American Tree Sparrows Galore

Antelope Island American Tree SparrowAntelope Island American Tree Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’m seeing more American Tree Sparrows than I’ve seen since I moved to Utah in 2009 and I hope that means they had a very successful breeding season in 2017. On Antelope Island State Park yesterday morning I saw so many of these sparrows that I lost count as I observed and photographed them as they foraged, chased each other and flew from one bush to another. Off in the distance I saw fifteen or twenty of them chasing each other around a greasewood, I wish I had been closer to that action!

By the way, a group of American Tree Sparrows can be called a “grove”.

American Tree Sparrow up closeAmerican Tree Sparrow up close – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When this sparrow flew in and landed on a wild sunflower stalk I was able to take a little over 30 photos of it up close. I loved the great views I had of the bird’s bicolored bill.

This species does not breed in the lower 48, it breeds in northern Canada and Alaska.

Foraging American Tree SparrowForaging American Tree Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When early European settlers first saw these sparrows they were reminded of the Eurasian Tree Sparrows they had seen in their home country and that is how this species got the common name of American Tree Sparrow even though they are ground birds who nest and feed on the ground.

There are small populations of introduced Eurasian Tree Sparrows in North America on the St Louis, Missouri area. I haven’t spent much time in that area so I have not seen them here in the United States but I have seen them in Germany where I spent much of my life as a child.

The more I see and photograph American Tree Sparrows the fonder I have become of them, their soft calls and their subtle but beautiful appearance.

Life is good.



  1. Wally Jones November 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Simply superb!
    Hey, send a few to Florida! We only see sparrows during migration and winter (except House Sparrows) and a Tree Sparrow would make me a hero with the local bird chaser society!

  2. Pepe Forte November 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Another Mia wow moment! Stunning detail and composition followed by an excellent narrative. So cool….thanks Mia.

  3. Elephants Child November 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Subtle charmers.

  4. Laura Culley November 29, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Just beautiful. I wonder if they make it down here to Arizona? Probably not, but maybe. I’ll keep a lookout. I’m just beginning to get my bird feeders up!

  5. Patty Chadwick November 29, 2017 at 7:49 am

    These are wonderful shots! Especially like the first two. These birds are so “common” they are easily overlooked, which is too bad. They are very cute, perky little guys. I love to watch them as they look around and hunt for something to eat…..

  6. November 29, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Fav sparrow. Great shots. We’re keeping eyes peeled for American Tree Sparrows soon to move through here. Happy photo’ing.

  7. April Olson November 29, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Beautiful subtle colors.
    The story of my wildlife photography, “off in the distance”.

Comments are closed.