In the long run, we can best deal with any problems house sparrows cause us through the habitat we control. For instance, prompt trash cleanup using bird-proof trash containers goes a long way to limit house sparrow activity around outdoor eateries, picnic spots and dumpsters.
Nesting in building crevices and vents
Nesting sparrows can be very noisy. And house sparrows strongly prefer to nest in, on, or near our buildings. The noise can be annoying, especially because they start singing at the very first light. But their habit of packing nesting material in stove, dryer and fan vents may prevents use of the vents—a more serious problem.
Excluding house sparrows from places we don’t want nests before they build is the first—and best—approach. Install covers over vents and check screening over louvers before birds find their way inside.
If the birds have already started to move in, the basic steps are simple. See where birds are nesting, wait until there are no young present, remove nesting material, and block openings with netting, hardware cloth, or other appropriate materials.
If you find eggs or young birds in building crevice nests, leave the nesters to their task. The young hatch at different times and leave over a staggered period. So, you may have to wait 2 to 4 weeks. Check the nest frequently. When the young leave, as swiftly as possible, remove nest material and exclude the birds before they can start a second nest.
Dryer and stove vents
These can be slightly more complicated. Vents with nests inside may not function properly. This can be inconvenient or, in some cases, unsafe. The nesting material may need to be removed immediately.
Birds using vents make noise that the vent itself tends to amplify. Act right away if you hear scratching and shuffling. If eggs or young are already in the nest, can this vent be left unused until they fledge? If so, treat this nest like a nest in a building crevice.
If young are present in the vent and there is no option to leave them there until they fledge, the parents can still raise their young in an alternate nest.
- Make a substitute nest from a wicker basket, a plastic gallon jug, or a small birdhouse.
- Cut an U shape opening in the plastic jug and flip the “door” up to keep rain out.
- Attach the substitute nest as close as possible to the original nest, but in as much shade as possible.
- Carefully remove nesting material and nestlings, and place in substitute nest.
Noisy nestlings usually attract the parents who will continue to care for them. Watch the substitute nest to see that the adults return. They should not take more than a half hour or so, as growing young birds need constant feeding. If the adults do not return to nestlings, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for advice. This procedure won’t work with eggs, and you can remove house sparrow eggs when cleaning nest material out of ducts. However, we recommend leaving them to complete the cycle for this one nesting period, and bear in mind that virtually all birds but starlings and house sparrows are protected by federal law, and to remove their nests or eggs would be illegal.
Finally and importantly, promptly install a vent cover to keep other sparrows, and other birds, out.
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca
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