On August 14, 2009, I had an exciting wildlife sighting right in my own backyard here in Arkansas. As I was looking out my window, I spotted a young Chipping Sparrow perched on the barbed wire fence in my yard. From its plumage and behavior, I could tell it was a fledgling, likely just a few weeks old and still under the care of its parents.

Chipping Sparrow Fledgling On A Barbed Wire Fence

Chipping Sparrow Fledgling On A Barbed Wire Fence

I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to get outside and snap a few photos of the fledgling while it was perched on the fence. Chipping Sparrows typically fledge from the nest around 9-12 days old, so this little guy was likely exploring the world outside the nest for the first time!

The fledgling let me approach fairly close and seemed unconcerned by my presence. I was able to fire off several good shots before it finally fluttered off into a nearby bush. I’m thrilled to have captured these images to document this special backyard wildlife encounter.

This summer I’ve spotted a couple other Chipping Sparrow fledglings around my property. Just yesterday I found one perched on the bumper of my pickup truck while doing a walk-around. It’s a good thing I always check for birds before driving off!

Fledglings of all species are very vulnerable at this stage as they learn to fly, forage, and evade predators. If you find a fledgling on the ground or unable to fly well yet, it’s best to leave it be unless it’s in immediate danger. The parents are likely still caring for it nearby. With a little luck, some may stick around my yard and I’ll be able to watch them continue to grow and develop into accomplished, beautiful adult Chipping Sparrows!

I feel fortunate to have these sparrows nesting on my property and to be able to observe their fledglings up close. Spotting those first fledglings each spring is one of my favorite parts of birding right in my own backyard. I’ll be sure to share more backyard bird stories and photos here throughout the summer!

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer

Camera and Settings:

  • Date: 8/14/09
  • Time: 3:25:23 PM
  • Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
  • Lens (mm): Canon 100-400
  • ISO: 400
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Shutter: 1/1250
  • Exp. Comp.: 0.0
  • Program: Aperture Priority