Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus Order: Passeriformes Family: Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
Passer montanus Order: Passeriformes Family: Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

Eurasian Tree Sparrows are, as their name implies, native to temperate areas of Europe and Asia, all the way into Southeast Asia. They also have an established population in and around St. Louis, Missouri—that population reportedly began with 12 birds imported from Germany in April 1870 to be released in one of the old “naturalization” projects that introduced popular birds from all over the globe to new countries. That small population hasn’t spread much, even as starlings introduced in New York City were spreading all over the continent.

Eurasian Tree Sparrows are considered a pest species in Australia—they aren’t introduced intentionally there, but sometimes start nesting on ships in various ports in Southeast Asia and stay with the ship all the way to Australia. In the St. Louis area they do compete with native cavity nesters, such as bluebirds and chickadees, and if their range expands, might pose a problem. They apparently aren’t as likely to kill the nesting birds as House Sparrows are, but their smaller size does make them harder to exclude from chickadee boxes. Here’s a link to a website about Eurasian Tree Sparrows competing with native birds.

I’ve seen them several times in and near St. Louis, Missouri, but have also seen them in southern Illinois, Lake and St. Louis Counties in Minnesota, and in Douglas County, Wisconsin. I’ve also seen them where they belong in Europe, in 2014, when I saw them in Hungary and Austria.

Laura's Published Works

More Photos