Song Sparrow In A Frosty Wonderland

I don’t have many “Christmassy” images but for me this one certainly showcases the season.



1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM + EF 1.4 II Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I found this Song Sparrow on a January morning several years ago on the coldest day so far that winter. The entire refuge (Farmington) was covered in thick frost – it looked like a magical frosty fairyland all the way to the horizon. I could actually hear soft tinkling as the frost fell in the warming sun. The sparrow was puffed up to keep warm and eating ice-encased seeds it grabbed from its twiggy perch. I like the frost, the vertical position of the tail, the puffed up squatting pose, the ice crystals falling next to the tail and the whimsical mood of the image.

As I type this at 4:45 AM on Christmas Morning there looks to be about 6″ of new snow that fell during the night. That’s quite a bit for us here in Utah and I look at it as an extremely welcome Christmas gift because we need the water so very much. It’s our tradition to go shooting on Christmas morning whenever possible because we so enjoy the solitude while everyone else is home opening presents. When there’s fresh snow it’s a bonus but roads can be dicey at best and my typical birding locations don’t plow their roads so I’ll have to see what it looks like as it starts to get light. I hope we can go…

I wish all my readers a spectacularly wonderful and merry Christmas! I feel a little extra sentimental towards and appreciative of my blog followers this morning. Someday I wish we could actually meet each other and perhaps spend an hour or two jabber-jawing over a cup of coffee.

Oh, the stories we could tell!


PS – Just measured the snow on my lawn – there’s 7+” and it’s still falling! I hope my snow blower cooperates – this’ll be the first time I’ve used it this winter.


65 comments to Song Sparrow In A Frosty Wonderland

  • Jane Chesebrough

    I admit I was surprised to read “song sparrow” (why don’t they go further south?)but this is a beautiful shot with the frost. I love getting outdoors on Christmas Day to take a break from eating and get fresh air and exercise.

  • Robert (RJ) Davis

    Thanks Ron, for your generous sharing of talent and insight. All the best to you!

  • A great Christmas present, Ron. Thank you. I haven’t been able to find the time lately to visit your blog, but I’m very glad I did this morning!

  • Jean Haley

    It amazes me that birds can tolerate the cold. It found the ideal branch though, with all of the seeds. Build a snowman of me!

  • Lovely picture, Ron. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Your posts are like our Christmas presents to us.

  • Victoria Ridenour

    Thank you so much for this lovely Christmas present! Gearing up for another wonderful Christmas bird count tomorrow with dear friends. It’s true, Christmas IS for the birds!

  • Charlotte Norton

    Lovely shot Ron! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Carlotta

    Love this image of the Song Sparrow in ice. Wishing you also a great Holiday and to say thank you for all your fantastic images you post all Year long

  • Levi V.

    Great shot, and merry christmas to you and yours!

  • Laurel Crouch

    Any shot with snow is “Christmassy” in my opinion . This one is particularly appealing to me since we are snowless here in Missouri .
    I want to thank you for bringing some of nature’s beauty to us on a daily basis .
    Merry Christmas, I hope 2017 is kind to you and yours !

  • A very happy Christmas to you and yours.
    Another stinking hot day today so this image was particularly welcome.
    Our sparrows (and indeed all the birds) are wilting in the heat…

    • Enjoy that heat if you can, EC. It’s so cold here I can’t even clean up the mess left by the guys who sided my house. Can’t see it now though because of the snow – kinda like sweeping the dirt under the rug…

  • Cindy Intravartolo

    Thank you for the beautiful moment with the sparrow. Here in central Illinois we are experiencing 50-degree weather. It’s a great contrast to last weekend when we were having sub zero temps ending in an ice storm.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Susan Stone

    Merry Christmas and excellent birding to you, Ron. Hope you are/were able to get out and shoot. Love your Sparrow. And all the warmth we get from you and all the readers of your blog. Merry Christmas to all.

  • Linda Chowns

    Thank you for the beautiful sparrow photo this morning Ron. Merry Christmas to you. Enjoy your snowy day. Temps going up into the 50’s in the Philadelphia area today.

  • John Sherrill

    Merry Christmas ,Ron. I start every morning with your great pictures.Thanks. John

  • Chris Sanborn

    Beautiful little sparrow, a magical portrait for this day … Merry Christmas, Ron, thanks for all the magical portraits of wondrous feathered (& furred) creatures you’ve shared with us this year! Enjoy that magical white stuff, too!

  • April Olson

    Merry Christmas. Thank you for all the beautiful images and birdy information through the years. What a lovely Christmas gift this morning for us Utahans. I love snow, it is wonderful I love the sound as it falls, the crunch as you walk and yes the tinkle when it is so cold it is crackling. I can’t wait to get out in it this morning. When I looked an hour ago we had about 10 inches and it was still snowing heavily. My husband is glad I like to shovel.

  • nikonsteve

    Merry Christmas , Ron…Thanks for all your posts…you make my year a little brighter one photo at a time.

  • Marina schultz

    Merry Christmas Ron !!!! I too feel sentimental this morning!!! Hope to see you again maybe convince you to come this way some time !!! Merry merry Christmas!!!!🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

  • Laura Culley

    Just love that image. Like you, I love the solitude, peace and silence in a ice/snow-covered morning. Hope you get to go there today!
    Either way, wishing you a joyous day. Thank you for all the joy you spread through your blog! I echo what Alison said so very eloquently and elegantly!

  • Patty Chadwick

    Love the bird and the frost crystals…thank you, again for faithfully posting, your comments, your followers, and just being you. The coffee idea sounds good, especially if there are chocolate donuts, too

  • Chris (Yar33)

    Ron, Thank you for the gifts you bestow upon us all every day!! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Stay warm!! It’s sunny and 64 here in Greenville, SC

  • Diane Bricmont

    Beautiful image for a winter morning, Ron. Merry Christmas and thanks for the gift of your blog each day!

  • Love it. No snow here in Denver. Looking forward to spending my Christmas money on a camera too photograph Birds.
    Ann Troth, Volunteer

    • Ann, When I looked last night our storm was heading straight north so it’ll probably miss you guys in Denver completely. Typically you guys get our storms about 24 hours after they hit here.

  • Mitch

    Merry Christmas, Ron!

    I’m glad I re-discovered you and your blog, and I hope all of us have great light and fabulous opportunities in the coming year. My phone beeps an alert for each email notification, and I could use your morning alerts as an alarm clock. They’re pretty darned consistent, and given that you’re an hour further West than I, I’ve known for some time, now, that you’re an early riser.


  • Judy Gusick

    Beautiful picture, Ron! 🙂 Thx for all you bring us during the year and a Merry Christmas to you and yours! Hope you get out this morning! I’m guessing the siding got done!?

    • Yup, the siding’s done, Judy. Amazingly I had good timing on this project – they were able to work 5 days straight and then the snow hit the next day. My timing’s usually of the other kind…

  • Marty K

    Thank you for this beautiful shot this morning. I know I can take a lesson from this tough little guy. I’m glad to be part of this community.

    Enjoy the snow — there’s something indescribably special about the vast quiet of newly-fallen snow.

  • I love this picture! The delicacy of the frost reminds me of the uniqueness of each snowflake, of each reader of your blog, the singular mood of each photo of yours, and the moment that holds them all. Thanks so much for your blog, and I wish you all safe travels and a joyous holiday!

  • Diana

    Thanks for all your work Ron. Enjoy the rest of your Christmas Day. Diana
    Song sparrow looks pensive…

  • Frank sheets

    Christmas wishes to you and your family as well Ron. Nice to have the snow. Hopefully a hood sign for future precipitation. The drops add up. And thanks for your posts. A little present every day we all appreciate.


  • Elizabeth sawin

    How beautiful, Ron! Even as I write this it has begun to rain in Missouri, but we are grateful we moved all the presents last evening and now only need to dash to the car. Thank you for the lovely images through the year. This is the morning that our grandson will get your now-framed photo of that western grebe chick. Can hardly wait to see his and his parents’ reaction. Elizabeth

  • Dick Harlow

    Great shot, tough Song Sparrow! Very artistic shot, certainly stands out with the ice (frost) crystals.
    All our Song Sparrows tend to be gone by November.
    My only record of a Song Sparrow in December was 1 individual in 2014.
    At this time of year through February the only native sparrow we primarily see is Tree Sparrows and Juncos.

  • Robyn Kemp

    That would be fun! Thanks for the beautiful Christmas post, and for all the posts of 2016. Wishing you a joyous Christmas – enjoy that snow!