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This Morning Outside

by Diane Porter

March 12, 2011
Birdwatching Dot Com
Fairfield, Iowa

Whoa! That's not just another house sparrow. That's a Eurasian tree sparrow! The first one I've ever seen at Birdwatching Dot Com.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Photo copyright 2011 Michael and Diane Porter

Prettier than the house sparrow, with its black patch on the white cheek. Like the house sparrow, this one is an immigrant from Eurasia. However, it is rare in the US. For decades the only place to find it in the States was near St. Louis. But in the last few years it's been spreading into Illinois and southeast Iowa (where Birdwatching Dot Com is).

Males and females look alike, so this could be either gender. They can tell each other apart by how they act. Males sing. Males chirp at nest to attract a female to it. Male poses at nest he owns by stretching his head up, or he puts his head down and rocks from side to side. Scares off rivals and probably looks very sexy to females.

The Eurasian tree sparrow more a bird of the countryside than the house sparrow. It's less aggressive than the house sparrow. I can't help liking it a lot better. It was a treat to see one this morning.

—Diane Porter

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