Many backyard birders will search for a solution for how to keep sparrows out of a bird house. This species of bird can be a total nuisance, and their very presence can drive a birder crazy, especially considering they tend to take over a yard, scaring off other species. If this sounds like the type of problem you’ve been struggling with, then read on to learn more about these pesky birds and how you can prevent them from entering birdhouses that are designed for specific species of birds that you want to attract.
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Why Sparrows Can Be a Problem
For many birders, this species can be annoying for several reasons. For starters, they’re an invasive species that originated from the Middle East. Yet, these highly adaptable birds have managed to inhabit every part of the world. These birds are numerous and very expensive to feed. At times, it may seem like they just appear out of nowhere, entering birdhouses, taking over bird feeders, and making a mess, even despite your efforts to create a yard that’s bird-friendly.
Considering their large numbers, these birds easily outcompete native birds. They’re also very aggressive and this can be especially true when it comes to fighting over territory and taking over cavity-nesting spots in your yard. Unfortunately, it’s very common to find a dead bird in a nesting box that was savagely attacked by sparrows.
These birds can easily drive the backyard birder crazy. They kill adult birds, destroy eggs, and will even kill hatchlings since they’re competing for nesting sites with native birds. They also have a habit of crowding out or scaring off the less aggressive birds from traditional habitats and ranges.
While it’s true that all bird species can suffer from the invasion of sparrows, there are certain species that are particularly vulnerable to a sparrow infestation. This includes:
- Western and eastern bluebirds
- Purple martins
- Cliff and tree swallows
These are the bird species that are usually directly in competition for food and nesting sites with the sparrow.
The sparrow, like most birds, loves a good birdbath. In order to discourage these birds from hanging around your yard, you should get rid of the birdbath or add some rocks to the basin in order to break up the bathing spot. You can use small hanging bird drink stations, drippers, or misters instead of a full-sized birdbath, in order to provide water to other native birds, and without attracting sparrows. Additionally, you should also check out any gravel areas or dry patches of soil in order to eliminate any dusty dry patches that the sparrow enjoys frequenting for their daily dust bath.
Buy Smaller Birdhouses
So, what’s the solution here? You may have more problems on your hands with these birds than just taking over nesting spots, but if this is one of your biggest issues, then buying the best birdhouse, one that comes with a much smaller entryway that a sparrow cannot access, may just be the best solution for this specific problem. I recommend the Perky-Pet 50301 Wren Home, which features a very small and tight entrance that the sparrow cannot fit through.
However, if you want to attract cardinals to your yard, then you’ll need to purchase a larger birdhouse, one with an entryway that a sparrow is able to fit through since cardinals are also a larger species of bird. In this case, you’ll need to take some extra steps to deter sparrows from visiting your yard altogether.
Another way to deter these birds from taking up residence in one of your birdhouses is to avoid leaving out any type of nesting material near the birdhouse.
Trapping these birds is another effective solution for some. If you decide to go this route, it’s important that you use caution and monitor the traps closely. This is because a native species may get caught in the trap and may die if you don’t release it quickly. During the day, check the traps as often as possible.
You can even check out nesting box traps. These traps are disguised to look just like a regular birdhouse, but is specifically designed to trap sparrows. You can also purchase a nest box trap insert. Some models are designed to fit into purple martin birdhouses, while others are made specifically for bluebird houses. Again, you’ll want to pay close attention to these traps to ensure you don’t accidentally catch a native species.
How Do You Get Rid of Sparrows?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent these birds from leaving your yard for good. Yet, there are some things you can do to control these birds and the number that visits your yard daily.
There’s no denying that these birds thrive living near people and tend to benefit from pretty much anything a human can provide, including places to nest. This means you can cut down on the sparrow population in your yard if you get rid of nest locations. By monitoring and eliminating potential nesting locations, you can prevent them from raising their young in your yard. If you come upon a sparrow making a nest, remove the nest immediately. This is often enough to frustrate the bird and cause them to find another location to make a nest.
Some birders recommend shaking any sparrow eggs you may find to prevent the eggs from hatching. However, a sparrow will not know the eggs are not going to hatch and will continue to sit on the nest and guard it.
These birds prefer to nest in birdhouses or cavities near people. If you identify any nesting areas, then use a deterrent, such as netting. You can also cover any vents outside with a cover that’s specifically designed to keep birds out.
Provide Food or Use Food Sparrows Don’t Find Appealing
Any birder knows that you can attract bluebirds, wrens, and sparrows using food. Since the sparrow tends to overrun any type of feeding station, this can end up costing you big. A good solution is purchasing a large amount of cracked corn, which is a cheap food source. Place the corn about ten to fifteen feet away from your regular bird feeders. Sparrows love corn, so you can easily prevent them from devouring all of your regular bird seed.
Another option is to offer food that sparrows do not find appealing. Striped sunflower seeds have a thick shell that sparrows are not able to get open, so it’s a great choice over the typical black oil sunflower seeds that all birds love. Another option is nyjer seeds.
If you want to ensure your backyard is not sparrow-friendly, then don’t offer any of their favorite foods, such as:
- Sunflower kernels
- Black oil sunflower seeds
- Cracked corn
If you’re researching how to get rid of sparrows permanently in an attempt to remove this invasive species, then you’re going to waste a lot of time and energy. There are many ways you can make your yard unappealing to them, but getting rid of them entirely is simply impossible. Follow the tips I’ve included here to ensure that you keep the sparrow population under control and give the native species of birds a chance to thrive.