Passer montanus montanus
Status: Accidental in winter.
Documentation: Photograph: 3 Feb 2007 Madison Co.
Taxonomy: Nine or ten subspecies are recognized throughout Eurasia (Gill and Donsker 2017, Pyle 1997).
The introduced North American population is derived from some 20 birds released in St. Louis, Missouri in 1870; these birds were thought to be from Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany (Barlow et al 2020) and thus subspecies montanus (Gill et al 2021). As of 2022, the range has expanded north and west, with numerous records in Iowa, and several reports on the Great Plains, for example in South Dakota (Thompson and Tallman 2005), with northwesternmost in Saskatchewan; there are several records east to Indiana and in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with outliers as far east as Nova Scotia, Canada.
As might be expected, there are several reports of hybrids with House Sparrow P. domesticus within the above-described range of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, by far most from Iowa, where there are at least 15 records of hybrids (eBird.org, accessed Feb 2022). As far northwest as the Pigeon Lake area, Manitoba, first records of hybrids were in 1991 (Lang 1992), but most eBird reports of hybrids range wide are since 2018 (eBird.org, accessed Feb 2022).
Winter: There is one record:
24 Jan-15 Feb 2007 Madison, Madison Co (Brogie 2008).
This bird had been frequenting a feeder at the Rausch residence in rural Madison Co with House Sparrows since about 24 Jan and was seen by several observers through 15 Feb (Brogie 2007).
Comments: The nearest record of this normally sedentary species prior to the 2007 Nebraska record was from Greene Co in west-central Iowa; it is gradually spreading northwestward from the St. Louis, Missouri area, mostly in Iowa (eBird.org, accessed Feb 2022). If the current pattern of northwestward expansion continues, Nebraska records are anticipated to increase over time.
Barlow, J.C., S.N. Leckie, P. Pyle, and M.A. Patten. 2020. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.eutspa.01.
Brogie, M.A. 2007. Eurasian Tree Sparrow- a first record for Nebraska. NBR 75: 118-120.
Brogie, M.A. 2008. 2007 (19th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 76: 111-119.
Gill, F., and D. Donsker (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird List (v 7.3).
Gill, F., D. Donsker, and P. Rasmussen (Eds). 2021. IOC World Bird List (v 11.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.11.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
Lang, A.L. 1992. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow population in North America: evolving and expanding. Birder’s Journal 1: 298-307.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.
Thompson, R., and D.A. Tallman. 2005. Eurasian Tree Sparrow- a new species for South Dakota. South Dakota Bird Notes 57: 83.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2022. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 28 Feb 2022