American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)
Status in the Checklist Area - (8) - Accidental

A smallish sparrow at breeds in arctic tundra and migrates south to winter in the southern provinces and United States. Winters annually in southern B.C. but is fairly rare in most locations. Males and females look alike. Feeds mainly on seeds and insects. An individual was observed successfully flycatching for a flying insect (G. Gadsden, 2012). Earliest fall migration records are in middle October.

Similar species:
All sparrows can be tricky to identify. A lack of streaks on the breast of an American Tree Sparrow can help eliminate many of our common sparrows. Might suggest a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow but note facial pattern, bi-coloured bill, more prominant white wing-bars, black spot on breast and smaller size. Also most similar in appearance to a breeding plumaged Chipping Sparrow. However, most Chipping Sparrows are gone south by middle September and any that are left will be in duller nonbreeding colours (but are still distressingly similar). Compare the facial pattern and crown. See photos and video below.

Sibley, D. 2000

Noteworthy Data
October 27, 2012 Harrison Lake C. McDonald, 2012 Two feeding at the lagoon. Photographed. Also present on Oct. 28, 2012 (M. Williams, 2012) and a single bird on Oct. 31, 2012 (G. Gadsden, 2012c).
October 25, 2012 Hope Airport, Hope G. Gadsden, 2012 One feeding actively along the northeast end of Airport Rd.
October 25, 2012 GBHNR, Chilliwack B & J Clayton, 2012 One near the feeder at the interpretive centre. Photographed.
December 15, 2010 Chaplin Road, Agassiz J. Osterhold Two with a flock of Golden-crowned Sparrows.
December 01, 2010 Harrison Mills K. Stewart With a flock of Juncos at Eagle Point Community Park. Photographed.
November 19, 2010 Harrison Lake K.R. Jones One and sometimes two birds seen daily until Nov 23, 2010 at boat launch.
December 18, 2008 Hope D & T Dal Bello Came to feeders until last sighting 28 Dec 2008.
December 21, 2007 Martin Road, Agassiz K.R. Jones Three individuals recorded for the Christmas Bird Count.
Audio and Video    
Video of an American Tree Sparrow at Hope Airport feeding on Goldenrod seeds. Click here

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