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Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Ontario and a Ross's Goose

Published November 26, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Ross's Goose

A very rare bird was found up in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region in Ontario. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow somehow found its way to a person's front yard feeder and the "funny looking bird" was noticed by the resident's granddaughter. I'm not sure how old she is, but what a great find and how amazing she noticed the differences between this bird and the House Sparrows that a lot of adults might not ever notice.

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, a native of Europe, has only a few, small populations established in the US and Canada.  St Louis, MO is the largest and thought to be the core from where others around the Great Lakes have been found.

This bird is an introduced species by a bird dealer in 1870.  It's a member of the Old World Sparrows group and, like the House Sparrow, is more closely related to a finch than a sparrow.

Many birders are "flocking" to see this handsome male along the Niagara River and Celeste and I joined them this past Wednesday.  We had a few, short sightings of him as he and dozens of House Sparrows periodically fed at the feeders.  Fortunately, for us, the feeders were hung in the front yard and the homeowner didn't mind us waiting at the roadside for the bird's appearances.  Photos were few as the birds were very flighty - but I did get some documentation shots and added them below.

On the way to see the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, we stopped at Beaver Island State Park to see if the Ross's Goose was still there. We found it still on the beach at the far side. It was not shy at all and allowed us to get fairly close before showing any signs of concern, at which point, we backed off a bit before getting a few photos. This is an adolescent Ross's, we think, due to its darker coloration. This is not a very common species here in Western New York, so it was very nice for us both to see another one!
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Ross's Goose
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Ross's Goose
Reply from: tim on 11/30/2014 4:41 PM
 Very nice Sue,the ET sparrow looks so much like our house sparrow
Reply from: Sue on 12/6/2014 3:35 PM
 I agree, Tim - I'm amazed the granddaughter of the homeowner picked it out as something different!