Unwelcome House Guests

House Sparrows are like mice – they’re cute, but way too prolific and you don’t want to share your home with them. There’s been a gang of house sparrows in the HenCam coop. I could tell they were young and inexperienced because instead of zippily flying out when they saw me, they’d barge around and fly into the window. A seasoned bird knows to dip down and fly right out the chicken’s pop door. It took me awhile, but it finally dawned on me that there was a nest somewhere inside the coop. Steve found it in the eaves above the window.

He reached in (gloved, but still, I was glad not to be doing this) and pulled out handful after handful of hay and grasses that the sparrows had constructed their bedroom with.

A coop is a smart place to have a nest. It’s closed up and protected from predators at night, but open for business during the day. There’s food and water within easy reach. The sparrows were not pleased to be evicted. This morning they were flying around outside of the coop, making bzzinking chirps and looking annoyed and hassled, like teenagers woken up early.

I don’t  feel sorry for them. House sparrows carry diseases, like mycoplasma, and external parasites, like mites. They’re pests. They won’t have a safe haven in the coop any longer.

Meanwhile, I seem to be losing the battle of the chipmunks outside. Lily is not taken in by their adorableness, and has done a valiant job keeping them out of my garden. But, she was out of commission for a week due to her torn dew claw. In that time my peach tree went from this

to this:

Good farm dog Lily is back at work. I’m hoping the peaches will ripen this week and I’ll be able to salvage half the crop.

Meanwhile, the corn is up. It’s not quite ready for harvesting. I’m waiting and watching. As are the raccoons. We’ll see who gets to it first.


  1. i’d never even heard of house sparrows before!

    bummer about the peaches. what variety are they?

  2. So you have all the sparrows! Ours are in decline here and people are frantically putting nest boxes up for them in towns.
    Just been away for a few days and am very sorry to hear about Coco – the heat and time of year can’t have helped, it’s a rough time for birds, autumn. Mine are moulting and mopey. Red mite swarms in the houses, I can’t keep on top of it.
    I do love a raccoon but I imagine their cleverness and dexterity are a pain in the backside!

  3. Our peaches all disappeared the day they were ripe! I was thinking raccoons, but maybe it was chipmunks, who we see scuttling around the patio all the time.

  4. Oh such a shame about your peaches! Fresh peaches just ripe off the tree are so delicious. We planted a peach tree this year and hope for some fruit next year, along with our new cherry trees and Asian pear. We also have a lot of sparrows but they haven’t tried nesting in our coops. Our biggest food predator is hundreds and thousands of ground squirrels, a real nemesis in our area. I am sure I feed 2X the chicken feed because of them. My husband does his best to manage them, but it’s endless:-( Glad to hear Lily is up and around, back at work.
    Save the peaches!!

  5. Wendy were do you live? If you need house sparrows you are more than welcome to come here and trap and take home with all you can catch.
    The English starling is more of nuisance to me, they just defacate all over the place, IT’S NASTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Now that the heat as broken the feed is back in the coop and the fortunately the starlings have thinned out quite a bit.
    I had a 4 beautiful rows of green beans one year, all plants were in full glory with great leaves and full of yellow blossoms just waiting to turn into green beans. I came home from work one night went out and it looked like someone had stuck green floral sticks in the ground, not a leaf or blossom to be found. Waskelly wabbits!!!!

  6. As a kid, house sparrows were the bane of my father’s existence. I remember mamy a time he would be staked out in the garage with a bb gun trying to fend them off from nesting all over and taking over all of the bird houses he would build and put up. We have been over taken with chipmunks and crows this year, I think it is time to call my dad. Ugh, they do such damage. Good luck.

  7. I hate the chipmunks! They steal the chicken feed, sit right in the dish and shove their faces full! They have not moved into my chicken coop though, thank goodness! But they have moved into MY house! I saw one disappear right up into the siding on the house! They must be living in the walls! My basement is infested with fleas, even though my house and my pets are flea-free! They have opened the door for smaller rodents to get in my basement too! I found a dead mouse and a whole lot of mouse poo in the basement today! I am furious!!!!!!!

  8. Nothing like stories worse than mine to make me feel better! Starlings and rabbits destroying beans… fleas in the basement (ugh! you need a cat. or three.) I’ve considered keeping Candy in the coop – she wouldn’t put up with those flighty little bothersome birds.

  9. Looks like the sparrows are back according to the camera in the coop at 1:30! Have you tried putting one of those bobble-head owls on top of the coop?

    • I think the sparrows would just fly into their safe house – my coop! Also, we so enjoy the other birds in the yard and I don’t want to scare them away. Yesterday a pair of flickers were feeding in the lawn. Gorgeous creatures!

    • Karen don’t forget chickens are birds too and fear birds of prey.
      Take it from someone who tried the owl thing without thinking…and then stood there for 5 minutes trying to figure out why my poor hens wouldn’t come out of the coop…it truely was a Homer Simpson moment…

  10. I have wanted to plant a peach tree for a very long time but there are so many squirrels and chipmunks in our yard I’m afraid it will be destroyed. Sparrows always take over the bird houses my husband puts up. I’m beginning to think they are the only birds who visit the backyard.

  11. I had strawberries that looked very much like your peaches do. We have chipmucks, and suspect their little teeth would fit the marks on the 1/2 eaten strawberries, still clinging to the vines. It is disheartening. Does your good farm dog, Lily need a part time job?

  12. My tomatoes have just been ruined with nibbles and bites out of the bottoms of the most rippest ones! I have used all manner of tools to keep our chipmucks from thinking this is their own personal food supply. I keep expecting at least a thank you note from them, but so far nothing but more half nibbled on tomatoes. I did pick several yesterday that were not quite ripe. Sitting on the inside window sill. Those little buggers can not get to them now!