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Urban Birding Adventure: St. Louis Tree Sparrows! - finchwench
December 1st 2011, Thursday
01:43 pm


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Urban Birding Adventure: St. Louis Tree Sparrows!
I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives in Saint Louis, Missouri. We went to the local zoopark, and I enjoyed the opportunity for some backyard and urban bird-watching. As nice as it was to see the Cardinals of Saint Louis (of course, I mean the birds not the baseball team), the ornithological highlight of the trip had to be the sighting of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).

We started out by driving around in the Dogtown community which includes the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood. After we spotted suspected Eurasian Tree Sparrows (not to be confused with American Tree Sparrows, who are not true sparrows but buntings) perched on a wire, we decided to park somewhere and walk around. Near our parking spot, songbirds could be heard, and a possible predator was lurking on a lamppost.

We headed back on foot toward the site of the drive-by sighting of suspicious silhouettes on a wire, and I had already trained my eye to scan for all of the feeding stations dutifully maintained by the residents of the neighborhood, even after a rainstorm. While walking eastward on Lloyd Avenue, just past Graham Street, I spotted a little black cheek spot like the pupil of an eye gazing out at us from the center of a shrub. This was our first confirmed sighting of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Saint Louis!

This is nearly the very instant of our first confirmed sighting of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the States
on 27 November 2011 at 12:53 CST. Indeed, they were exactly where they were supposed to be!

MO' Euro Tree Sparrows! > > > > >

3 peckspeck me

[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
Great - they are even getting rare over here in Europe!
[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Are they really becoming rare? I know that there has been a decline even in House Sparrows, in Asia too. Is the Tree Sparrow decline proportionate?
[User Picture]
Date:December 3rd, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
I don't have the figures, but they have quite disappeared from some areas. What I get here are house/Italian sparrows hybrids, although they look to me more like tree-sparrows without the spot.
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