In the past several years we’ve noticed more sparrows showing up in the yard. Even though we love all of the birds, sparrows are like the block bullies. In an effort to protect our bluebirds and their babies, we did some research on how to keep the sparrows from going near the nesting box. Last year we discovered the “sparrow spooker” and it was literally a life saver for our bluebirds.
This website sells sparrow spookers and supplies to make your own. We order the Mylar scare tape and build our spooker. When we put it up last year we read that it’s best to wait until after the bluebirds have laid their first egg. They are less likely to abandon the nest at that point. This year because we noticed the bluebirds fighting off a few sparrows while they were in the nest building process, I decided to make a new one and put it up right away.
Let me insert a little helpful information here. Don’t run to the store and get a Mylar balloon (like I tried last year), cut it up into strips and use that thinking “Hey, it’s Mylar”. They curl and become ineffective by the end of the first day.
There’s nothing really pretty about a sparrow spooker except the Mylar strips waving in the breeze. I build them out of whatever wood I have handy. As long as it’s sturdy and I can attach it to the post the nesting box is on, I consider it a success. When I put it up this year, it took about a half hour for the bluebirds to be comfortable around the box again. They took turns checking it out, flying over it, under it, around it, etc. Soon they were perching on it as if it had been there forever. We haven’t seen any sparrows near the nesting box since we put it up.
The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
Henry David Thoreau
Every day I see the bluebirds nesting in our backyard, and every day I’m more in awe. They have no newspapers, television or internet, and yet they have it all figured out. We have so much to learn.
To follow the nest building, egg laying, hatching and fledging of these bluebirds, check out The Bluebird Diaries by Elizababble.
Five baby bluebirds fledged the day I took these pictures. I was so glad I was able to photograph it all. I expected them to leave the box and maybe fly a few feet; instead they flew out of the yard, over the neighbor’s house and were on their way! We have recently seen them all back in the yard at various times.