Commonly referred to as the winter sparrow, the American Sparrow is a fixture to many winter bird feeders here in the greater Ottawa area consistently year over year. These small sparrows, despite their name, are not particularly associated with trees as their traditional nesting sites are often found in the northern tundra, known for its sparse offering of trees.
These ground feeding birds are often sighted among flocks of dark-eyed juncos during the winter months and come equipped with a hefty appetite. Each day, these sparrows need to take in roughly 30 percent of their body weight in food and a similar percentage of water each day to merely survive. When without proper food and water, these birds can lose up to one-fifth of their weight very quickly and the unfortunate reality is that a day without proper nutrition often results in mortality for these birds.
As with many of our other winter birds, if you have American tree sparrows nearby, keeping both your feeders and bird baths full on a daily basis is vital for their survival.