My New Book


Brown Birds

Even though autumn is winding down in my part of the country, the color still tried to pop as in one last hurrah before our white and gray pallet of winter arrives. Bird migration still has a big push going and and though it may not be about warblers any more, it’s sparrow city in most of my field work or even around the office. These are a sample from the last week, most of these were taken on the same cloudy day with my spotting scope and either my SLR or my iPhone.

And this last ditch effort at color seems to make all the sparrows even prettier. Now, for all you non-birding/casual birding, the sparrows I’m about to post are all different birds–I swear. Above is  swamps sparrow, a native sparrow and not one usually found under bird feeders. I love that pose, the bird had popped up when I pished to see what sparrows were around.

Brace yourself, this is a completely different brown bird that the one above.  This is a Lincoln’s sparrow that was in the same loose flock with the swamp sparrow. Note how this one is streaky on the sides and the swamp is not? I love the way this bird is highlighted by the yellow grasses.

Here’s a junco that popped up to remind me that it’s still representin’ as a sparrow.

Beefy fox sparrows flush up on wooded arrows when I approach my field survey spot.

Robust Harris’s sparrows are all over the place in the Twin Cities.  I even had one show up at the bird feeder outside my office window, but they’re all over on my field surveys too…though my non birding coworkers are dubious that this is different from the house sparrows.

This wasn’t seen on my surveys, it’s a cool sparrow that with its pumpkin coloring is so appropriate for Halloween.  This is a Nelson’s sparrow. And as much as I love getting a photo of one, I’d rather have it on its breeding grounds and not foraging on mud during migration. But a sparrow’s got eat what a sparrow’s got to eat. Wish these guys would learn to love millet. I’d wet myself if a Nelson’s ever showed up under my bird feeder.





3 comments to Brown Birds

  • Joe

    Hi Sharon – great sparrow photos. My favorite birds. I always like seeing great poses and you sure have a knack for catching birds at their best.

    Were these iPhone ‘scoped?

    Nice job!


  • Susan Benson

    I just love sparrows, almost as much as warblers. These photos are just great. You are the first birding blog that I read, and you are still the best.

  • Thanks, Joe!

    Some of the photos were iPhoned scope and others were taken with my Nikon D40. I think I end up standing in one spot long enough during my surveys that the sparrows get used to me.