American Tree Sparrow foraging on the bare ground – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
A lot of birders and birder photographers look forward to this time of the year to spot their first of season Rough-legged Hawks, their first of the season Bald Eagle in the valley or their first of season Merlins and I do too because I have been missing seeing them. I am also anxiously awaiting my first of season American Tree Sparrows along with the other smaller birds I only see in the autumn, winter and early spring equally as much. It is easy for me to spot the larger birds but the little ones are a bit more of a challenge and when I find them I am thrilled.
American Tree Sparrow sitting in snow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I checked eBird this morning and I only see one person reporting American Tree Sparrows so far this autumn in northern Utah so hopefully that means one more cold front pushing through and I will be seeing these long-tailed, rusty capped sparrows with their gray heads, rusty eyelines and bicolored bills. They breed in northern Canada and Alaska and overwinter in northern and central North America. I’m fortunate that they overwinter here in Utah and I can’t wait until I see one this fall or winter.
Life is good.
American Tree Sparrow facts and information:
- American Tree Sparrows have long tails, a rusty cap with, gray heads with a rusty eye line, gray to buff chests with a smudgy dark spot in the center. They have black and yellow bicolored bills.
- American Tree Sparrows are migratory, they breed in far northern North America and can be found in northern and central North America during the winter. They migrate at night in flocks.
- During their breeding season American Tree Sparrows are found near the northern tree line in thickets of willow, birch, alder, spruce and open tundra. During migration and winter they can be found in marshes, hedgerows, open forests and weedy fields.
- American Tree Sparrows eat seeds, berries and insects.
- American Tree Sparrows lay 3 to 7 eggs which hatch in 12 to 13 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous. The are ground nesting birds despite their name.
- A group of American Tree Sparrows can be called a “grove”.
- American Tree Sparrows can live to be more than ten years of age.
Side note: I finally have my smart phone back in my hands. Samsung had wiped it clean while they had it so I had to set it back up again but it is so nice to feel connected to my loved ones again.