Sparrows

Sparrows are typically 12 to 15 cm in length. Male house sparrows are brightly coloured birds with grey heads, white cheeks and a black bib, although some may appear to be duller and grubby. Females are a brownish colour overall with dingy grey-brown underparts. Their backs are noticeably striped with black and brown.

Habits & Behaviours

Sparrows are found throughout Ontario. They are not typically migratory birds, however, in some cold climates they may move to warmer breeding and winter roosting sites in the city. They nest and roost in and around residential, recreational/cottage, and commercial properties and they have a rather large breeding capacity. They build large nests that will often hold several families. These nests are constructed out of coarse dried sticks and other vegetation, such as, feathers, string, and paper. Sparrows are known as nuisance pest birds due to their territorial and often troublesome nesting habits.

Complaints & Destruction

Sparrows can be a nuisance in both urban and rural areas due to their nesting, eating, and roosting habits. Sparrows are aggressive birds, often forcing out other birds from their territories and dominating feeders. They are flocking birds and will gather in the thousands to take over feeding and roosting areas.

Sparrows will often construct their nests under roof eaves, in crevices and holes in walls and out-buildings, in/on machinery, and in/on commercial signs. They roost in noisy flocks on branches of trees and bushes, under eaves of houses, attic vents, and commercial signs. Sparrows damage crops and gardens by pecking seeds, seedlings, buds, flowers, vegetables, and maturing fruits. They consume and spoil livestock food and water and contaminate or deface buildings, facilities and livestock with their nests and droppings. They can also transmit many diseases and parasites to livestock, pets, and humans.

Major Risks & Dangers

Fires Hazards

Sparrow nests consist of materials that are highly flammable. When nests are constructed near electrical boxes,wires, or inside machinery, there is a very high risk of fire.

Health risks

Sparrows carry allergens, parasites, bacteria, and other health risks to humans such as  histoplasmosis, salmanella, and meningitis, all found in their droppings. Air circulation systems can quickly spread foul odours and these contaminants throughout. Droppings on pavement can become slippery when wet posing a safety hazard to passing pedestrians and allowing droppings to be tracked into buildings. . Dead and decomposing sparrows can cause displaced parasites, contaminate the water supply, and other pest infestations.

Structure & surface damages

The sparrow’s destructive nesting habits and corrosive droppings can cause extensive surface damage and staining to homes and buildings.

Reproduction

Female and male sparrows are monogamous birds that will typically mate for life, however, if a mate is lost, they are quickly replaced. Breeding can occur during any month, but is most common from March to August. Sparrows will typically raise three to five broods per year and lay 3-7 eggs per brood. The male and female sparrows take turns incubating the eggs for 11 to 23 days. The young are nourished by both parents during the first days of life and  are ready to fledge the nest between 7 and 14 days.

Eating Habits

Sparrows are omnivores, their diets consisting of seeds, grain, fruits, vegetables, human food scraps, worms, and insects.

Prevention

To reduce the risk of sparrows resting, scavenging, or nesting around your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, bird proofing/exclusion is the best prevention.

Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many bird proofing/exclusion services and solutions.

Due to the dangers associated with bird feces, youshould never attempt to exclude a bird infestation yourself. If a colony of sparrows is nesting on your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial property, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely and humanely removing the birds, decontaminating the areas affected, and providing you with exclusion/proofing services to prevent further infestations. Please contact us today or see our Bird Control Services section for further information on the types of services and solutions we can provide.

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