Song Sparrow In Box Elder County, Utah – Bird Sounds of Spring

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Spring Song SparrowSpring Song Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

These two Song Sparrow photos were the best images I took yesterday while up in northern Utah mainly because it wasn’t very birdy but also because some of the birds I saw and identified were too far away. In the same area last week I had a great day finding birds that could be photographed but from one day to the next things can change.

I was trying to photograph some Red-tailed Hawks when I heard a song close to me and realized it was a Song Sparrow before I even located the bird and put my lens on it. Sometimes my ears locate the birds before my eyes do and then I use my eyes to find them.

This little beauty was perched on a barbed wire fence with spring grasses and sagebrush behind it in the distance.

Box Elder County Song SparrowBox Elder County Song Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Song Sparrows are adaptable, abundant and extremely variable. There are 52 named subspecies and 24 of those subspecies are considered valid today which makes Song Sparrows one of the birds of North America with the most numerous subspecies.

Both the common and scientific name for these sparrows suit them well because they both indicate that this species sings and they do sing a lot. The scientific name is Melospiza melodia and the melodia part is for melody. These sparrows are songsters that may have a repertoire with as many as twenty tunes and many variations of those tunes. Females rarely sing and when they do their songs are simpler than the males.

To my ears their winter songs sound just a bit different than the tunes they sing in spring when the males start to sing in their breeding territory to attract their mates. Maybe they are simply more exuberant in spring.

Life is good.

Mia

Sparrows ore often called Little Brown Birds (LBBs) or Little Brown Jobs (LBJs) because people have trouble identifying them and I readily admit I have misidentified a few over time as well but I have also gotten better at their ID by using my field guides and birding apps.

7 Comments

  1. Mia McPherson April 3, 2017 at 6:46 am

    My thanks to everyone who commented and liked this post. I love these little brown birds!

  2. Pepe Forte April 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Once again I am fascinated by the detail, colors and textures you are able to capture in your images. A study of a sparrow standing on rusty barbed wire….absolutely perfect! Thanks Mia.

  3. Elephants Child April 2, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I love these little charmers. Their song is often one of the first to start up in the morning here.

  4. April Olson April 2, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I have a wonderful wildlife park, Miller Park, in my back yard. We have have song sparrows at our feeder all year and since I brought one home from the rehab 3 years ago I have had a nested family in my bushes each year. Last year they had 4 chicks. I agree their song is definitely more intense in the breading season and when they try to out sing the lawn movers in our area they can really belt out a tune.

  5. Patty Chadwick April 2, 2017 at 11:08 am

    What a cute little songster!!! I didn’t realize they had so many somg variations…no wonder I got confused so often as to whose song I was hearing. I especially lije the first image and how the colors in the rusty Devil’s wire echo those in the bird…

  6. Bob mcpherson April 2, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Beautiful photos Mia

  7. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver April 2, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Love the pose of the top bird looking over his right shoulder and the rust of the wire matching the rust of the tail feathers and coverts! Thanks for sharing your work.

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