Sparrow Control and Removal

The house sparrow is one of the more difficult pests to control. Being smaller than your pigeon or starling, the house sparrow demands initiative and perserverence to eradicate it from your premises.

House sparrows can be difficult birds to control, in part because of their high reproductive capacity. A female house sparrow averages three to five broods per year with four to seven eggs per brood. In other words, she can generate about 25 young per year.

Such population growth can quickly repopulate an area with replacement sparrows after a poisoning, shooting or trapping program.

Their small size makes it difficult to “sparrow-proof” a structure completely. Repelling them with spikes, wires or sticky repellents can also prove difficult because sparrows can squeeze into much smaller spaces than can pigeons or starlings.

House sparrows are experts at exploiting human habitats in cities. They nest inside vents, gutters, signs, traffic lights, billboards, shopping centres, airports, warehouses and other structures. Large populations can feed quite well on scraps of food left by people in parks, fast-food car parks, picnic tables or overflowing rubbish bins. Whenever food or rubbish is spilled or discarded, it provides a banquet for house sparrows within a one-mile radius.

Two of the more common and troublesome sparrow problems faced by pest control technicians are: sparrows living inside a building, such as a food plant, warehouse, shopping centre or atrium; and sparrows nesting on three-dimensional storefront signs.

There are various bird control tools whose salesmen claim work just fine against sparrows. But sparrow management, as with all bird work, is as much art as science, so what doesn’t work in one instance may work well in others. Here are some methods that have been seen to work effectively against the two common problems described above.


Inside A Building

When sparrows are found inside a building, you can assume a number of things:

  1. They have found adequate supplies of food and water.
  2. They have established regular perching locations, flyways and nesting areas.
  3. New birds will find their way inside just as the first birds did.

When called to a house sparrow infestation, Pest Control Technicians are able to implement a number of methods to control your problem.

  • Mist nets — These fine-mesh nets trap birds alive by entangling them. They are typically 7 to 8 feet high and 30 to 40 feet long, and contain pouches into which the birds fall. A mist net is placed loosely across a flight path in front of a dark background. The birds fly into (or are sometimes driven into) the net because they cannot see it and are captured. If there are lots of birds, the first sparrows trapped will be noticed by those remaining, who will become wary of the area, and so the net may need to be moved around or multiple nets used in order to cover an area completely.
  • Sparrow traps — There are many different types of these traps available. Their effectiveness varies greatly and often depends on the skill of the trapper. House sparrows quickly become trap-shy, and it can be difficult to trap all birds at a site so repeat treatment may be required.
  • Shooting — This is often the last resort for the last few sparrows inside a building. It is a method not employed by most pest control companys, as most technicians prefer to use humane trapping methods.

Storefront Signs

House sparrows seem to love to nest on and inside signs over stores, hotels and other businesses. These signs provide many suitable, protected sparrow nest sites because of their intricacy. Where pest control is concerned, it may often be difficult to treat the infestation as many proprietors do not want their signs defaced by visible bird control tools.

Some signs are best “sparrow-proofed” by being netting entirely. This works best where the sign is high above the ground so the netting becomes invisible. The netting must be installed by a professional in order to keep out sparrows as they have been known to squeeze their way through extremely small openings.

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