Sagebrush Sparrow adultAdult Sagebrush Sparrow – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light

Some women wish for diamonds, some men wish for fast cars while young children might wish for a pony or a trip to Disney. Me? I wish for birds. Pretty simple, huh? But it is true.

My mother wishes she could win the lottery (who doesn’t?). There are people who wish they lived in a mansion and those who wish they wouldn’t get old. Santa gets his share of wish lists too.

Seeing & photographing birds gives me joy, peace, excitement, thrills and breath-taking moments.

For instance, I wish the Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) above had been closer and had turned its head towards me more. I went out to Antelope Island State Park last fall with some non-photographers so I took my Nikkor 70-300mm VR with me instead of my longer lens, that was my mistake and I did not have enough focal length to get the shots I wanted. I wish I had taken the 200-400mm VR.

Some of the birds on my wish list I have yet to photograph plus there are those I have photographed but the bird may have been too far away, or the light sucked or I messed up the shots.

My bird wish list for Utah, Montana, Idaho and surrounding areas this spring and summer is too long to write out here but as long as I am wishing I would love to photograph Whooping Cranes, Garganeys and a California Condor or two.

I dream big and I’m always optimistic.

On serious note though I wish I’d see some American Dippers because they are daring little birds who swim in fast flowing, rocky streams for food which fascinates me. Or Black-tailed Gnatcatchers which I have seen and photographed in southern Utah but I couldn’t get a single clear shot of the fast moving little bugger! Long-eared Owls have evaded me thus far too along with the handsome Great Gray Owls. Maybe I’ll spot the Great Gray in Montana some time or the tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl. One never knows.

I wish that I’d have more opportunities with the always impressive Ferruginous Hawks (I just love saying Ferruginous!) or Golden Eagles.

Funny how coming across one poor image of a Sage Sparrow has my head spinning today with wishes for more. But I know that as long as I am wishing for birds that I am rarely disappointed.


PS: One more wish, I wish there were enough hours in the day so I could get caught up on editing some of the thousands of images I’ve already taken!


  1. Mathew July 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    The Sage Sparrow has traditionally been included in the genus Amphispiza, with the black-throated. A recently published study has argued that it should represent a separate genus of its own, and, if I recall correctly, this treatment is reflected in the 16th and final installment of the ‘Handbook of the Birds..’ from Lynx Edicions. The authors of this new genus name could not have chosen a more perfect name for it: Artemisiospiza.

    • Mia McPherson July 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      I keep wishing for more photos of this species, I believe I am going to have to lurk around in camo to get more images of them!

  2. Mathew April 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

    These are uncommon sparrows wherever they are found, and I would be quite fortunate to see them. Completely disagree that this is “one poor image.”

    • Mia McPherson April 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you Mathew, you are very kind. I keep hoping to get better images of this species but they can be difficult to find.

  3. Garen March 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Great post Mia! So true, and did you ever notice no matter how many wishes come true that our lists never get any shorter?.

Comments are closed.