Both parents build an untidy cup or domed nest of plant materials and
twigs. The nest is usually placed in a cavity or hole in a cliff, wall, pipe
or haystack. Both the male and the female incubate a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs
(female at night, male and female during day). Eggs hatch in 10 to 12 days.
Both parents feed young that fledge in about 2 weeks. Pairs are double or
sometimes triple brooded.
According to the web page of the Bird Banding Lab, a total of 1,770
Eurasian Tree Sparrows were banded between 1955 and 2000. Of these, only 8
have been encountered outside of the area where they were banded. Fledglings
disperse short distances from their nest. Banding studies show that these
birds are sedentary, and can live up to 12 years in the wild. One individual
banded in Illinois was caught in the same area four years later.
If you should recover a banded bird, you can report the band number to
the Bird Banding Lab by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
Economic Importance and Conservation Status
These birds did not experience the explosive population growth and range
expansion that was seen in the House Sparrow. Population estimates range
from 2,500 individuals in the 1960’s to as many as 150,000 in the mid
Eurasian Tree Sparrows do not disperse far from their nest, and are
out-competed by House Sparrows for nest sites. Fledgling House Sparrows,
however, disperse much greater distances from their nest. These factors
likely account for the relatively limited dispersal of Eurasian Tree
Sparrows in the last 130 plus years.
Their diet consists of grains such as corn, wheat, mixed bird seed millet
and sunflower seeds. Insects are also taken.
They are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but they do
enjoy state protection by the Illinois Department of Conservation. They will
use a nest box similar to those used by the Eastern Bluebird, but the
entrance hole should be less than 29 mm to exclude the slightly larger House
This species is of interest to the birding community, and many tourists
travel to St. Louis and surrounding areas to view and study it. As a result,
ecotourism related to this species brings in tourist dollars to local
communities. Directions to locations where this species can be readily
observed are at various sites on the Internet.
Baicich, P. J. and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs
and nestlings of North American Birds, 2nd edition. Academic Press, New
Barlow, J. C. and S. N. Leckie. 2000. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer
montanus). In The Birds of North America, No. 560 (A. Poole and F. Gill,
eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, D. Wheye, and S. L. Pimm. 1994. The
birdwatcher’s handbook. A guide to the natural history of the birds of
Britain and Europe. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.
Flint, V. E., R. L. Boehme, Y. V. Kostin, A. A. Kuznetsov. 1984. A field
guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Peterson, R. T. and V. M. Peterson. 2002. A field guide to the birds of
eastern and central North America, 5th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., New
Sonobe, K. and J. W. Robinson, editors. 1986. A field guide to the birds
of Japan. Wild Bird Society of Japan. Kodansha International LTD. San
Terres, J. K. 1995. The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American
Birds. Wings Books, Avenel, NJ.
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