Sparrow Habits and Preferences
Sparrows, more and more frequently, are nesting in human-altered environments. In many cases, this includes either residential home settings or in more commercial settings (often where ideal food sources may be located such as feed stores or warehouses). Livestock pastures and other, more rural settings provide ideal nesting sites for sparrows. Because access to food sources is more limited, they will often avoid woodlands, grasslands, and deserts. The common house sparrow can be extremely aggressive, particularly so when they perceive that their offspring or families might be in danger.
Despite their pleasant appearance, it is important to understand that sparrows can be transmitters of various diseases to humans. Besides the sparrows themselves, their fecal matter can contaminate can cause health problems and contamination, particularly in commercial food storage or preparation facilities (where the nature of the facility is an attractant to sparrow populations). Tuberculosis, encephalitic conditions, and many different internal parasites can be traced directly to sparrow populations. Additionally, sparrows can cause damage to a home by pecking holes in foam insulation or other areas of the structure. Their nests can also be fire risks.
Biology of Sparrows
House sparrows are found in many parts of the world, and are very common in the Pacific Northwest as well. The typical sparrow is roughly 16 centimeters long, and weigh up to 1.5 ounces. Female sparrows tend to be brown or gray in color, while males will be a brighter black and white with brown markings. Sparrows have large, rounded heads, they will let out a short, incessant chirp. Sparrows will primarily choose to eat seeds or weed plants (oats seem to be a particular favorite), but are opportunistic and will eat other items that exist in their environment as well.
Sparrow Control Measures & Prevention
House sparrows are not specifically protected by the federal government, but several states have regulations that require special permits to be obtained before control measures can be implemented. It is wise to consult with your local Fish & Wildlife representative to make sure that you are obtaining all necessary documentation. Should control measures and prevention be appropriate in your area, small exclusionary netting or screening can be employed to patch over holes that are created by the sparrows in a home. Expandable foam and steel wool can also be used to block access points. There are also traps that can actually trap the sparrows themselves. For high profile areas such as a commercial food facility, a Sparrow Mist Net can be used. It is best to consult with a licensed bird control professional to devise a strategy to fit your specific circumstances.
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