Keeping House Sparrows Out of Bluebird Boxes

One of the most frustrating problems when taking care of bluebird boxes is trying to keep House Sparrows from nesting in them. This simple trick can help.

As I’ve talked about before, there are many people that love to attract nesting bluebirds. Providing bluebird houses is a very common practice which has significantly helped this species. Nest sites are hard to come by and the boxes that people provide are critical nesting sites. Unfortunately, some of our non-native species also like these boxes. House Sparrows were introduced to the United States and have thrived in our environment. They are fierce competitors and are more aggressive overall than our bluebirds. This leads to them out competing bluebirds for nesting sites.

Since they like the same type of nesting box, it’s hard to keep them out. Recently, a bluebird society member suggested to me that there is a simple solution to keeping House Sparrows out of your bluebird boxes. Attaching strips of reflective scare tape to the top of the box, can keep the sparrows away. While I don’t have bluebird houses due to lack of proper habitat, my mom does. She has been testing this idea out and so far, it’s working! The House Sparrows have left the box alone. We are still waiting to see if the bluebirds will return and use the box. I’ll provide an update as I learn more.

Keeping House Sparrows Out of Bluebird Boxes©Rob Ripma
©Rob Ripma You can see how here the reflective tape is attached to the house.
Keeping House Sparrows Out of Bluebird Boxes©Rob Ripma
©Rob Ripma This is one of my favorite bluebird house styles, the Gilbertson House.

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.