Eurasian Tree Sparrow on ixora plants

posted in: Feeding strategy, Feeding-plants, Plants | 2

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), once a common resident, is getting uncommon in Singapore. And possibly also in some of the surrounding countries. I used to have a few pairs always nesting in the eaves of my house but no more. They are seldom seen around my grden nowadays. The encounter below was made more than a year ago at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. I do not know whether these sparrows are still around there as I have yet to revisit the location.

Many evenings, around 0600 hours, a small flock of Eurasian Tree Sparrows would suddenly fly onto a small patch of ixora plants by Symphony Lake in the Singapore Botanical Gardens (above).

Each bird would pick a branch and perch at the top, some with bunches of flowers, others without. There, the bird would sit quietly, to sometimes preen or even feed on some insects or other that happen to be around (below). They would remain for five to ten minutes.

At times, there would be a second but smaller wave of sparrows. These birds would fly over those already there, to settle ahead. A few birds would fly off to settle further on in the patch. At other times ten or more birds would fly off to be replaced by others flying in.

Most times, the birds would allow me to get to within half a metre to observe.

These sparrows are used to be fed bread crumbs by visitors and such behaviour can be a response to expected feedings.

Then, just as suddenly, all the birds would fly off.

YC Wee
December 2009
(Top image by YC Wee, bottom image by Melinda Chan)

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