Tree Sparrow

10 Fascinating American Tree Sparrow Facts

The Tree Sparrow is a small brown and gray bird that lives in the temperate forests of North America. They are found throughout most of Canada, but not so much in the northern reaches of Canada where it’s too cold for them to live.

In the United States they can be found from New England all the way west to California. In Europe, it is seen in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Romania, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Poland, and Hungary.


The average Adult American sparrows weigh between 17 and 27 grams, and are 2 – 4″ inches in length. 


It prefers to live in areas of open woodland, meadows, orchards, suburban areas, scrubland and farmland where there are few trees. The best place to find them is near bushes or low vegetation. 

Food Sources

Tree sparrows feed mostly on seeds, grasses, nuts, berries, fruits, and have been observed eating insects, or invertebrates, that they find on the ground such as grasshoppers, spiders, flies, crickets, beetles, snails, millipedes, centipedes and slugs, but will also eat grain crops like wheat, barley, oats, and corn when available.


The male and female will mate in spring and summer. However, they do not mate until early summer in the east, while in the west, it typically takes place around late March or early April.

They typically make their nests in the cracks of tree bark or on small branches close to the ground, and then line them with grasses or leaves. They also collect feathers to make a fluffy lining for their nests.

The female builds the nest using grasses, moss, bark strips, and leaves for lining. The male gathers material while the female builds the nest on her own; he will then deliver it to her as she continues building.

When finished with construction, she lays 5-6 eggs at a time, with an incubation period lasting about 14 days. Both parents take turns sitting on the eggs for 12-hour shifts while they are incubating.

When the chicks hatch, they have a high enough body temperature to maintain their own heat and can move around under the mother’s brood patch without her assistance.

The nestlings rely on the adults to care for them until they fledge from the nest after 10 days. The adults provide food in the form of small insects and seeds that they collect. 


The Tree Sparrow migrates during the colder months to avoid harsh weather conditions and find more food sources. Migration can be an exhausting process for birds that require flight; however, it is necessary for survival.

The migration takes place every fall, and the birds don’t fly back to the north until the spring.

The first step in migration for this species is to find food resources within their current location, or on their way to their destination before migrating. Once they have obtained enough energy reserves, they will then head south to their wintering grounds.

This means that you won’t see any flocks of these birds until after the winter the migration begins. Sparrows have a long flight, usually from southern Canada to Texas and then down south to Mexico and Central America.

They fly for three or more days, depending on how far they are in advance and on what time of year. Once they reach their destination, they return home to nest, lay eggs, and wait for spring.

This is a great opportunity for bird watchers, as it allows them to view rare species. Also, it can be an interesting journey for scientists who study migration patterns.

Songs and Sounds

The American Sparrow’s songs are rich and unique. The male makes a series of high-pitched whistles and then sings to attract a mate.

He sings in a kind of musical tone, and a few males also produce a sound like chirping birds. Other males will follow this example and follow the same singing pattern.


The American sparrow’s average life expectancy ranges from 2-4 years of age, but there have been instances of American sparrows living up to 10 years in captivity.


Northern goshawks, sharp-shinned hawks, screech owls, pygmy owls, Cooper’s hawks, American kestrels, weasels, foxes, red squirrels are known to prey on the Sparrows.

If you see one or more of these in your yard, you should try to eradicate them immediately because they can destroy the nests of the birds, which may lead to their extinction.

Attracting the American Sparrow

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1) Put out a squirrel-proof bird feeder or platform tray feeder, with black-oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, or nyjer seed.

2) Throw some seeds on the ground where you want them to go.

3) Make sure there are plenty of places for them to build nests in trees or shrubs near the ground.

4) If they don’t find their own nesting sites, offer nest boxes at various heights.

5) Include some brush piles as shelter from predators.

6) Plant some fruit trees (apples, crab apples, cherries, apricots, peaches), and bushes in your backyard or near the window, so they can be seen from inside the house.

7) Put up a bird feeder on an outdoor porch railing, make sure it is far enough away from windows where people are looking through them, so they don’t get frightened 

8) Make sure there is always water available with a birdbath for these birds in the summer months, as they like drinking from puddles or pools. 

9) Put up some suet feeders with this suet for sparrows. They love our suet feeders!

10) The Nature Gear Window Bird Feeder is a great way for your family to enjoy birdwatching at home. Find the best price on Amazon.

Nature Gear Window Bird Feeder


The American Sparrow is a great addition to any backyard, or birdhouse. When you have an American Sparrow in your life, you will see it grow into a great companion.