Tree sparrows at first look very similar to their larger and more common cousin: the house sparrow. Look closely though and you’ll see they have a chestnut brown head (rather than grey) and have white cheeks with a black spot.
Tree sparrows feed mainly on plants – eating buds and shoots, berries and flowers and grain. They’ll also feed on invertebrates such as beetles, caterpillars and spiders.
Populations of tree sparrow have fluctuated in the UK since the 1800s. Between 1975 and 1999 though there was a significant decline of 95% and their range declined by a fifth.
Tree sparrows have been made a UK biodiversity action plan (BAP) priority species and are also protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. In the Vale, one small population of tree sparrow remains and is part of a project led by the Glamorgan bird club.