A Lincoln’s Sparrow in Autumn

October 20, 2015

Last week, I was hiking down the wetland trail at Shaw Nature Reserve when a fiery patch of sumac caught my eye. As I approached the colorful shrubs, I noticed some movement. A closer look revealed a little sparrow perched among the crimson leaves. I immediately noticed its slight crown and fine streaking over a buff chest — a Lincoln’s sparrow. It had chosen a perch with a nice opening to “keep watch” while preening, which also provided a clear view from my lens. The resulting image was one of only a few that I’ve captured of the species. The first was right here at the farm, several years ago, and another was during a trip to The Nature Conservancy’s, Nickel Preserve, in Oklahoma.

I’ve often wondered about the Lincoln’s sparrow’s name. A Wikipedia check revealed that the sparrow was named and described by John Audubon after his young friend, Thomas Lincoln, first sighted the species while hiking with Audubon in Labrador. Such were the advantages of traveling with John James Audubon!

In the second image, you can see that the Lincoln’s sparrow was comfortable with my distance as it continued to preen from its crimson perch.


The Lincoln’s sparrow is described on Cornell’s website, “All About Birds,” as a drab, but handsome bird of boggy areas. I suppose most sparrows could be described as “drab but handsome” as could many of us humans. As for the boggy area, the habitat was just right with the wetland only a few steps away. I guess the little Lincoln’s read the instructional manual well before it chose a spot to take a rest during its fall migration through Missouri. It’s selection, and my trail choice that morning, made for a perfect autumn encounter.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  Website

8 comments on “A Lincoln’s Sparrow in Autumn”


    • Awww…thanks Andrea! Just got back from a near 1000 mile ride down to the Arkansas mountains, through the mountains, and back with some friends. Couldn’t believe how beautiful those roads were. We hit the “technical” routes in motorcycle parlance and it was a little scary sometimes but truly invigorating.

  2. Never anything drab about your gorgeous photos!

    Happy day,

    Chris Stuckenschneider Book Editor, Book Buzz Coordinator The Missourian 14 W. Main St. Washington, MO 63090 Cell, 314-808-1807

  3. What a great post, including the origin of the name, which is as interesting as anything else! I wanted to say that a) You have to see the bird; b) you have to get a shot, c) you have get a shot which satisfies YOU…to pass the three levels must take some doing.

    Glad your biking trip went so well; looking forward to images from there, too 😀 -Deepa.

    • Thanks Deepa. It was a simple little photo but I thought people might enjoy it. Glad to hear you are continuing with your own amazing adventures. Sorry to hear about your misadventure on the recent train ride though.

  4. Really nice, Danny. I missed this edition of Nature Frames. Beautiful pics and great writing to go with it, as usual.

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