American Tree Sparrows breed in shrubby habitat along the edges of the
tundra and northern tree limit. The nest of grass, weeds, feathers and hair, built by the
female, is usually placed on or near the ground at the base of a small tree, shrub or tuft
of grass. From 3 to 5 eggs incubated by the female hatch in about two weeks. Both parents
care for the young, who leave the nest in 9 to 10 days.
The Bird Banding Lab web site reports that between 1955 and 1997, a total of 404,923 American Tree Sparrows were
banded. Of these, 12,751 have been recovered, a recovery rate of 3.14%.
Banding studies show that the American Tree Sparrow can live from 6 to 9
years in the wild. They are short to long distance migrants that winter across most of the
USA, and migrate from 1,500 to 3,000 miles to their breeding grounds in Alaska and
If you should recover a banded bird, please report the band number to the Bird Banding Lab
by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
Economic Importance &
Populations of American Tree Sparrows seem to be holding steady but declines are being
noticed in some wintering regions. Their Northern breeding habitat is not as impacted by
mans activities as are their wintering grounds.
In addition to the many weed seeds consumed, diet consists of flies, beetles, ants,
grasshoppers, other insects and spiders.
These small birds are well adapted to winter habitats and do well in temperatures down to
minus 28 °C as long as they can obtain food. Weedy fields left unmowed are important
source of food and cover for Tree Sparrows and many other species, especially when snow
covers the ground.
Back to Top | Back to Bird
All images are courtesy of CWBO. All image copyrights are owned by CWBO.
Any use of these images must have permission of CWBO.