Lark Sparrow on Antelope Island

I had some luck with a cooperative Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) this past Sunday where the handsome bird stuck around for quite a bit on several different perches.

Back view of a Lark SparrowBack view of a Lark Sparrow – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

Lark Sparrows are showing up in nice numbers this year on Antelope Island State Park and I am tickled that they are because they are great subjects.  The bold facial pattern is very appealing to me.

Lark Sparrow perched on SagebrushLark Sparrow perched on Sagebrush – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

I recently purchased iBird Pro app for Android which has a “Fact” tab and because of the app I learned an interesting fact about Lark Sparrow nesting habits. First, they often take over old Mocking Bird or Sage Thrasher nests instead of building their own.

Secondly, the fascinating part for me is that the eggs and young of both species have been found in the same nest which suggests they can or do share nests with other birds.

Lark Sparrow singing on a Sunflower stalkLark Sparrow singing on a dried wild Sunflower stalk – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

This Lark Sparrow spent a lot of time singing from this dried wild Sunflower perch, I have two separate series of images from this exact location that were taken minutes apart. Periods of song can last up to an hour in Lark Sparrows.

Some years I see more of a certain species than I have previous years which gives me plenty of opportunities with them, I hope Lark Sparrows are one of those species for me this year!

Life is good.



  1. Linda Rockwell May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    These are fantastic images Mia. Really lovely sparrow photos!

    • Mia McPherson May 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks Linda, Lark Sparrows are so handsome!

  2. Kathiesbirds May 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I love lark Sparrows. They have a “teddy bear” like face! So cute! I never saw one of these birds until I moved to AZ. I had no idea they were located in Utah an don antelope island no less! I love that place!

    • Mia McPherson May 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Antelope Island is a super place for birds, wildlife and scenery. It is one of my most favorite places in the world! Thanks for your comment Kathie.

  3. Debbie Miller @HooootOwl May 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I saw my first Lark sparrow recently during the Biggest Week in American Birding.. on one of the tours through Oak Openings Preserve in Ohio recently. They sure do have a beautiful song! Wish I could have gotten a few shots like these! Really beautiful sparrow. I especially love the last image with the throat feathers all fluffed up during it’s song.

    • Mia McPherson May 25, 2012 at 4:49 am

      Debbie, I’ve seen a few images of Lark Sparrows that were taken at the Biggest Week in American Birding, the settings were quite lovely. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Larry Jordan May 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Gorgeous photos of one of my faves Mia! That first image with the bird showing its back, but head in profile, and the sage fading into the beautiful green and blue bokeh, outstanding!

    • Mia McPherson May 25, 2012 at 4:47 am

      Larry, thanks so much for you comment. I appreciate them!

  5. zephyr May 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    i recently enjoyed the company of lark sparrows…and love their sweet song.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Zepyhr, they do have a delighful song! Thank you for your comment.

  6. Elijah Goodwin May 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Wow, nice images Mia! Been a while since I’ve seen one of these.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      I hope you see a Lark Sparrow soon Elijah, thanks for commenting on these images.

  7. Scott May 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Those are some nice pastel colours with the sagebrush and the sky. Very nice! I’ve never seen a Lark Sparrow.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Scott, I sure hope you get to see a Lark Sparrow, they are great subjects. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Tammy Karr May 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Outstanding photos Mia! Love the wild sunflower perch!!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you Tammy, I was tickled with the sunflower perch, especially since the bird was on it twice!

  9. Carol Mattingly May 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I really love the lighting on these images. It makes this little guy gorgeous. Carol

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      The light was pretty nice Carol, thanks for your comment.

  10. Syl May 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    What delightful photos..the detail you captured is marvelous..thanks for sharing..

  11. Bob Zeller May 22, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Great shots, Mia. With that bold head pattern, I think the Lark Sparrow is one of the prettier sparrow species.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      I agree Bob, Lark Sparrows are one fo the pretier sparrow species. Thanks for your comment.

  12. Laurence Butler May 22, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Such a gorgeous bird! Well done Mia. I could look at Lark Sparrows all day!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      They are handsome sparrows Laurence and their call is delightful to hear. Thanks for your comment.

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