If you have a birdfeeder or feed birds regularly, you may have witnessed sparrows attacking other birds or taking over your birdfeeders, birdhouses, and yard. It may be discouraging to see bluebirds’ eggs destroyed or even adult birds killed by others.
Fortunately, there are several DIY solutions to this issue, and sparrows’ lack of legal protections means you are less to risk legal trouble if you undertake this issue yourself.
If you'd like to attract only birds smaller than sparrows, a straightforward solution for birdhouses is loosely wrapping some wire around the entrance. Leave space large enough for the desired bird species to enter. The wire will confuse sparrows, who will believe they won’t fit and deter them from entering. The other birds will hopefully be intelligent enough not to feel threatened by the wire, but only if you’ve left enough space for them to go inside. You can also find hole reducers for birdhouses online or at most birding stores.
You may also want to consider taking your bird feeder(s) down for some time. The sparrows may be discouraged and seek another food source. Return the bird feeder to its original spot or a new location, and keep an eye out if they return. You could also purchase a bird box with a smaller hole if your desired bird species are smaller, like chickadees or wrens.
Take note of what food sparrows like, and avoid using these foods as much as possible. Sparrows prefer ground feeding, so stick to bird feeders instead of spreading seeds (especially millet, their favorite meal) around your yard. They are also more likely to avoid feeders with only suet, without seeds; feeders with seeds packed into pre-formed shapes; and feeders with some amount of protection, like upside-down feeders or those with halo-like weather shields.
House sparrows are an invasive species not native to North America, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 does not apply to them. Don’t just go around hurting sparrows, though! Local ordinances may subject you to fines and other consequences if you’re caught doing harm or moving nests. Always consult a bird control company or bird expert before relocating a bird’s home.