Donnybrook residents are urged to be on the lookout for unusual birds after the discovery and capture of an Asian tree sparrow in the Argyle area.
Department of Agriculture and Food invasive species manager Lindsay Strange said the bird was discovered near an Argyle resident’s backyard aviary.
“The resident, a bird lover who knows his birds, captured the sparrow and delivered it to the department’s Bunbury office,” Mr Strange said.
“This is the second sighting of a sparrow in the South West since August and the department is relying on community help to ensure there are no other non-native birds in the area.
“Tree sparrows are a declared pest in Western Australia and are often found near ports, after arriving on ships.
“Sparrows have the potential to damage grain and horticultural crops, spread disease and compete with native birds for food.
“They can also foul buildings through nesting, roosting and feeding behaviours.”
Asian tree sparrows are larger than Welcome swallows at between 11 to 16 centimetres long. They have wedge-shaped wings, a finch-like face with black cheeks and are brown to gray in colour.
Asian tree sparrows are especially attracted to sites such as bird-feeding tables, rubbish bins, cafés, houses and sheds, aviaries and grain storage facilities. When feeding they are often seen hopping along the ground.
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.
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937