Tree sparrows are associated with a range of habitats which include farmland (both arable and pasture), open woodlands/wood edge, and hedgerows with mature hedgerow trees, parkland, villages and areas with wetland features.
Tree sparrows are ground feeding, seed eating birds though they also require insects during the breeding season for chick rearing.
Nesting takes place in holes such as cavities in trees and the birds nest in loose colonies with up to 3 broods a year from March through to August.
A number of habitat features can be identified from the above description of the species’ ecology –
- Mixed landscapes with trees.
- Mature trees with cavities.
- Natural and/or cultivated seed sources.
- Wetland features – ditches, streams, ponds, flushes etc.
Where some of these features are absent then we can look to provide alternatives i.e. nest boxes to supplement natural nest sites, feeding stations to supplement natural seed supplies and habitat enhancements to provide a more diverse landscape.
Tree sparrows in the Yorkshire Dales.
Tree sparrows are not really associated with the uplands as can be seen from the habitat preferences but the dales in the national park do however contain a number of the preferred habitats and therefore it should be possible for tree sparrows to inhabit these areas.
Lowland areas on the perimeter of the national park contain a higher proportion of the preferred habitat types and these contain populations of tree sparrows at various densities (as can be seen from the records submitted to iSpot and Birdtrack).
The populations in the lowland areas should provide a source of birds to strengthen and/or colonise the dales within the national park – so long as the required habitat features are present for them to utilise.