Adult White-crowned Sparrow Perched On A Budding Tree

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White-crowned Sparrow perched on a budding tree, Box Elder County, UtahWhite-crowned Sparrow perched on a budding tree – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Spring migration is underway here in northern Utah and while I am excited about the prospect of photographing birds I haven’t seen since last fall I am still thrilled to photograph the birds I see here throughout most of the year.

White-crowned Sparrows are quite common in the Salt Lake Valley in the winter and I see them often at Antelope Island, Farmington Bay WMA, the West Desert and further north on the slopes of mountains. During the summer I see them less often because most of these sparrows head up into the mountains to nest and breed so they are harder to find during their nesting season unless I head up into the high country which is fine with me because I like to head up into the mountains during the heat of the summer because it is always slightly cooler up there.

Three days ago after I photographed the female American Kestrel eating her prey on a lichen-covered rock I was able to take a few photographs of a single adult White-crowned Sparrow that was perched on a budding tree. I liked the eye contact I had with the sparrow, the opening buds on the tree and how well the sparrow stood out from the plain background. Sure, it is a little brown bird that people might overlook but I will photograph them every chance I get. To me their subtle coloration is quite beautiful.

Life is good.


A few White-crowned Sparrow facts:

  • White-crowned Sparrows are one of the easier sparrow species to identify as adults because of the bold white and black stripes on their heads.
  • During the winter White-crowned Sparrows appear over much of North America.
  • Male White-crowned Sparrows do most of the singing, but sometimes females also sing.
  • White-crowned Sparrows will come to bird feeders. They mainly eat seeds but during the summer they will eat caterpillars, wasps, beetles, and other insects.
  • Female White-crowned Sparrows build their nests placed on or near the ground and will lay 4  to 6 eggs which take 11 to 14 days to hatch with the female doing the incubating. They can have between 1 to 3 broods a season.
  • White-crowned Sparrows can live up to 13 years.


  1. Pepe Forte April 22, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    What a drop-dead great pic! It’s all there…extraordinary detail, color and composition. I would tell you that I am speechless with wonder…but my wife says that’s impossible. Terrific shot Mia.Thanks.

  2. Elephants Child April 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I am a big fan of LBJs. Subtle and lovely.

  3. April Olson April 21, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Beautiful. I know photographers like it when the background is a different color than the main subject so their subject pops out more but I like it when the bird reflects the colors of it’s environment. Isn’t that what nature is about, camouflage.

  4. Patty Chadwick April 21, 2018 at 10:29 am

    That beautiful little bird and the bursting buds ALMOST make me believe this enfless winter is over!!!

  5. Laura Culley April 21, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Beautiful shot! I was delighted to see that white-crowned sparrows live here in Northern Arizona and are regulars at my feeding station. Their song is so beautiful and made my day when I lived in Dallas. However, I haven’t heard any of my local individuals singing yet? I wonder what’s up with that?
    On the upside, I have cactus wrens nesting in the roof of the mews along with regular sparrows who have made a home above the mews’ window. All the mews nests are in safe places, at least until fledge. I’m working on a plan to keep fledglings safe from my dogs.

  6. Marty K April 21, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I love seeing LBJs through the eyes of a skilled photographer! I really like the composition of this shot.

  7. Esther April 21, 2018 at 6:29 am

    Beautiful shot!

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