Singing Sagebrush Sparrow

by Bryce W. Robinson


I took this clip the other day in the Sagebrush strewn landscape of southwestern Idaho. I recorded the video by digiscoping using my ZEISS Diascope 65 T* FL. Normally, Sagebrush Sparrows are busy singers and will generally tolerate you in the area so long as you don’t pay them too much attention. But for whatever reason, no matter how far I was the sparrows on this morning were extra timid. On top of that, the wind wasn’t helping. Due to the wind and the distance from the bird, you can’t really hear the singing. To add one more difficulty to getting the song recorded, there was a lone bull nearby that was constantly growling. I didn’t know bulls growl… So, there is room for improvement for recording video of a singing Sagebrush Sparrow.

Anyway, I’m still pleased with the outcome. I do think I need an external, directional microphone for recording singing birds. Digiscoping really caters to sparrows and other passerines that are more flighty, but it doesn’t capture the song well. Still, It’s really nice to have quality glass to help with the effort. I’m really excited to apply the technique to some of Alaska’s more timid birds this summer, such as the singing Arctic Warbler and displaying Bluethroat.

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