Adult and Immature Song Sparrows

Adult Song Sparrow at Bear River MBRAdult Song Sparrow at Bear River MBR – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday morning I was able to photograph and adult Song Sparrow eating while perched at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge early in the morning.  I was photographing Marsh Wrens when I saw this sparrow pop up from the rushes to land on the phragmites in nice light close by and couldn’t resist taking photos of it.

A little while later I also saw an immature Song Sparrow out in the open but unfortunately I didn’t have great, or even decent, light on it because of the angle of the sunlight and the images turned out poorly. At the time I thought it would be nice to have an image of the immature bird to show a comparison between the two but that was not to be.

Messy immature Song SparrowMessy immature Song Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then I remembered the messy immature Song Sparrow I photographed at the end of July in Morgan County Utah and thought I would add a photo of it for comparison. This immature bird is very messy in appearance though whereas the young sparrow I saw yesterday didn’t look quite this disheveled. If you look at the face of this immature sparrow you can make out some of the markings that are also on the face of the adult, the streaking on the breast and the same overall coloring.

Neither of these Song Sparrows were singing when I photographed them, this species is well named in my opinion because I love to hear their melodious songs in the marshes, desert scrub, sagebrush steppes, grasslands, prairies, forest edges, pinyon pine forests, aspen forests, and mountainous riparian areas here in Utah, Idaho and Montana.

They have such lovely songs, in fact a group of Song Sparrows can be called a “choir” or “chorus” of sparrows. I can hear why.

Life is good.



  1. Elephants Child September 21, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Beautiful things. And this non-teenager looks totally disheveled in the mornings.

  2. Utahbooklover September 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Wow, what a contrast. Thanks for including the song link – very nice.

  3. Patty Chadwick September 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting image with bird perched on a “waterfall” of seed heads…

  4. Pepe Forte September 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Beautiful shots Mia…I love the textures you captured. Thx.

  5. Liz Cormack September 21, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Maybe the “teenage” Song Sparrow just woke up and that’s why it’s looking so disheveled. As most teenagers tend to do in the morning. Great photos as always.

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