Tree Sparrows in Shepparton

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Tree Sparrows in Shepparton
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 12:54:45 +1100
Anthea Fleming wrote:

>Yesterday we parked in Shepparton on the Goulburn Valley Highway, to carry
out a minor
>car repair. We were just north of Nixon St, heading south. I noticed a pair
of sparrows
>on a rubbish bin - they looked too brown for House Sparrows. Binocs showed
them to be
>Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrows have a rather fascinating distribution in SE Australia.  There
is the big (and well known) hub of Greater Melbourne and Geelong, and then
another on the Gippsland Plains centred on the Princes Highway between about
Drouin and Traralgon.  There are a few small outliers outside that, but then
the next concentration of records is along the inland slopes and northern
plains of Victoria (including Shepparton, Kyabram etc.) and NSW inland
slopes between about Bendigo (Vic) and around Orange (NSW).  The inland
distribution doesn't seem strongly linked to the near-coastal; and it
loosely follows the Midland Highway and a bit of the Hume Highway in
Victoria, and approximately the Olympic Way (and some Hume Highway) in NSW.

Major intercity roads and their attendant human population clusters seem
fairly important, and this animal is far more widespread than the occasional
twitching RFIs would seem to indicate!

I don't think any others of the ferals have such a uniquely patterned
distribution here - though Common Greenfich has some similarities.  It looks
to me like Tree Sparrows haven't finished the job of dispersal yet, and may
end up infilling the map to end up with a distribution more akin to
Greenfinch or Goldfinch.

Lawrie Conole
28 Reid Street
Northcote 3070 AUSTRALIA
lconole at gmail dot com

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