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How to attract House Sparrows to my feeder


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I’ll send you some of mine.

Haha, usually if you have a bird feeder up they’ll come, if you’re in any urban area. They eat everything... suet, sunflowers, millet. Though I didn’t think they eat nyjer. 

Mine seem to prefer the seed mixes with millet, but I’ve been feeding black oil sunflower for the last year and they like that too. So do many other bird species, I think black oil is the best for attracting a wide arrange of birds, if I’m not mistaken. 
 

They will dominate the feeder however. They’re pretty aggressive and a non-native species. Though, I still like them. Don’t know if I’d go out of my way to attract them though 

Edited by Aaron
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1 hour ago, Aaron said:

I’ll send you some of mine.

Haha, usually if you have a bird feeder up they’ll come, if you’re in any urban area. They eat everything... suet, sunflowers, millet. Though I didn’t think they eat nyjer. 

Mine seem to prefer the seed mixes with millet, but I’ve been feeding black oil sunflower for the last year and they like that too. So do many other bird species, I think black oil is the best for attracting a wide arrange of birds, if I’m not mistaken. 
 

They will dominate the feeder however. They’re pretty aggressive and a non-native species. Though, I still like them. Don’t know if I’d go out of my way to attract them though 

Ok thanks so much!!

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House sparrows will (if they want to nest) destroy other birds nests, eggs, and kill the young. They also sometimes kill the adult birds as well. Since they’re non native, and 99% of other cavity nesters are, it’s better to not encourage them to nest or attract them to other nest sites that would otherwise be occupied by a native species. 
Earlier this year I had a pair of tree swallows nesting in one of my bird houses at my cabin when I left. When I returned, House sparrows were nesting in there instead. Unsure on what the fate was of the tree swallows, as I’m just realizing I forgot to clean out the house, but regardless the swallows wasted valuable time and energy into nothing and probably didn’t nest again. 
I actually blocked off the bird house with a rock for the rest of the year (only eggs inside) and did the same to all the other bird houses on the property to make sure no sparrows would nest. 

Edited by Aaron
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@Candydez12 I'm guessing you're new to birding; welcome and beware, it's like the Hotel California!

House Sparrows are lovely birds; but they are invasive in the Americas. This means that they were brought here by people and aren't part of the natural ecosystem. When this happens generally there is one of two outcomes: either the introduced species doesn't survive, because it's not adapted to the conditions in the new environment; or it survives and thrives, but again since it's not in its natural environment it causes harm to the local species. This could be by competing for food sources, taking over habitats, or just reproducing in large numbers and overwhelming the environment. This is the case with House Sparrows; they have been very successful and they attack and rob other birds' nests. It's not their fault, and in fact in some of their native habitat their populations are reduced. All of us birders would love to send them all back to Europe to live happily in their native environment.

The topic of House Sparrows and other invasives (Starlings, Eurasian Collared Doves, etc.) is a touchy one for birders, but people here on WhatBird are very understanding. House Sparrow was one of the first species I identified when I started birding and WhatBirders patiently helped me to figure it out, just as they would have for a rare local endemic species. But you won't find a lot of love for them here.

It's probably not really responsible for birders to encourage House Sparrows, but it's pretty much unavoidable since, as has been mentioned, they will eat pretty much anything and are very adaptable. So don't worry, you'll get more of them. I/we also hope you will attract some other native sparrows and finches to your feeders and enjoy them too!

Back to add a detail: it's illegal in the US to disturb nests or harm native bird species, but that doesn't apply to House Sparrows because they aren't native. You could keep them as pets if you wanted to, and such measures mentioned here as blocking their nests is OK, but it wouldn't be if it were a native species.

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11 hours ago, Aaron said:

House sparrows will (if they want to nest) destroy other birds nests, eggs, and kill the young. They also sometimes kill the adult birds as well. Since they’re non native, and 99% of other cavity nesters are, it’s better to not encourage them to nest or attract them to other nest sites that would otherwise be occupied by a native species. 
Earlier this year I had a pair of tree swallows nesting in one of my bird houses at my cabin when I left. When I returned, House sparrows were nesting in there instead. Unsure on what the fate was of the tree swallows, as I’m just realizing I forgot to clean out the house, but regardless the swallows wasted valuable time and energy into nothing and probably didn’t nest again. 
I actually blocked off the bird house with a rock for the rest of the year (only eggs inside) and did the same to all the other bird houses on the property to make sure no sparrows would nest. 

Oh ok I didn't know that...

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5 minutes ago, Aveschapines said:

@Candydez12 I'm guessing you're new to birding; welcome and beware, it's like the Hotel California!

House Sparrows are lovely birds; but they are invasive in the Americas. This means that they were brought here by people and aren't part of the natural ecosystem. When this happens generally there is one of two outcomes: either the introduced species doesn't survive, because it's not adapted to the conditions in the new environment; or it survives and thrives, but again since it's not in its natural environment it causes harm to the local species. This could be by competing for food sources, taking over habitats, or just reproducing in large numbers and overwhelming the environment. This is the case with House Sparrows; they have been very successful and they attack and rob other birds' nests. It's not their fault, and in fact in some of their native habitat their populations are reduced. All of us birders would love to send them all back to Europe to live happily in their native environment.

The topic of House Sparrows and other invasives (Starlings, Eurasian Collared Doves, etc.) is a touchy one for birders, but people here on WhatBird are very understanding. House Sparrow was one of the first species I identified when I started birding and WhatBirders patiently helped me to figure it out, just as they would have for a rare local endemic species. But you won't find a lot of love for them here.

It's probably not really responsible for birders to encourage House Sparrows, but it's pretty much unavoidable since, as has been mentioned, they will eat pretty much anything and are very adaptable. So don't worry, you'll get more of them. I/we also hope you will attract some other native sparrows and finches to your feeders and enjoy them too!

Back to add a detail: it's illegal in the US to disturb nests or harm native bird species, but that doesn't apply to House Sparrows because they aren't native. You could keep them as pets if you wanted to, and such measures mentioned here as blocking their nests is OK, but it wouldn't be if it were a native species.

Yes I am new to birding... Thanks so much for telling me! 🙂 

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2 minutes ago, Candydez12 said:

Yes I am new to birding... Thanks so much for telling me! 🙂 

Welcome and I'm so glad you found WhatBird. This is where I learned my birding basics thanks to the patient and supportive help that people have here. Keep asking questions and learning; you won't find anyone here will mind your inexperience and lack of knowledge. Reading the threads, especially the ID threads, is a great way to get exposed to a lot of birds and learn tips and techniques for identifying them. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

House sparrows eat grains and seeds, our discarded food, and insects. They’re happy to eat many commercial bird seed mixtures. 
Some people hate house house sparrows, because they are an introduced species in North America and are invasive in their habit. They have driven native birds out of certain habitats by outcompeting with them for resources and through sheer population growth.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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