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Sparrows are invasive species, and they have no problem taking over bluebird houses and even killing the bluebirds. While it can be challenging to keep these birds away entirely, if you know what you’re doing, there are a few tips and tricks that you can follow to keep them away from your bluebird houses.
We highlight three tried-and-true ways to keep sparrows out of bluebird houses while letting bluebirds in.
This is the easiest way to keep sparrows out of your bluebird nests. First, you need to check your bluebird houses for signs of sparrows every day or two and remove anything that they’re bringing in.
Sparrows create loose and messy nests and have no problems using debris. Meanwhile, bluebirds have finely woven nests primarily out of grass, so it’s not hard to spot the difference when you know what you’re looking for.
Removing sparrow nests can be enough to have them move onto a new location, but you’ll need to stay on top of it. Since sparrows are considered a native species, it’s completely legal to remove their nests.
Besides taking their nests out of your bluebird houses, you should be clearing your entire yard of sparrow nests when you see them. That’s because sparrows compete with bluebirds for food, and they’ll even attack and kill bluebirds in their nests.
Clear all the sparrow nests that you can find to keep your bluebirds happy, healthy, and most importantly, alive.
This is going to be hard to do. Sparrows aren’t picky about their food, and they’re opportunistic feeders. But there are a few foods that they prefer more than others.
Common foods that sparrows don’t like include:
While peanuts are a bluebird favorite, the other two food choices will attract those birds while keeping the number of sparrows that you receive to a minimum. But whatever you do, avoid these sparrow-attracting foods:
Those are all sparrow staples, and if you put them out in your yard, you’re going to attract sparrows to your yard. Simply having these pesky birds around can be a big problem for bluebirds, even if they’re not making nests in their home.
Plenty of traps out there can target sparrows. There’s just one problem when you trap a sparrow: You’ll need to figure out what to do with it. You have two options. First, you can drive it miles and miles away, and it’ll become someone else’s problem.
But if you don’t go far enough, your sparrow is going to fly right back, you’ll be at square one again. That’s why you’ll need to travel a long way, and even then, you’ll have to hope that it’s too much of an inconvenience to come back because a sparrow can undoubtedly make the trip.
Second, you can euthanize the sparrow. This might sound harsh, but sparrows are an invasive species, and simply keeping them around can be costing native species their lives. Sparrows will kill local birds, whether directly or through starvation.
However, the real problem is that you’re not likely to catch enough sparrows to fix your problem. When you have one sparrow, you likely have dozens, and removing one or two throughout the year isn’t going to solve your problem.
That’s why it’s better to focus on prevention instead of the cure. If you can keep them from coming around in the first place, you’re saving yourself a massive headache.
There’s no way around it: if you’re trying to attract bluebirds, sparrows are nothing but pests. Hopefully, this guide can help you alleviate some of your sparrow woes, but keep in mind that it’s unlikely that you’ll ever entirely eliminate the problem.
So, take a deep breath and try to find a way to appreciate them. It can be hard sometimes because they drive bluebirds away and potentially kill their fledglings, but you’re going to have to find a way to get everyone to coexist peacefully.
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Featured Image Credit: Mike Dobe, Pixabay
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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