White Crowned Sparrows With And Without The Hand Of Humans

White-crowned Sparrow on a fence railWhite-crowned Sparrow on a fence rail – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I try to take my bird photos with my subjects in natural settings and I spend a lot of time out in nature to do that but I’m realizing I need to include the “hand of humans” in my bird photos too because some species fit into the urban environment as easily as they do out in more natural areas.

This White-crowned Sparrow photo was taken in January while the bird was perched on fence rail at my friends Ron and Carol’s old house so it has meaning and personal appeal to me but I also like the contrasts of the darker background, how well lit the sparrow is and the weathered paint on the fence rail. The fence could be in town, in the desert by a home or up in the mountains near an alpine cabin, it really doesn’t matter much because the sparrow is willing to use it for a perch just as easily as it would use a branch, a rock or a shrub. I should be just as willing to photograph the bird where I find it.

Windblown White-crowned SparrowWindblown White-crowned Sparrow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This White-crowned Sparrow photo was taken on Antelope Island State Park last month on a breezy, chilly morning and I liked how the some of the sparrow’s feathers were sticking up because they were being blown by the wind. I like this photo because of the natural setting and colors and that it doesn’t have any visible touches from the “hand of humans”. There is also a little bit of fluff from a seed stuck on the sparrow’s bill that is hard to see at the resolution used for web presentation.

I love the photos I take of birds in natural settings but I will also be working at adding more photos of birds in urban environments to my portfolio because they also have appeal.

Life is good.


I realize that more people consider images of birds with man made articles like this fence as including the “hand of man” but I tend to think that is a little gender exclusive instead of inclusive so I use humans instead.


  1. Pepe Forte March 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Love it! Detail, contrast, texture wrapped in beautiful subdued colors. Extraordinary. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child March 8, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Birds are pragmatists to the core. And I love the way they make use of whatever comes to hand.
    And adore your photos – with or without the evidence of our species input.

  3. Marty K March 8, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I’m always happy to see skillfully-done photographs of beautiful birds regardless of the setting. Ron and Carol’s former fence matches the Sparrow’s legs perfectly! (I wonder if “Sparrow Leg” is an official paint color. 😉 )

  4. Richard Cimino March 8, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Mai, I am a daily follower of your photo Blog.
    My name is Rich Cimino and I live in Marin County, Cal..
    I am a struggling bird photographer!
    On occasion I get a “good bird photo”.
    I like to use a watermark on those photos.
    Your watermark is clean and fresh in appearance did you create water mark design / imprint?
    What water mark app or vendor do you use?
    Or can you create a similar design for me?
    With appreciation,
    Rich Cimino

  5. Tm March 8, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Love those White-crowned Sparrows. Thanks for the images. A rare sighting here.

  6. Dawn March 8, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Thank you for this post! I live in St. Louis, MO, in the city proper. The bird list for the yard is up to 85 species, and I’m looking forward to spring migration to see who else shows up. I work with a few groups that encourage native plantings to attract wildlife, and city people in particular are always surprised at the variety of birds, butterflies, insects, etc that can be seen in their own backyards. I also usually try to keep to the natural elements in photos but love your idea of finding ways to include some of the human-made aspects.

Comments are closed.