I used to believe a sparrow was a bird frequenting residential feeders. Photographing more than ten different species of sparrow I now think otherwise. Nine of the ten sparrows I’ve observed inhabit a small creek right down the street from me. We all know what a house sparrow is. There may be a few you have yet to see.
The Harris sparrow is the largest sparrow I have photographed equaling the size of a cowbird. They are, however, the most elusive camouflaged in brown, black, and gray easily disappearing in a sea of brush. I have yet to hear their call. Finding one is a rare treat.
A Lincoln sparrow may be identified by its iconic head feathers resembling, you guessed it, the top hat of our great president. This sparrow loves to perch on barbed wire waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey. Fall and winter make for a great time to photograph the beige mohawked bird perched high on a branch contrasted by a calm gray sky.
The Savannah sparrow perches high in the tree serving as lookout for many others of the sparrow kingdom. Like the white-throated sparrow, the savannah sparrow sports a bit of yellow on what looks to be the brow of the bird. It’s more of a mix between swamp sparrow and white-throated sparrow come to think of it.
I may encounter a swamp sparrow sporting my trusty mud boots venturing out into sludge and brush. The swamp sparrows are extremely photogenic if you find them in their own domain. Squatting into the grass guarantees me a front row seat to the swamp sparrow feeding spectacular.
My favorite sparrow of them all is the song sparrow with the song of a dog. It’s gorgeous monochromatic coat is enough to bark…I mean brag about. My creek is filled with these little critters. You’ll just hear them bark to one another all morning striking fear into its pray and joy into my subconscious.
Field sparrows greet my feeders during the summer. They feed down at the creek during late fall becoming quite plump. I literally had to pull out the identification book just in case because I had never seen field sparrows so big.
The LeConte sparrow is the smallest yet prettiest of all sparrows captured to date. If Halloween had a bird it would be the LeConte sparrow sporting an orange head contrasted with long black streaks on its crown. I normally watch sparrows in pairs or families. This sparrow snuck around by itself making me wonder if he was a scout of sorts.
I try to make it out each weekend through rain, scorching heat, and frigid cold documenting each encounter with GPS and identification.