The tree sparrow was once a very common bird in farmland habitat, where they could be found amongst most overgrown hedgerows, especially ones with occasional mature trees. During the winter, grain piles and spillages also used to see large gatherings of mixed tree and house sparrow flocks. Nowadays though, much smaller numbers are to be found in these habitats.
In North Norfolk the most well known site is Choseley which is just 1 mile south of Titchwell, where the species is still present in small numbers. The best areas to look are around the drying barns and surrounding hedgerows.
If you visit areas with overgrown well-developed hedgerows that feature mature trees, then take the time to look for tree sparrows. Whilst they have become scarce, small numbers are spread widely across Norfolk.
If you feed birds in a rural garden then look for this species when we have hard frosts or snow, this forces individuals to move from their normal areas and they do regularly turn up at feeders in these conditions. You may be surprised to find they are closer to home than you realised.
Picture by Don Cuddon