American Tree Sparrow

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American Tree Sparrow

Spizella arborea
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Adult upperparts are reddish-brown and streaked with black and tan. There are two bold, white wing bars. The head is gray with a reddish-brown crown, line off the rear edge of the eye and shoulder crescent. The bill is bicolored: dark on top and yellow below. Underparts are clear gray with a dark spot in the center of the breast (like a "stickpin"). There is a rusty wash on the flanks. The legs are black. The song begins with several clear whistles followed by a rapid warble. The call is a high, tinkling, three-syllable phrase: "tzeedle-eet," most frequently heard in winter in Missouri.

Length: 6 1/4 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Weedy fields, brushy woodland edges, crop fields and overgrown gardens. Also commonly seen below platform feeders or other areas where seed has been spread on the ground.
Forages in fields and forest edges for insects and seeds; also frequents bird feeders, where it looks for seeds on the ground. Tree sparrows often travel in small flocks that may defend a winter-feeding territory.
Distribution in Missouri: 
During the winter, tree sparrows can be found throughout Missouri, although they are less common in the far southern counties.
Common winter resident. In summer, American tree sparrows nest in willow thickets and arctic shrub along the tundra's edge in Canada and Alaska. But during the winter, tree sparrows can be found throughout Missouri, especially in our northern and western sections. Winter populations can fluctuate from year to year.
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