American Tree Sparrow

American Tree SparrowAmerican Tree Sparrow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

Last month I was able to take images of American Tree Sparrows on two different days in very different conditions in about the same location on Antelope Island State Park. The first day the conditions were deplorable because I had low light, blowing snow and foggy conditions but the second time I had them in my viewfinder I had very nice light, in fact the Tree Sparrows and dried vegetation seemed to glow against the white of the snow and I was able to get a series of images that I found appealing.

American Tree Sparrows winter in Utah but they breed in scrubby thickets in willows and birch in Alaska and northern Canada. Sometimes they are mistaken for the smaller Chipping Sparrow but their slightly larger size, bicolored bill, rusty eye-line and dark central spot on the breast helps to differentiate between the two species.


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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. The golden glow of the bush harmonizes well with sparrow’s colour. Well done!

  2. Very nice! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble between American Tree Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows! :)

  3. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Dear Mia, I just finished a painting of a tree sparrow…it’s hanging in a show as I write this. Since snowbird is an essential part of how people know me I was delighted to find this bird that winters here to use for my snow bird collection (junco etc.) But the tree sparrow is such a wonderful bird and such a delight to paint. Mine is in flight about to land on a branch. I am very thankful for your photo here to add to my impressions of a bird that means a lot to me. Many thanks.

  4. Love the warm tone of the sparrow and the vegetation. The soft contrast of the snow really does add that “glow” you mentioned!

  5. That’s amazing Mia! A really sweet little picture. It’s good to have the info about ID,too – esp with sparrows!

  6. Nice little bird, cheers Mia.

  7. wow, very nice picture, the brown vegetation give a good presentation for this sparow,
    well seen mia, have a nice sunday ☼

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