Vesper Sparrow On Antelope Island

Back view of a Vesper Sparrow on a rock, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBack view of a Vesper Sparrow on a rock – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Vesper Sparrows aren’t bright or colorful birds but I find their appearance subtly beautiful in a quiet kind of way and their songs are always a delight to hear in the morning or late afternoon. A recording of their song can be heard here.

I spotted several Vesper Sparrows on Antelope Island State Park three days ago but I was only able to take quality images of this one that was perched on a rock in early light. I like the setting in this frame, the back view of the bird and how the sparrow turned its head towards me.

I’ve seen Vesper Sparrows in several locations this spring as they have migrated into northern Utah. I hope to find more of them away from Antelope Island and the horrid biting gnats (no-see-ums) that I can photograph while they are here. I’m a mess from those gnats even three days later and probably will be for several more days.

Vesper Sparrow in early morning light, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahVesper Sparrow in early morning light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

After getting a bit closer to the bird I had the opportunity to take photos of it from the side and the front with better light on it. That white eyering sure stands out well!

Once the sparrow hopped off of the rock and onto the ground I wasn’t able to get another clear shot of  it because there were grasses obstructed my view.

Life is good.


Vesper Sparrow facts and information:

  • Vesper Sparrows are large grayish brown sparrows with streaked backs and chests, white eye rings and white outer tail feathers.
  • Vesper Sparrows are migratory.
  • They were known as “Bay-winged Buntings” prior to being named Vesper Sparrows because of the small area of chestnut/rufous colored lesser coverts which usually are not visible.
  • Vesper Sparrows habitat includes open fields, grasslands, fallow fields, prairies, sagebrush steppe, roadsides, meadows and pastures.
  • Vesper Sparrows primarily eat seeds and grains and include insects, spiders and other small invertebrates during the breeding season.
  • Vesper Sparrows lay 2 to 6 eggs which hatch in 11 to 13 days. Both sexes incubate and they are monogamous.
  • Vesper Sparrows can live up to 7 years.


  1. Elephants Child May 6, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I adore the lbjs. Yours and ours. Subtle magic.

  2. Marty K May 6, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Delightful! Thanks for including the link. I’m sorry about the noseeums.

  3. Patty Chadwick May 6, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Such a beautiful song from such a cute little bird!!!

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