Bunbury residents are urged to report sightings of unusual birds following the discovery of three Asian tree sparrows in Marlston Hill.
Department of Agriculture and Food biosecurity officer James Sheehan said the sparrows had been seen feeding with native birds in local backyards.
“Tree sparrows look similar to some finches, but are slightly more plump,” Mr Sheehan said.
“They are brown or dark grey with a streaked back and a wedge-shaped beak, between 11 and 16 centimetres long.”
Sparrows are especially attracted to sites including bird-feeding tables, refuse bins, cafés, aviaries and grain storage facilities. When feeding they are often seeing hopping along the ground.
“The department has located and removed two of the sparrows, but we need the public’s help to locate the remaining bird or any others,” Mr Sheehan said.
He said tree sparrows were a declared pest in Western Australia and often found near sea ports, after arriving on ships.
Sparrows have the potential to damage cultivated grain and horticulture crops, spread disease and compete with native birds for food.
They can also foul buildings through the nesting, roosting and feeding behaviours.
“The discovery of sparrows in Bunbury highlights the need for people, particularly those living near the port, to report any unusual birds quickly so they can be located and removed if required,” he said.
Any sightings of sparrows or other exotic birds should be reported to the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Bunbury office on 9780 6100 or the Pest and Disease Information Service on free call 1800 084 881.
For more information on sparrows and other pest birds, visit the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au
Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937