Residents in Wyndham and Kununurra are asked to be on alert and report any sightings of unusual birds following the detection of sparrows in the area.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has confirmed sightings of one sparrow in Wyndham, two in Kununurra and one deceased bird was handed into the department’s Kununurra office.
The department is working with local businesses, the Wyndham Port and the Parks and Wildlife Service to undertake surveillance in the area, track the movement of the birds and determine if a breeding population is present.
Department biosecurity officer John-Paul Slaven said house and tree sparrows are declared pests in Western Australia.
“Sparrows have the potential to damage grain and horticulture crops and spread disease,” Mr Slaven said.
“Sparrows are especially attracted to sites including backyard bird-feeding tables, aviaries, cafes, grain storage facilities and seed works where they can feed on spilt grain.
"The support of the local community is vital to help us locate any pest birds as part of our surveillance and removal program.
“I encourage those working and living in the area to help protect our native wildlife and agricultural and horticultural industries by keeping an eye out and reporting any unusual birds to the department as soon as they spot them.”
Tree and house sparrows look similar. Both species are about 15cm long and look similar to finches but are slightly plumper. They are brown or dark grey in colour, with a streaked back and a wedge-shaped beak.
Both species of sparrows move with a distinctive hop along the ground and search in foliage for seeds, soft fruits, flower and leaf buds and grains. They also take flying insects and eat human food scraps.
For more information on sparrows and other pest birds, visit the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au/birds/sparrows
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