English Sparrow Control. Page: 2
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ENGLISH SPARROW CONTROL1
By E. R. KALMBACH, Senior Biologist, Division of Food Habits Research
Bureau of Biological Survey
ECENT STUDIES of the food habits and economic status of the
English sparrow under present-day conditions show that the
adult birds are essentially vegetarian, more than 96 per cent of their
annual food being obtained front mixed feed, grain of various kinds,
weed seeds, and products of the garden. The nestlings subsist to a
large extent on insects, but such beneficial work lasts for only a brief
span of 10 or 12 days, after which the young become quite as vegetarian
as the adults. Consequently, where English sparrows become
overabundant there often is a demand and need for local control.
This leaflet sets forth economical and effective means for
A little attention given to measures of prevention may often save
much that otherwise might have to be spent on control later.
Sparrow abundance usually may be attributed to definite causes.
Careless methods of poultry feeding or grain handling may give the
birds a lavish food supply. Crevices about buildings may serve as
inviting nesting sites, and barn cupolas or vine-covered sides of
houses or other structures may provide safe shelters during the
winter. The elimination or decrease of any of these facilities, often
in itself an improvement in farm practice and equipment, is bound to
have its effect on the sparrow population. Certainly complete success
in control operations against sparrows can not be expected
unless at the same time an effort is made to remove the conditions
that attract the birds.
A local sparrow population often may be reduced or even eliminated
by destroying the nests and eggs at intervals of 10 or 12
days throughout the breeding season. Such measures
Destroying are well suited to antisparrow campaigns in reNests
stricted neighborhoods or in small towns, where a
spirit of community interest aids. A pole, armed at
the end with an iron hook, is a handy tool for dislodging nests
situated beneath eaves, on rafters, or on tracks for hayforks in
barns, and about water tanks or trees.
Bird houses of a size suitable for English sparrows may be erected
at convenient locations and visited regularly to destroy the nests and
eggs of the undesirable tenants. Such boxes should be constructed
with a removable top or front so as to permit ready access to the
interior. It is important that those engaged in such measures of
sparrow control be qualified to distinguish the nests and eggs of
English sparrows from those of beneficial native species, such as bluebirds
and wrens, which often occupy similar sites and which are protected
by law throughout the United States. It is also incumbent
upon operators of the automatic traps hereafter described to visit
them at least once a day to release any beneficial species that may be
This leaflet supersedes Farmers' Bulletin 493, The English Sparrow as a Pest, by Ned
Dearborn, published in 1912 and revised in 1917.
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Kalmbach, E. R. (Edwin Richard), 1884-. English Sparrow Control., book, April 1931; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1543/m1/2/?q=%22English%20sparrow%20--%20Control.%22: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.