American Tree Sparrow on Antelope Island

/, Antelope Island State Park, Birds, Davis County, Utah/American Tree Sparrow on Antelope Island

American Tree Sparrow on GreasewoodAmerican Tree Sparrow on Greasewood – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 640, Nikkor 5oomm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I have been having fairly good luck spotting American Tree Sparrows this fall and when this one popped up on top of a greasewood yesterday I was delighted. I had been photographing American Gold Finches, White-crowned Sparrows and a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds on Antelope Island State Park when this American Tree Sparrow showed up by itself.

American Tree Sparrow showing its bi-colored billAmerican Tree Sparrow showing its bi-colored bill – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 640, Nikkor 5oomm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I really liked how the sparrow’s bi-colored bill showed up so well in this photo and how the rufous crown is raised up like a crest. It also shows the dark spot on its breast and the rufous stripe behind the sparrow’s eye well too.

American Tree Sparrows breed in northern Canada and Alaska and overwinter in southern Canada and the U.S. except for the southern most states. I’m always glad to see them arrive here in Utah.

American Tree Sparrows need to eat enough food each day to take in about 30% of their body weight daily, lack of food for even a day can cause death for these lovely sparrows. That means they forage even during horrible weather.

American Tree Sparrow in northern UtahAmerican Tree Sparrow in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 640, Nikkor 5oomm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I could wish that this American Tree Sparrow had been closer, that it has chosen to land on fluffy rabbitbrush instead of a messy looking greasewood or that I had photographed it showing some interesting behavior but honestly I am just happy to have seen and photographed it when I did.

Life is good. Birds make my life better.



  1. Pepe Forte November 13, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Love the colors and contrasts you have captured with these sparrow images. The detail is terrific. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child November 9, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    What a charmer. I wonder whether all sparrows need to eat so much?

  3. M. Bruce November 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm


  4. Mary McAvoy November 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Beautiful bird, beautiful photos! Thanks Mia!

  5. Patty Chadwick November 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I had no idea about the terribly high metabolic rate of these cute little birds. 30%!!! That’s a lot of food to find. They must be continously looking for food, with little time for anything else! Sure hope they find it!!! Is this true of other sparrows?

  6. November 9, 2017 at 7:52 am

    What a lovely shot! Thank you. We should see our first Northern Tree Sparrows any time now.

  7. Dick Harlow November 9, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Great shots Mia, one of my favorite sparrows.

    Please tell Ron, for some reason I can’t open his blog, has something to do with too large a cookie.??

  8. LSClemens November 9, 2017 at 6:20 am

    My suet is mobbed every morning by sparrows. Never knew they needed to eat 30% of their body weight daily. I’ll keep feeding them.

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