Problem with Sparrows

by John

My problem is that my bird feeder is daily getting raided by house sparrows. My current bird feeder is a hopper that would accommodate striped sunflower seeds and shelled peanuts (I read sparrows don't like the thick shells of striped sunflower seeds and would find another meal). Unfortunately after 20 pounds of striped sunflower seeds I still have house sparrows spitting the sunflower seeds on the ground.

Do you have problems with house sparrows up in Canada emptying your shelled peanut feeder?

Comments for Problem with Sparrows

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Jul 22, 2015
sparrows figure everything out
by: NE WI resident

I guess I should appreciate them for their tenacity as far as figuring every single feeding situation out, but I don't. earlier in the year, I redid all my bird houses, hanging & nailing fishing line etc etc, but all it seemed to do was keep the chickadees from using ones they previously used! I also made my own halos by the feeders, & used shiny silvery ribbon later on.. these only worked for a short time, but later were worked around by these birds. I even changed my 'bird-cage' suet feeders so that birds could only cling from underneath, but soon afterward, the sparrows learned how to hover & grab from underneath. NOTHING has been able to keep them away (& they are really really bad right now, after mid-July).

I hate having to do all this - I seem to just be making it harder for the woodpeckers & chickadees to eat, while not keeping the massive amounts of house sparrows away (house finches don't bug me as much for some reason). I even saw a downy woodpecker on the fence near the feeders pecking at a sparrow there yesterday - they must be as annoyed as I am! I wish the red-bellied woodpeckers would come back!

I don't want to stop feeding completely, as I enjoy the birds, just not the 'pig' birds that come in such huge numbers. even quitting feeding everything for awhile does little to deter them. people who don't have to deal with large house sparrow populations just don't know how lucky they are.

Aug 28, 2013
upside down feeders
by: Marilyn

We've had a tube feeder for years, the kind where the finches invert to feed. It was funny when we first put it out because sparrows tried to eat there but soon gave up. There was one sparrow that entertained us by trying repeatedly and falling off. Not another sparrow appeared at the feeder again for 10 years. All of a sudden this year, sparrows are eating at the upside down tube feeder! I couldn't believe it! They have learned to do it, the little stinkers!

Jul 21, 2013
Sparrows will eat anything, anywhere.
by: Mae from KC

Am laughing about sparrows not eating from hanging feeders. I have tube feeders that are designed specifically for finch,chickadees and house wrens, and within a week of putting them out, the sparrows had adapted and learned to get seed out of them. I have round ball feeders that contain sunflower seed, and sparrows have learned to hang upside down in order to feed from them. I have safflower seed in feeders the sparrows rejected at first, but once the sunflower and finch feed was gone, they flocked to eat.

Conclusion: There is nothing that Sparrows of all varieties will not eat, nor any feeder that they will not figure out given time and motivation.

Sep 14, 2011
Sparrows are the pre-teens of the bird world.
by: Wildheartmuse

I love watching the sparrows at my feeder. They are comical. They even have a budgie flying with them this summer.....not sure how she will fare in the Winter though. I would not have thought of them as 'ground feeders' as they are primarily on my platforms and in the shelter feeder as well as using the hopper as a restaurant! They are fierce little fellas too, I have seen them give a blue jay a hard time at the feeder. Safety in numbers I would think!

Jul 16, 2011
I must have bionic sparrows then...
by: Anonymous

I must have special sparrows then, because my hanging feeders are packed with them.

Unfortunately, I wish they would STOP going to them, because all they do is go through them and empty them on the ground. (maybe they elected a few to empty it for the rest)

However, I filled me feeder less than an hour ago and it's now EMPTY from all the sparrows. (they don't eat the seed, just dump it)

Anyhow, I have hundreds of sparrows eating at my hanging feeders daily.


May 03, 2011
Funny, I think Sparrows are birds too....
by: Midwest Birder

Perhaps it's because I'm originally from Holland (as in the Netherlands) where House Sparrows once were in abundance, now pretty much wiped out. I'm not sure why this happened, but it makes me sad to see them gone. To me, it's a hardy group with funny and interesting habits and interactions of their own. I watch them for periods of time and appreciate them for what they bring to the scene (and perhaps appreciate the "pretty" birds even more because of them.......I think we should lighten up about so called non-native or invasive species, it's all in a day's bird watching, isn't it?

Apr 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

Gentlemen & Ladies

As far as sporrows the will eat anything...
I have observed them eating suet hung upside down left for the woodpecker that visits along with striped sunflower, I had to stop feeding at times in order for them to leave for a while,but with a few days of putting feed back out they were back. Susan I do like the squirrel feeder wonder if you might post the diagram , can't see the other side from video, would like to try it this coming winter, may it will help keep them away from my other feeders, !!!!!!!
Enjoy the site, keep up the good work
Gerry , MA

Hi Gerry. Here is the link to the page that gives the web address for making the squirrel feeder.Easy to Make Squirrel Feeder.

Apr 12, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am an avid bird watcher and I feed birds year round. I'm 62 years old and have been a bird watcher since I was 12 years old. I'm originally from PA and I currently live in DE. As for sparrows, I have observed and have identified many different types. Sparrows are strictly ground feeders! I have NEVER seen a sparrow go to a hanging bird feeder or platform.

Mar 20, 2011
Suggestions for Sparrows
by: Susan

Yes, we have sparrows in Canada!
Since Sparrows are mainly ground feeders, you may try sprinkling a supply of grain on the ground near the feeding stand. The Sparrow will visit it and leave the Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Downy to enjoy their meals unmolested.

Another option is to try a thistle feeder. Sparrows don't like to eat upside down.
Happy Birding,

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