[Tweeters] Eurasian Tree Sparrows in MO

Timothy Barksdale timothy.barksdale at gmail.com
Wed Oct 30 13:33:12 PDT 2019

Dear Tweets,

As a native St. Louisan, and back to being a current (if only a possibly fully-returned) Missourian, I am intrigued by this sighting at Neah Bay.

Eurasian Tree Sparrows (or ETS- as we call them in STL) remained relatively stable and resident within a small radius of St. Louis Missouri and the adjacent county, for a large number of years. Beginning in the late 1970’s the population began to get a larger hold. This species is not a junk food feeder like House Sparrows. In the St. Louis area ETS’s have become rural residents, in winter congregating around farmsteads and sometimes feedlots. But they are much less intrusive and “gentle”. By the mid 1980’s this species was expanding more rapidly and especially northward. Quincy, Illinois became another stronghold about this time. As others have noted, the birds do wander but again given the un-obnoxious mannerisms, they might be expanding further than we know.

They have not expanded in large numbers due west of St. Louis to our knowledge, nor to the south. Occasional sightings in areas like Columbia,MO are not followed up with massive Eurasian Collared Dove explosions in population. Illinois has been colonizing area but again primarily in a generally northward direction. There have been some recent sightings in Duluth, MN area too.

As I began working on the new projects in Missouri, I noted that suburbs were being readily colonized. ETS do not tend to be rat-like Starling ( for a nest- any hole will do) invaders. They will use bluebird boxes and smaller holes. The calls are quite distinct from House Sparrow and in several neighborhoods where I ran or walked, there were good numbers and it was not uncommon to hear 15-20 in a morning.

This is a distinct increase from the 1990’s when I lived full time in Missouri. And it may represent a 3x -4x increase. However, I am not aware of any specific censusing directed at determining the overall population levels of Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Missouri or Illinois. They are not pests either and so fall between the cracks - more or less.

I hope this assessment is helpful.


Timothy Barksdale

Birdman Productions LLC
P.O.Box 1124
69 Mountain View Dr.
Choteau, MT 59422

Missouri Production address:
Birdman Adventures LLC
7903 Mo State Rt 94
Mokane, MO 65059

Timothy dot barksdale -at- gmail dot com


Message: 5
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2019 05:52:09 +0000 (UTC)
From: christopherwarlow at yahoo.com <mailto:christopherwarlow at yahoo.com>
To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Tweeters] Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Neah Bay.
Message-ID: <437210131.1189918.1572241929088 at mail.yahoo.com <mailto:437210131.1189918.1572241929088 at mail.yahoo.com>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Today (Sunday) at 1:40 we found a Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Butler?s Hotel in Neah Bay.?
Initially it was in the brambles across the street but then it flew to the feeders. It was very skittish in comparison to the house sparrows that it was with. It held back in the brush and flushed at any movement of blackbirds or jays.?
We got clear but short views over about 5 minutes but failed to get a photo. We then waited for several hours for it to return. Eventually we moved on and relocated the Eurasian Tree Sparrow at 3:40 with the large flock of House Sparrows by the hummingbird feeder on Lincoln and Bay View. Again we didn?t get a photo and the flock dispersed.?
The bird is clearly identified from the House, White-Crowned and Golden-Crowned in the area. It has a full rufous cap, clean bright white cheeks with a black spot on the cheek.?

Chris WarlowOlympia?

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