White-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.