The sparrow is a bird of contradictions – to start with this small and friendly-looking species is surprisingly tough and adept at scaring away other birds and dominating garden feeders.
In addition despite being one of the most popular and recognisable birds in the British garden, it is actually in such a state of decline that it has now been red-listed.
The one thing that there is no contradiction about with this bird though is the name House Sparrow as they happily live close to humans and are even happier to share their home.
These factors coupled with a tendency to gather in large numbers and to destroy farming crops have earned this species a pest bird label.
Why are sparrows a pest?
If you make a living growing grain there is a short answer to this: the sparrows eat it.
Likewise businesses that store grain will find a large nearby population of sparrows particularly troublesome. To control sparrows in these environments will mean needing to apply protective measures to deter the sparrow from visiting the area – as well as adding deterrents.
On a domestic level, it is only the manner in which sparrows make you home their home that can cause a problem.
House sparrows like to make their homes in the eaves of the roof – or even underneath tiles. Wherever there is space to squeeze in and make the most of the shelter, sparrows can make themselves at home.
While this is not necessarily a problem in itself, sparrows nesting in your roof could result in the following:
Damage to tiles – this is not usually an issue given their size but there is the potential that nesting sparrows could dislodge roof tiles.
Unhygienic waste – Sparrows can return to the same nesting spot year after year building new nests. Many sparrow chicks fail to survive so there is the potential for decaying chicks and eggs to remain in the old nests.
Bird faeces – As always a major problem with pest birds is faeces, which can carry disease. This could be a problem around the area where the nest is (in the roof itself) or outside on the house walls/ pathways.
Insects – The material sparrows use to build their nests can contain insects, which can then find their way into loft areas and cause further problems.
What can you do about sparrows nesting in your roof?
It is against the law to disturb nesting birds, and as sparrows are red-listed their protection is particularly important.
If you are worried about the impact of sparrows nesting in your roof you will need to wait until the end of the nesting season to take action – this is likely to be the autumn.
After establishing that the nest is indeed empty you can remove any debris and seal up small holes that the sparrows use to gain access.
It is advisable to seek expert bird control advice to avoid potential legal pitfalls if the nest is still in use and to ensure that area is cleared in a safe manner.
For help on all pest bird control issues please contact Total Bird Control.