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Feb 17, 2012

Tree Sparrows change behaviour

Photo by BarrytheBirder
MAmerican Tree SparrowM
Spizella arborea
According to conventional wisdom, American Trees Sparrows are relatively uncommon visitors at feeders.   But in this winter of turnabout weather conditions, tree sparrows have been regular visitors at my backyard feeders all winter.   Furthermore, my backyard is in the village of King City, not out of town and adjacent to meadows or farm fields.   In my copy of Birds at Your Feeder, authors Dunn and Tessaglia-Hymes have this to say about American Tree Sparrows: "Flocks prefer to forage in fields and pasture with few shrubs or trees, belying the species name.   They are "bad-weather birds" that usually ignore feeders unless the weather turns severely cold and stormy".   Yet, I have had trees sparrows around the feeders every day this winter and up to 20 at a time, on many occasions.   On the other hand, this is the first winter ever, that I have seen this level of activity by Tree Sparrows in my backyard.   The odd one, now and then, but never regularly in the past.   Once again, it has been a winter of contrasts and one is left wondering, in this new weatherworld, if this is exceptional or the new normal.
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