Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Lafayette County Wisconsin on February 25, 2019

A species I have always wanted to get on my life list was the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It finally happened after following up an ebird report from Quentin Y on 2/23/19, thank you Quentin! With the winter like weather we have been having, it took till today, the 25th to get out there. The location is about 14841 East State Line Road in South Wayne Lafayette County. Illinois is on one side of the road, Wisconsin on the other if I am correct. I arrived about 7:00 am. I drove up and down the road very slow coming across flocks of 20 or so birds, mostly Dark-eyed Juncos, with a few American Tree Sparrows mixed in. With the flocks being so large and ice breaking on the road as I rolled along, it was difficult to get near them as they would flush from a distance and with a few cars going by too. After about 45 minutes, I spotted a Eurasian Tree Sparrow in one of the flocks on the side of the road. Of course, it was on the Illinois side of the road! I parked for the most part and waited and waited, finally a group formed in front of me down the road and I noticed a Eurasian Tree Sparrow was in that flock.  From the vehicle I took a few distant shots staying back a ways with out flushing them. Things quieted down and I looked up and a American Kestrel was perched up in a tree above me. Surprisingly Dark-eyed Juncos flew in the same tree as the Kestrel being only 8-10 feet way. They must know there safety zone from the Kestrel with branches in the way I guess.  The Kestrel stayed perched there for 20 minutes, maybe waiting for a Dark-eyed Junco forget that he was there and be in the open. I left the area at that point. To say the least, it was exciting to see this bird and finally get it on my state life list. Other birds seen in the area, 200~ Horned Larks and 5 Lapland Longspurs. It was a cloudy day, very cold with temps about 11 degrees, very little wind, but I was in the car the whole time so not to bad out there. Images were taken on February 25, 2019.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow behind, with Dark-eyed Juncos, sorry for the watermark…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Binomial name: Passer montanus

Category: Old World Sparrows

Size: 6” long, 8.75” wing span

Weight: .77 oz

Cool facts: The Eurasian Tree Sparrow from Europe was released in St. Louis, Missouri area in 1870. It became established there. Unlike its close relative, the House Sparrow, it never spread very far from the original point of being released. It is said now that this species is very slowly moving up the Mississippi River northward and breeding.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow on the right and Dark-eyed Juncos…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with Dark-eyed Juncos…

Distant shot of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow eating weed seeds with Dark-eyed Junco’s along the shoulder of the road…

Lapland Longspur

Horned Lark in the middle and Lapland Longspurs on each side…

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Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

4 Responses to Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Lafayette County Wisconsin on February 25, 2019

  1. Kathi Johnson Rock says:

    Great images Jim. Thanks!!

  2. Annie says:

    Wow, so glad for you finding a lifer. Persistence paid off for you. Thanks for sharing,

  3. Wendy Kubokawa-Wells says:

    Congrats!! I can’t tell one tree sparrow from another. I like the coloration of the Longspur. I think I would have to park my self on the side of the road and hope for a Horned Lark to land long enough for a photo. Thanks for the heads up about ebirds. I just the joined. Happy Birding.

  4. Steve Thiessen says:

    Thanks for posting these photos. I really like that they are at a distance, like real life spotting. I try to keep looking for this species. And yes, it was real hard to get close to those road side birds, that day.

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