I appreciate that this is not the time to do it!
My house currently hosts seven house sparrow nests. That's the good news.As I type this, there is a sparrow sitting in full view on a phone cable, happily chirping within four feet of me in one of the new nesting sites.
The bad news is that one of the nest holes, used every year for years, is a place where I really need to repair the wood in the ends of the eaves and protect it. I intend to replace it with a sparrow terrace box. BUT.... the hole seems to be in use all year round! Even during the winter there are sparrows in and out all of the time, and I am worried that my repair might block one or more in!
It's a job that certainly needs doing.
Imyselfe would wait till nesting is over August Sept time others will know better.
Try the boxes on the wall prior to work.
You must make sure there are no birds inside and block the holes after any young have fledged.
Its up to you if you leave a way in after the work is done.
The thing is if the repair isn't done there could in time be no roof at all
Lets hope others will advise
I think this one is one for the mods.
Hope all works out and thanks for asking advice a lot of people would just go ahead.
You should leave it until September. After that there won't be any babies, and the ones in and out all winter are just roosting somewhere warm and dry. The only thing I can think of to ensure a rooster isn't inside is to go up with a torch and look and listen, or somehow make a noise beneath the hole to scare it away. Then as soon as you have finished the repairs put up a nest box near where the hole was.
Hi there and thank you for taking the time to ask about this before going ahead with the work, we wish more people followed your good example!
House sparrows can have a very protracted nesting season, often starting as early as February and not finishing until September, if conditions allow. The advice you have already received is very good, leave the work until the end of the nesting season, late September being a good time to aim for. However, the best way to judge whether you have nesting birds using that hole or not is to watch them for a while to see if they visit with food in their beaks, or leaving with feacal sacks. If you see this then you know the nest site is still in use.
Once you have decided that the nesting hole is no longer being used for breeding you can think about doing the repairs. As you have to remove large parts of the fittings it is likely that during the course of the work, any roosting sparrows would be disturbed and would fly out. Active nests are protected from intentional damage and destruction but roosting birds are not afforded the same courtesy, allowing for such repairs to take place.
As house sparrows are pretty site faithful, ideally we would recommend making a hole in the fittings, boxing a compartment into the roof with an entrance in the same place as it is now. We understand that this is not always possible but it is the most effective way of making sure the house sparrows stick around. If this is not possible then putting an external box in the same place as the current hole would be an option, ensure it has an entrance hole of 32mm. If the work is going to take a while, it might be worth looking into the idea of creating more nesting sites around the building for any displaced sparrows to roost in during the disturbance, and possibly nest in for future years.
I hope this helps and fingers crossed your local spadgers will appreciate your thoughtfulness!
Thanks for the suggestions. I particularly like the idea of making a box compartment inside the new repair with a new hole. The slates are going to have to come off to do the job properly anyway.
I consider myself to be really fortunate to have seven nest sites for sparrows in my house. Four of them are shown here in this picture. Number 1 is the site in question, which is quite low down, with a lot of passing traffic and people, especially when the local primary school turns out. It doesn't seem to bother the sparrows though! I don't think that this would be a good place to have an external terrace box though, as it is too "obvious" to people passing. So I'll add a box higher up this side of the building and see what happens next year. No.2 is a new site this year, as is the one by my window next to the telephone lines (pic at the top of this thread).
For the first time ever, I have a pair of swallows nesting on a beam in the roof of my carport. I'm pretty excited about that! Its fantastic to be standing beside the car and have swallows pass within inches of my head. I can feel the vibrations of the wing beats! They are really busy feeding chicks at the moment.
Also... see that bluetit box? I put it there last year in April (which is late!). As I took away the ladder and walked away, 15 seconds later there was a male bluetit entering the box! He must have been watching me put it up! How's that for instant gratification. They had a successful brood too.
You have your own little reserve there.
Good luck and hope the repairs go OK
The roof work was done a week ago, and on the same day the sparrows were offered a new home.
A home made 4 box sparrow terrace.
What a really smart box. How have you recycled the 'counters'?
Caroline in Jersey
Hope your gamble pays off.
Nice box Rod, let's hope the sparrows find it before the blue tits!
I see it's made from an old backgammon and chess board!
Yes.... back about 40 years ago I made a coffee table out of blockboard with veneer for a chess board, backgammon and cribbage inlaid into the top. Over the years the veneer deteriorated, and so I cut up the top of the table up and used that ;-) Hence the pretty patterns. The inside is bare wood.
It has been up about a week now, and so far I haven't seen a single sparrow interested in it. Time will tell! There are enough sparrows around the garden.
I am taking bets whether the bluetits will claim it first :-)
Hello, I am a new member and I'm just finding my way round the forums and came across this post which I found really interesting. I love the pictures too. I was just wondering whether the sparrows came back or whether the blue tits set up home in the new box? :-)
So far.... now March 18th.... no interest from either sparrows or bluetits.
I'll just have to be patient :-)
You say the box is blockboard, as a carpenter by trade, i'm sorry to say, not a good idea. The glue used in the product may not be good for the birds, (they will always peck entrance holes to claim their homes). It probably wont withstand getting wet either. I would start again with proper wood.
I hope you aren't offended by this.
the hole looks a bit small for sparrows sparrows like to roost in dark places that are quite i i think your original idea would ave worked best