House sparrows beware!

I’d never thought much about house sparrows, except to notice that they’re among the most-frequent visitors to my bird feeder (whenever Sarah fills it for me).

Then, a few days ago, my neighbour M called me over to show me his homemade sparrow deterrent, based on the Magic Halo. He’d made the halo frame from a couple of coathangers and then hung four evenly spaced, narrow-gauge wires, each with a heavy nut or screw at the end for ballast. The original product uses a filament instead of wires, in which the birds can become entangled.

So far, he said, no sparrows. (M also avoids the cheap birdseed that contains the cracked corn that sparrows like.)

Though impressed with M’s ingenuity, it made me wonder why such measures were necessary. So I got online.

This informative site about bluebirds, including a whole section on the Magic Halo, awakened me to the bully-boy that is the fluffy little house sparrow. I learned that this non-native bird attacks and kills cavity-dwelling native birds such as bluebirds and intimidates shy guys like chickadees. Who’da thunk it?

So, get ye hence, foul sparrow. Go pick on someone a whole lot bigger.


  1. Hi from Val at P&L. . I laughed when I read about your sparrows.. In the UK we are a bit worried about declining numbers. I did'nt know they could be such bad boys. Thanks for your very nice comments and the tip about Yes I do know about it and have quoted from it on the blog (can't think why it didn't come up in the search.)I was in touch with the lady who runs it a while ago and maybe doing some work on American bumble bees her site..which will be great fun. To that end a box of bumble bees arrived today from Illinois university.. its just like Christmas!

  2. I did not know that about the house sparrow! Interesting contraption and even more interesting that it works so well. I need to watch my feeders more closely and see what exactly if visiting them…thanks! Kim

  3. It's the squirrels that I find antipathy toward! I hesitate to put out the suet for the woodpeckers. They have already come looking for it…because one squirrel can clean it out in an hour. The Magic halo was interesting…and this one is certainly less costly! gail

  4. Rosey, I love the jays. They're also a bit greedy, but they're so pretty.

    Val, The UK could have some of our sparrows back, I'm sure. That's where they shipped out of originally. Imagine getting bumbles for Christmas. That would be fun. I once had a temp job in the order department of my university, where I had to type out requisitions for fruit flies. I spent most of my time laughing.

    Kim, I didn't know much about the downside of house sparrows either till I researched this post.

    Gail, With you there on the squirrels! When things get bad, I like to review the instructions for skinning squirrels in the Joy of Cooking. Very (vicariously) satisfying.

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