While traipsing through the winter-browned Sandusky Plains prairies today, I crossed the path of some American Tree Sparrows, Spizella arborea. Lucky me, and I had my camera in tow. These jaunty little sparrows rank high among my favorite birds, and I settled in to watch the little flocks as they worked over the seeds of goldenrod, switch grass and other ripenings.
I'm usually first alerted to foraging tree sparrows by their thin wispy tseet notes - contact calls by which they talk to each other. Sooner or later, the flock will take wing, blowing low over the ochre prairie like delicate little leaves on the wind. Their sweetly musical flight notes sound like tiny icicles shattering. The tree sparrow and its subtle melodies mesh perfectly with the barren prairies of winter.
Should you have an interest, I wrote in more detail about American Tree Sparrows HERE.
I am a lifelong Ohioan who has made a study of natural history since the age of eight or so - longer than I can remember! A fascination with birds has grown into an amazement with all of nature, and an insatiable curiosity to learn more. One of my major ambitions is to get more people interested in nature. The more of us who care, the more likely that our natural world will survive.
Unless specifically noted, all photos used on this blog are by Jim McCormac, and are my property. If you are interested in the use of any of these photos, please contact me at jimmccormac35 AT gmail DOT com. I am generally fine with loaning photos for educational or non-commercial uses, but please ask! It is a bit disconcerting - and annoying - to see one's photos appear without credit elsewhere on the Internet.
Most of the recent photos on this blog were made with a Canon 5D Mark III. At present, I use three lenses with the Canon: a 100 mm macro L-series; a 17-40mm wide-angle L-series; and a Sigma 150-500. Many older photos used on this blog were shot with a Panasonic FZ50, which is a high-end point and shoot and an awesome camera. That model has been discontinued. I still love my Panasonic and will use it until it gives up the ghost. Other photos were taken with a Nikon D7000,or a Canon T3i. I also have a Nikon Coolpix P510 point & shoot, which is a remarkably versatile camera with awesome zoom power (42x) that holds up very well. Finally, I've got a GoPro Hero, which is fully waterproof and can be used for underwater work. Sometimes I even use the camera or video feature on my Droid X smartphone - it's amazing how good phone cameras have become.