Are unwanted birds flocking to your property and causing trouble? Before you consider removing bird nests found on your property, it’s important to identify the bird species. Some bird species are legally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and should not be removed. However, exclusion methods may be considered that can help discourage birds from establishing residence on your property. House sparrows (Genus species: Passer domesticus) are non-native species and are not protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act; however, some individual states may have restrictions on control measures for this species. Keep in mind that there are several species of sparrow in the United States. For identification based on bird, nest or eggs, contact a professional.

sparrow nest with four eggs in it

Facts About House Sparrow Nests

House sparrows are common in urban and suburban locations and prefer habitats associated with humans. Such areas provide sparrows with easy access to food, shelter for nests. Common places you may find sparrow nests are in outdoor lighting fixtures, kitchen vents, louvers, rooftops, gutters, and any crevices around the outside of buildings. In some cases, sparrows also compete with other birds for man-made nesting boxes. These birds are known to venture inside homes or businesses and other buildings through any openings on the outside.

You will most likely see sparrow nests being built between February and May, using any materials the birds can find. Nesting materials may include dried vegetation, feathers, string, hair and grass. The nesting materials are stuffed into holes of structures, often until the hole is almost full.

What Do House Sparrow Eggs Look Like?

House sparrow eggs are small (approximately 0.6 inches in diameter) and range in color from white to gray or can sometimes have a greenish tint. Eggs will also have brown specks or spots. Sparrows typically lay eggs during the nesting period in early spring and summer. Anywhere between 3 to 7 sparrow eggs are laid, but laying 4 to 5 eggs is most common. Eggs typically hatch in 10 to 14 days and young house sparrows remain in the nest for another 15 days. House sparrows compete with other native birds for nesting sites. If you aren’t seeing any of your favorite birds at your bird feeder, it is possible that house sparrows have out-competed them.

Habits and Feeding

House sparrows tend to stick close to home and do not migrate. In some cases, sparrows may reuse the same nest from year to year. Studies have revealed that most sparrows stay within a radius of 1 ¼ miles during the nesting period and don't fly more than 5 miles from their original nesting sites to form their own territories. That means if you are seeing sparrows establishing territories around your property, they most likely intend to stay.

How to Help Get Rid of House Sparrows

House sparrows are persistent, but there are effective methods that can be used to prevent their establishment on your property. There are many reasons why removing nests yourself is not recommended. For one, dealing with their nests means dealing with their droppings which can be hazardous, unsanitary and can expose you to any pathogens sparrows may carry. Our wildlife technicians can provide advice and help mitigate unwanted pest bird species. Consider contacting Terminix® today to schedule a free inspection and discover how our prevention and exclusion methods can help house sparrows take flight.