks for posting!

  7. I also see the snowflakes coming down and think of the chilly birds, many of which are now on my front deck eating – we got snow, wind and bitter cold so the feeder is busy!

  8. He is so cute. Merry Christmas!

  9. It made me smile. :) Merry Christmas, Mia!

  10. It can survive through all sorts of environments, love their courageous.

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