Eurasian Tree Sparrow?

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sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

I have shot and trapped a lot of English House Sparrow on my farm. I believe I got most of all of them. Still trying to rid my little world of Starlings; but that is another story.

Just this last year I notice some sparrows that I initial thought were House sparrows; but on further research determine they are Eurasian Tree Sparrows (see picture). There are about 6 of these sparrows that I am tracking.

I have a question. I don't want anything to deter attracting my first nesting pair of martins - do I need to take these sparrows out? Since they are not native birds to America - I think I should be able to take them out. But if they will not bother the martins I will let them be.

Please provide any advice.

Cheers David
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow.jpg
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2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

Hi David,
You have a discerning eye. I would have identified your Eurasian Tree Sparrows as plain old English House Sparrows. i had to look that species up on the Audubon Field Guide website. I had never heard of it. This doesn't really answer your question about how this species affects purple martins, but it's interesting regardless. Thanks for sharing.

From the Audubon website...
Conservation status:
Small population in North America more or less stable, probably has little impact on native birds. In Eurasia, widespread and abundant.
Family:
Old World Sparrows
Habitat:
Farmland, towns. In North America, fairly local in open country with scattered bushes and trees, also in some suburban and city areas. In Europe and Asia, found in many kinds of semi-open habitats, woodland edges, towns, farms.

Brought from Germany, about 20 of these birds were released in St. Louis in 1870. The population took hold there, and they might have spread except that the House Sparrow, seemingly more aggressive and adaptable, reached the St. Louis area at about the same time. Eurasian Tree Sparrows are still found in parts of Missouri and Illinois, and have reached southeastern Iowa, but they are fairly local in farmland and suburbs. The tougher House Sparrow may keep them out of other areas
Craig Dyer
TheSmiths
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History:

Tried to attract PMs since 2004; began more ernest attempt in 2014.

Current housing consists of two modified Trio M12Ks and a round gourd rack.

2018 — 3 pairs

2019 — 6 pairs

2020 — 12 pairs; barred owl late in season


Monitor FILs colony as well as colony at park.

~15 years of providing housing for bluebirds, Carolina wrens, house wrens, Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, great-crested flycatchers and northern flickers.

There are a couple of posts about them. Here's an older discussion -- https://www.purplemartin.org/forum/view ... hp?t=15056 . It doesn't sound like they are much of a threat but should be watched closely. It would be interesting to hear if there are any new observations.
sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

Thank you for responding to my post.

I will monitor them and decide if I need to take action. But from what I have read I should be okay.

Cheers David
2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
John Miller
Posts: 4778
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

They are a non-native that for decades was confined to St. Louis but have moved out about 100 or more miles. They are slightly smaller than house sparrows and both the male and female look the same.

They will build in bluebird boxes and in martin housing. The question becomes, are they as aggressive as house sparrows? Their nests are the same bulky material and they can potentially clog compartments. I doubt they are as aggressive as a house sparrow where the male goes around breaking martin eggs and tossing out martin young, but I don't know this for sure. We need more observation.

I don't have martins in my city yard and I have a gourd under a porch just for ETS. It has a slot 2/14 wide by 7/8 high, same as can be offered for tree swallows, and house sparrows try hard but can't enter.

I probably would not euthanize ETS if trapped, but that's up to you. Again, I think we need more observation of their behavior.
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