How To Keep Sparrows Away From A Purple Martin House

June 3, 2022 // 8 minutes read // 10 Shares

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how to keep sparrows away

Keeping sparrows out of your birdhouse isn’t always easy. However, the solution isn’t as difficult as you may imagine.

With that said, keeping sparrows out of your purple martin house can be a difficult task. They are extremely intelligent and they have been known to find ways into homes by using their claws as hooks to grab onto the smallest opening.

They also love to use any type of nesting material that is available, so if there is anything for them to build their nest on in the area near your birdhouse, they will do it.

The best way to keep sparrows out of your Purple martin house is by putting up netting around the entire structure and filling any holes with steel wool or metal mesh screening.

Of course, there are many more ways to keep sparrows out of a purple martin house. We’ll discuss methods of keeping them away from your home and other helpful information about sparrows you’ll find interesting.

Why Should You Keep Sparrows Away?

If you’ve just purchased a purple martin house and are new to bird watching, you may not get the gist of why sparrows can deter your favorite hobby.

With that said, here are the main reasons why you should keep sparrows away from your purple martin house:

Sparrows are an Invasive Species:

Sparrows were introduced into North America without human help by the American Acclimatization Society in 1852.

They are now an invasive species that is considered to be a serious threat to many native bird populations, especially those of cavity nesters like an Eastern bluebird and purple martins.

Sparrows Carry Diseases:

Sparrows are known to carry bacterial diseases which can harm humans and animals, such as salmonella bacteria. They can also carry Mycoplasma diseases which are harmful to a variety of avian species, including chicken.

If these pathogens aren’t enough to deter you from letting sparrows into your birdhouse then maybe their loud chirping at all hours of the day will do it for you.

two sparrows looking at each other
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Photo by Berka777 on DepositPhotos

Sparrows are a Danger for Purple Martins:

It is a fact that these birds are bigger and more aggressive than purple martins, which means they will always win in a fight.

If you already have some of them hanging around your birdhouse, then chances are they’ve been evicting the weaker smaller birds from their homes by using their claws as hooks to pull them out or pecking at their toes until they drop dead. 

Sparrows Can Outnumber Purple Martins:

One sparrow is able to eat about 600 insects in a day, especially if they need to feed babies. Also, some pairs of sparrows can produce up to 20 chicks per breeding season. That is a lot of sparrows flying around. Because of how fast they can produce chicks and offspring means they can easily outnumber purple martins.

This may not be important for you if you’re just looking at your birdhouse from the outside but it’s definitely something that should factor into your thoughts when trying to figure out how best to keep them away from your outdoor abode.  

Sparrows Can Outcompete Native Birds:

Sparrows are considered to be invasive species that cause harm and compete with native birds for food, nesting sites, and shelter.

This is one of the main reasons why you should keep them away from your purple martin house if they’ve already made a home in its vicinity. 

Related article: American Tree Sparrow: Bird Identification, Habits, Facts, Nesting 

How to Keep Sparrows Out of a Purple Martin House

Now that you understand how pesky sparrows are to native bird species and purple martins, it’s time to discuss ways to hamper their population near your home.

Here are some easy ways to keep sparrows out of your newly-built purple martin house:

  1. Monitor and Eliminate Their Nesting Sites
  2. Offer a Lot of Cheap Bird Food
  3. Install a Sparrow Excluder
  4. Use Traps
  5. Offer Suet Without the Seeds
  6. Consider Preformed Seed Shapes
  7. Use a Halo Baffle to Protect Sunflower Seeds
  8. Stop Using Cracked Corn, Millet, and Other Ground Feeding
  9. Remember That Sparrows Love Bread
  10. Never Use Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  11. Don’t Use Scents

Monitor and Eliminate Their Nesting Sites:

This is perhaps the easiest way to keep sparrows away from your purple martin house.

If you see a lot of them in the area, inspect nearby trees for any signs of nests being built. If they are building their nest on or near your birdhouse then it’s time to take action and get rid of them before they destroy everything! 

Offer a Lot of Cheap Bird Food:

This will attract purple martins and other birds, which in turn will scare away sparrows.

Studies have shown that when there is an abundance of food available for the native bird species then they are less likely to be driven out by aggressive invaders like sparrows.  

Install a Sparrow Excluder:

If you have a lot of sparrows that are already nesting in your purple martin house then it’s time to get serious about making them leave.

A sparrow excluder is an effective solution for this problem as they make it impossible for the birds to enter through their usual entrances. These include special kinds of nets that block sparrows from getting through any gaps or crevices. 

It will be easier on you if you use one with multiple exits but even having just one can make all the difference when trying to keep sparrows away from your birdhouse. 

Use Traps:

If you’re dead set on using a trap then at least try to use one that can be opened from the outside as well.

The last thing you want is for your sparrows to become trapped and die in some hidden area of your purple martin house, especially if they were nesting there!

Also, make sure it has multiple entrances so other birds don’t get caught inside but not out.  

sparrows sitting on concrete
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Photo by digoarpi on DepositPhotos

Offer Suet Without the Seeds:

Sparrows love eating seeds but if you offer a suet feeder without any of them then they will eventually move on to another source.

This is also a great way for purple martins and other native bird species to get more food as well so it’s an effective solution that benefits everyone involved.

Consider Preformed Seed Shapes:

Sparrows are attracted to seeds that have already been formed into a ball shape.

These types of shapes don’t exist in nature so they will be more than willing to eat them if given the chance.

Use a Halo Baffle to Protect Sunflower Seeds:

One of the main reasons why sparrows are attracted to sunflower seeds is because they can see them from far away.

If you place your bird feeder near a window or some other bright area then this will be even more true so it’s best to use something called a halo baffle if possible.  

This special device works by creating an optical illusion that makes everything underneath appear blurry and unappealing for sparrows who want nothing more than easy access to their food source!   

Stop Using Cracked Corn, Millet, and Other Ground Feeding:

Sparrows are omnivores so they feed on a wide variety of foods.

If you want to keep them out then stop using products that sparrows love!  

Cracked corn, millet seed, and other types of ground feeding will attract these little pests from far away so stop using those products as much as possible if you really want your purple martin house free from invaders.       

sparrows perched on a tree
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Photo by Wirestock on DepositPhotos

Remember That Sparrows Love Bread:

Sparrows love eating bread and other baked goods so if you feed your purple martin birds with a bird table then make sure to avoid using anything that contains any type of yeast.

When sparrows see something like this they will be more than willing to take it apart in order to get at what’s inside!       

Never Use Black Oil Sunflower Seeds:

Sparrows love black oil sunflower seeds because they are easy to eat and store for later.

Unfortunately, this same reason is why it’s not a good idea to use them in your birdhouse.

If the little pests see these seeds then they will be more than willing to peck at them until their shell breaks open which means bits of broken shells are everywhere around your purple martin house.  

Don’t Use Scents:

Using scented items like mint extract or other types of spices that sparrows don’t usually come into contact with can help repel them from an area where you want peace and quiet instead.

Keep Sparrows Out of Your Purple Martin House

As you can see, it’s not too difficult to keep sparrows out of your purple martin house. The main solution is to place netting around your birdhouse.

In addition, you can stop providing the favorite foods of sparrows and use traps if necessary. While it’s not possible to get rid of all the sparrows in your lawn, following these methods will make a huge difference.

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