Tree sparrows

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Tree sparrows

Tree sparrow perched on branch.

Tree sparrow perched on branch.

(See the latest post on tree sparrows here) The tree sparrow used to be abundant in the countryside and hardly seen in built up areas. The population declined by an estimated massive 93% between 1970 and 2008; fortunately there are now signs they are making a slow comeback according to RSPB figures. They are easily distinguished from house sparrows because of the black patch on the cheeks; they also have a brown head as opposed to the house sparrow which is grey, but that is not as noticeable at a distance. Tree sparrows are slightly smaller and slimmer than the house sparrow but they both nest in holes.

Tree sparrows natural nesting sites are holes in trees (as the name might suggest) but they seem to be quite willing to nest in nest boxes on the side of a house as they have used the same nest box on the side of my house for the last five years. I live on the edge of the countryside so I'm not quite sure if they would nest in more built up areas. When they were abundant in numbers they would nest in colonies but I only see them perhaps two or three at any one time.

Nest: The nest is an untidy collection of dry grass, feathers and sometimes bits of string in a hole in a tree, wall or bird box placed about 15 feet (4.5 mtrs) of the ground.

Eggs: 4 to 6 brownish with blotches and speckled all over in April - June.

See if you can spot the two tree sparrow chicks on the log pile in one of the pictures below.

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