Messy looking immature Song Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Birds aren’t always neat looking, feathers wear, birds molt and young birds transitioning from their juvenal plumage into adult plumage can look quite disheveled or messy.
I spotted a preening sparrow high up on a bush last week while up in the Wasatch Mountains and when I was able to put my lens on it I could see how messy its plumage was, it was messy enough that I didn’t feel 100% confident in my identification of immature Song Sparrow as the species and later asked a friend, fellow birder, photographer and bird guide, Mark Stackhouse, what he thought it was and he agreed with my ID. His initial response of “It’s sure a ratty-looking beast” still cracks me up. It is ratty looking.
Even though the immature Song Sparrow that I photographed had such messy plumage I am okay with that because I like sharing what I see in the field and sometimes that means they aren’t just “pretty pictures”, at times it means sharing a view of a bird that isn’t often seen unless the person is an ornithologist, bird biologist, researcher, birder or bird photographer.
Life is good.