I had one of those Ahhhhhh moments yesterday.

I’d put some bird seed in the large pot plant saucer I’d bought to use as a bird bath (but no bird ever drank or splashed around in it), so occasionally I fill it with bird seed to entice the avian species to my balcony garden.

Of course, they make a terrible mess splitting the seeds from the husk and use the balcony floor and fence rail as a ‘public convenience’ and it takes me a couple of hours to sweep, wash & clean it all up.   I have just swept and tidied up awaiting a wash later this afternoon.  Regular balcony cleaning is mandatory, as, otherwise, my shoes collect the sticky bird droppings or seed husks and get carted indoors on the pale carpet (despite the door mat to wipe my shoes on).

I’ve always accepted the slight variations in feather patterns of the House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) as a normal avian thing.

But yesterday I realised I had a different Sparrow species visiting – the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).  

There are actually 2 different sparrows species found in the south-east of the country, according to my Australian Bird Guide Book.  

Now, I’m not going to go back through the old posts to see if I’ve mixed the identification up, but I am going to convey the difference in this post.


The sexes of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow are unlike the House Sparrows in that the male and female have similar plumage. The male and female of the House Sparrows are very different.  

The crown and nape of the Eurasian Tree Sparrows are a rich brown, with characteristic white cheek patch with a black central spot.  The forehead and bib are black with the rest of the underparts a pale grey-buff.  Back and wings are a richly mottled chestnut.

I don’t know how I haven’t noticed before now, or maybe I just never had Eurasian Tree Sparrows visiting before yesterday?  Who knows.

The flight feathers and notched tail are dark brown.  I tried to get a photo of the tail showing the notch, but the birds wouldn’t pose at the right angle for me.

I’m not sure which species this bird is. Perhaps it’s a juvenile House Sparrow as it clearly doesn’t have the white cheek patch of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.  This shot has a faded look as it was made through the glass window.

THIS IS CLEARLY a Female HOUSE SPARROW showing the stripe running from the eye (and made through the opened sliding door, hence much clearer, or sharper, in focus).

The image below shows a male House Sparrow feeding 2 females (definitely NOT a Eurasian Tree Sparrow).

The weather is absolutely gorgeous at the moment.  Sunny blue skies with a lovely cool breeze over recent days or overcast skies and cool temperatures (today).  We’ve even had a bit of decent rainfall.

This is my kind of weather and definitely a favourite season (besides Spring).

The reality is that every season has its merits, but Autumn and Spring always seem to be pretty special here in Melbourne, Australia.  The intermittent cloud cover makes for some lovely sunsets in Autumn.

14 thoughts on “EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus)

    1. I feel such an idiot not to have noticed the obvious difference. I mean how could one miss that white cheek patch with the black centre.


    1. It is nice to have a new visitor, Tanja.
      I wish some of the other birds would come back, but no doubt other bird visitors are seasonal and I haven’t actually noticed the time of year they’ve arrived.

      I suspect I’m getting more wrens and sparrows as they’ve now become better accustomed to the construction noise across the road.

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    1. I was really pleased with that shot that showed the cheek patch, Terry. Can’t believe I didn’t notice it before as I’ve usually got a good eye for detail. I’ll never mix it up again.
      Glad to hear you enjoyed the sunset shot.

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  1. Good to hear your weather has finally improved! We have several varieties of sparrow here, but they are nearly impossible to tell apart. The shot of the male feeding the females is a great capture,

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    1. The weather has been so UNpredictabl, Gunta. Every time it cooled down a bit, the following week it heated up again. I think we’re well and truly into Autumn now though.

      That shot with the male feeding the females was a lucky shot. Right time, right place sort of thing 🙂


      1. Interesting… our weather has been doing much the same, except in reverse. We’ve been wanting to take a camping trip but the storm squalls have kept coming in rather unpredictably each time we think we might head out.
        As for the lucky shots… I find that luck favors the prepared. Of course there are still those moments when the camera isn’t quite handy enough! 😀

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    2. I swear every time I haven’t got the camera(s) out of their soft pouches, there is a bird shot in sight. Same with going out. Leave the camera(s) at home and I see a great bird shot or flower in bloom.


  2. I love that photo of the male feeding the others, too. It may have been luck, but it’s a great shot. We have so many sparrows, and I’ve never tried photographing them out in the field. Especially at the refuges, there are an abundance of species, but they’re flighty, and given to hiding in the abundant cover. It would take such patience and a bigger lens to get decent captures — every time I try, I admire the ‘real’ bird photographers even more. You have a great advantage with your ability to put out food and water. Birds are many things, but they’re not stupid! If you provide it, they will come!

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    1. You’re right Linda. Once you put the food and water out, the birds eventually find it (and spread the word to their friends).

      The bird bath seems to be a regular stopping point for a drink for the sparrows, but surprisingly, no other birds use it.

      And yes, I have a great advantage as my desk chair is my daily site for bird watching, TV/DVD watching, reading and computer work, so while I continually get up and down (for some movement & daily chores), in general, there’s a fair chance I’m looking out the window OR notice the slightest movement out of the corner of my eye and look up to grab the camera.

      Today, Sunday, there’s nothing but the sound of the birds. Well, occasionally a car, but that noise is so brief as to not disturb ‘the country atmosphere.’ The sky is such a vivid blue and not a cloud in sight. Picture, or should I say, photo, perfect.

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