Pest Birds: The English House Sparrow

English House Sparrow


  • Identification: Adults are approximately 6 inches in length. The males are females are slightly different in color with the males having more pronounced black markings around the head.
  • Nesting: They will build nests in protected areas on or near buildings. The nests will be made from grass, straw, feathers or similar materials.
  • Food: They will feed on a wide variety of things including seeds, grains, fruit, insects and food scraps.

Although many people enjoy watching and feeding birds, it is important that we discourage this practice by employees, the public and through poor sanitation practices around facilities. The English house sparrow is one of the most common of the pest bird species. It’s small size and aggressive nature, helps contribute to its success as an urban pest. They can carry over 29 diseases and spread parasites like bird mites. It is the most common species of birds to enter buildings via open doors. Once indoors, it can potentially spread disease and contaminate food and food contact surfaces with its droppings.

Prevention and Control Tips for the English House Sparrow

  • Keep refuse areas as clean as possible. Trash receptacles should have self-closing lids and be emptied frequently.
  • Educate employees on the importance of keeping doors closed while not in use to help prevent bird entry.
  • Pest proof all openings larger than ¾” which can provide access to the building like vent screens. Seal any openings along exterior walls that may provide access for nesting. Examples would be
    openings around pipe/wall junctures or corrugated roofs.
  • Keep exterior storage to a minimum like old equipment and cardboard which may provide harborage.
  • If a bird does get inside the building, report it immediately to the pest management company. It is important to remove or capture the bird as quickly as possible. Once the bird gets acclimated indoors, it is more difficult to capture for removal.