On my western sojourn back in June we made a half-day visit to the absolutely gorgeous Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas. Because we had four children with us we chose to do the thirteen-mile loop road, stopping several times to take in the views and once, at the Willow Springs Picnic Area, to take a short hike through the desert. Though our visit was all-too-quick it was memorable and enjoyable and should I ever find myself in Las Vegas again I will definitely make it a point to stop back at Red Rock and explore it more thoroughly.

a view along the scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

a view along the scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

One element of Red Rock Canyon that I probably don’t need to see much better is the Black-throated Sparrow. One incredibly cooperative and confiding bird sang from a nearby bush and then flew to the rock I was photographing it from and briefly foraged there while I hustled to back up so I could get it in focus. It then flew back to its original perch and just sat for awhile before continuing on its way.

Amphispiza bilineata is a species of the desert and it is found throughout proper habitat in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is an attractive and kind of awe-inspiring little bird, as most creatures that can survive in harsh conditions are (at least to me).

Black-throated Sparrow

The bird in these pictures was the first of its species I had seen in six years and it more than made up for lost time. Enjoy!

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata

Click the image above for a bigger version.

Black-throated Sparrow at Red Rock Canyon

Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata

For comparison purposes, here is a shot of a Black-chinned Sparrow, another desert sparrow found at Red Rock Canyon.

Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis

I hope you liked these shots of Black-throated Sparrows.  If you want to see more great images of birds check out our big and growing page of photo galleries, 10,000 Clicks!

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.