A new home for house sparrows

For at least ten years house sparrows have been nesting under the soffits at the corner of our house.  It has been a true home for house sparrows (though we’ll leave the definition of ‘home’ well alone here).  Every single year they have reared at least one brood of young, reaching three broods in good years.  It must be a good nest site, tucked away and very difficult for any predator to access.  On the downside over the years we have found 3 dead chicks on the patio below; I imagine the young must wriggle to the edge of the nest past the point of no return, plunging to their inevitable death.  I guess that’s not such a bad return in the brutal world of chick survival.

We have had to repair the soffits and consequently the old ‘natural’ nest site had to go.  We were surprised to find that the remains of the old nest were relatively neat and compact, and not the huge rambling mess suggested by the amount of material that the sparrows seemingly added every year.

House sparrow perched in Japanese maple tree

The picture above shows last year’s male house sparrow.  When we moved into the house we planted a Japanese maple: it was 3 foot tall then and is more like twenty foot tall now.  The sparrows love it for cover and feeding, as do many other birds passing through this relatively built up area.

With scaffolding all over the house it was the best time to put a box up near the old site.  The RSPB boxes are well-made, simple, and do the job.  Whether the location of this one will attract sparrows remains to be seen.  It was a tricky one, as all aspects of our house attract the sun at some point during the day, and I would have rather had it in a more sheltered position.  The options are limited.  Also, I  couldn’t put it right next to the old site as there were places that magpies and crows could perch and access the entrance hole even more easily.

House sparrow nest box

I had grand plans to put a swift box in too.  They have been known to have a brief look at our house in the past, but I decided that all of the possible sites were too exposed or too low.  Maybe another time, and then I will definitely put one up with a camera installed inside, as the lives of swifts are fascinating indeed.  As for the sparrow box, it’s a matter of watch this space.  In the quirky way of nature a flock of sparrows appeared in our garden today, just after the box was erected.  They had previously been absent for several weeks.  This is the sort of thing a wildlife cameraman does on his days off.

House sparrow nest box courtesy of the RSPB

House sparrow