Lark Sparrow behaviors and a Grasshopper

Lark Sparrow with a grasshopperLark Sparrow with a grasshopper

It was great to get back out into the field yesterday and even better that there were some cooperative Lark Sparrows in my viewfinder. I spotted one on top of a Sagebrush and when I was able to focus on the sparrow I realized it had a grasshopper of some kind in its bill. (Maybe a Speckled Rangeland Grasshopper?) The Lark Sparrow posed for quite a few frames.

Close up of a Lark Sparrow with a grasshopperClose up of a Lark Sparrow with a grasshopper

Then the Lark Sparrow flew to the ground and hopped along with its tail spread and its wings pointed to the ground with the grasshopper still firmly in its bill. I’m not sure if this was part of a courtship display (BNA does not mention this behavior) of if the bird with the grasshopper in its bill was attempting to get the grasshopper to its nest without being watched.

A pair of Lark SparrowsA pair of Lark Sparrows

The sparrow flew to this rock where is was joined by another Lark Sparrow for a few moments before the sparrow with the grasshopper flew off, I took a few images of the bird without the grasshopper after it left.

Lark SparrowLark Sparrow

The sparrow with the bit of vegetation in its bill flew up to the top of a nearby sagebrush where the other one with the grasshopper was located and while I took images of this Lark Sparrow I lost track of the one with the grasshopper and did not relocate it.

Lark Sparrow perched on a SagebrushLark Sparrow perched on a Sagebrush

When the Lark Sparrow flew off to land on another sagebrush I noticed that the piece of vegetation was no longer in its bill. I’m not sure if what I saw was courtship behavior or if this pair of birds were just foraging for insects to feed their young but I found the behavior interesting. Antelope Island birds never disappoint.

Besides; I am always thrilled to photograph the harlequin-faced Lark Sparrows no matter what they are doing!

Mia

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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.

29 Comments

  1. These are beautiful little birds..their colors and markings are such a nice blend of soft and crisp …and I love the close up of the sage…..great shots.

  2. What a handsome bird! Their brown and white tones look great against the soft green of the sage.

  3. Very pretty, Mia!

  4. Jane Chesebrough

    They are beautiful, Mia!

  5. Great series. I wish all sparrows were as easy to identify … and as cooperative as these seemed to be. #2 and #4 are my favorites. #2 because of the great look at the grasshopper and #4 because of the wonderful background.

    • Dave,

      Some sparrows I know on sight or by their calls whilst some of the others leave me scratching my head for days or until I can use all of my guides and apps to ID them. Or send them on to Rich to ID for me.

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Beautiful images of sparrows.

  7. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    I love your photos of sparrows! You always manage to reveal that they are anything but LBJ’s (little brown jobs)… You understand their gorgeous variation and integrity. What a pleasure to find these in my e-mail today!

  8. Great capture, Mia! Lovely shots!

  9. Mia, beautiful shots of the Lark Sparrow. I would love to add this bird to my life list.

  10. The Lark Sparrow is such a beautiful sparrow. Your photos display their beauty perfectly, with their sage colored environment in the background. For some reason I love the last two photos, even though the grasshopper and pair photos are striking, because they show interesting behavior.

    How close were you able to get to them??

    I am thrilled to have discovered your web-site.

    • Sheila,

      I was in a vehicle using it as a mobile blind, I would guess that the birds were about 15 feet from the road.

      I love the creams and browns of the sparrows next to the silvery grays & greens of Sagebrush too, it is a lovely color combination!

      I am very happy that you are enjoying my blog & images!

  11. I like their similarity to the Passer domesticus in plumage but with longer and slender bodies.

    • I do think that Lark Sparrows are longer and more slender than House Sparrows, I also think the harlequin pattern on the Lark Sparrow’s faces is very striking.

  12. Amazing set of pics!!

  13. wow, wonderfull serie, you have got beautifull scene, i like how he takes pose for you on th 4th =)) great job mia
    see you soon

  14. Great set, Mia! They are pretty birds. Love that you caught it with the grasshopper.

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