Sparrows will use birdhouses we may intend for other species. They fiercely defend their nests, so they are vilified for edging out more popular native species, especially bluebirds.
About 30 bird species in each region of the country are so-called cavity nesters, which means that most of them will also use a birdhouse. Bluebirds, purple martins, house wrens, chickadees, tree swallows and house sparrows are the most common birds that nest in houses.
House sparrows look for homes with 1 3/16- to 2-inch openings.
Wild bird nest box size guide
|Wild Bird||Description||Hole Size|
|House Sparrow||House sparrows typically use nestboxes with 32mm holes, but since they are a communal species can also use a colony nestbox.||32mm|
|Nuthatch||Nuthatches use a nestbox with a smaller hole.||28mm|
What direction should a birdhouse face? A birdhouse and its entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds. In the United States, it’s very common for a birdhouse to face east, which is often faced away from the prevailing wind and the strong afternoon sun.
Between May and September, female sparrows lay four to six eggs in one nest. Both the male and female parents incubate the egg for approximately fourteen days which is when the eggs might hatch.
Shelter: Thicket-like shelter that includes evergreen trees and a variety of native plants will be most attractive to nesting birds. They will use twigs, plant down, mosses, and bits of leaves for nesting material, and will hide in brush piles and bird-friendly shrubs to stay safe from predators and poor weather.
The best time to put up a new birdhouse is in the fall or winter so that birds will have plenty of time to locate them before the breeding season. What type of bird you want to attract will determine where you place a birdhouse.
Birdhouses should have ventilation and drainage holes to prevent overheating or drowning of baby birds. A sloped roof with a bit of an overhang can also help keep the nest dry. If you have a house without these you can always drill a few holes in the floor for drainage and high up on the sides to provide ventilation.
PLACEMENT House Sparrow nest boxes are best placed so that the entrance hole is facing north-east and is sheltered from the prevailing wind and rain. Avoid obvious sun traps, such as south-facing walls. The box does not need to be positioned within cover.
House Sparrow nests are made of coarse dried vegetation, often stuffed into the hole until it’s nearly filled. The birds then use finer material, including feathers, string, and paper, for the lining. House Sparrows sometimes build nests next to each other, and these neighboring nests can share walls.
Find a suitable place for your nest box.
The box will need to be at least 3m (10 feet) from the ground, facing north or east to avoid it getting too hot or wet. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight and don’t put it over a doorway or well-used path.
These birds are highly motivated and typically get started in early March. House Sparrows have been known to pierce bluebird eggs and/or physically remove them from the nest. And in many cases they will fight the adult Bluebirds, sometimes putting so much pressure on them they decide to abandon.
A Sparrow Spooker is put over the roof of a nestbox to deter House Sparrows (HOSP). They are usually extremely effective in deterring HOSP from entering a bluebird nestbox to attack eggs, nestlings or incubating adults. You can’t watch the nest 24/7, but a sparrow spooker will protect it for you.
The best location for a birdhouse is to be mounted on a pole. This pole must be 5 to 30 feet off the ground and away from trees and predators. The best location for a birdhouse also needs to be concealed using camouflage.
However, it is never too early or late to put up a nest box, as some birds will use them to roost in during the winter months.
Nest boxes with a hole are prefered by blue tits, great tits, nuthatches and tree sparrows. House sparrows also use nest boxes, with the hole being similar to a gap in masonry in an old building – their traditional nesting choice. Starlings nest in holes in trees and building cavities, so will readily take a nest box.
The birds most likely to use nest boxes are blue tits or coal tits, but sparrows, nuthatches, robins, woodpeckers, and wrens, as well as other members of the tit family may all take up residence.
House Finches have large, thick beaks of a grayish color. House Sparrows have a much more conical bill that is smaller than finches’, and the bill is black or yellow, depending on the bird’s gender and breeding stage.