White-Crowned Sparrows in Snow

Weather October 16, 2016

Weather October 16, 2016

The weather today is a bit unsettled, strong winds, some rain, some snow in the higher country with more bad weather to come and it made me think about winter arriving and photographing birds in the snow.

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow perched on a mound of snowJuvenile White-crowned Sparrow perched on a mound of snow – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last winter I photographed adult and juvenile White-crowned Sparrows in the snow in low light conditions and was pleased with the resulting photos. I didn’t get around to processing these two images until months after the day I photographed them on Antelope Island State Park so I thought I would share them today.

The juvenile White-crowned Sparrow is definitely small in the frame in this photo but I liked the great big mound of snow and how the young sparrow is peeking out of it with its body half covered plus the contrast of its brown plumage against the white snow.

Adult White-crowned Sparrow on a snowy perchAdult White-crowned Sparrow on a snowy perch – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The adult White-crowned Sparrow perched higher on the snow so more of its body shows and even though it is also small in the frame I like the snowy environment this photo shows too along with the branches of the greasewood poking out.

White-crowned Sparrows are tough little birds and somehow even when the snow is deep on the ground here in northern Utah they find enough food to get them through the winter.

Life is good.



  1. Kim October 17, 2016 at 6:08 am

    So cute!

  2. Elephant's Child October 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Most birds are tough. They need to be. Gorgeous images of these charmers.

  3. Patty Chadwick October 16, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I like the jack-in-the-box effect of the first and the perched among cotton bolles effect of the second. I’m always glad to see these, and the white-throated sparrows, arrive. These are both such nice crisp images…the snow looks good enpugh to eat!

  4. Kathie Brown October 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Mia, I am in AZ at the moment where it is 70°at night and 90° during the day. It is hard to think about snow! But I know when I get back to Maine it will be right around the corner!

    These photos are sweet and I like the mounds of snow in the images. It makes me feel like I am there and helps me feel what these little birds are up against.

    I am seeing White-crowns all over AZ right now. We only get a few passing through on migration in the east. I have not seen one yet this fall back there.

    I always loved those early Autumn snowfalls in Utah with the Wasatch Mountains dusted in white. Enjoy it while you can. I know it will melt fast and warm temperatures will soon return!

  5. Wickersham's Conscience October 16, 2016 at 7:19 am

    The last photo is a gem. White-crowns leave Alaska for the winter, and I haven’t seen any wintering in Idaho yet. But you have persuaded me to keep my eyes open.

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