A Strategy to Deter English Sparrows
It’s good to put out feeders with shelled peanuts for the birds, especially in winter. Peanuts attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees, and are a good source of calories and protein. That’s why I buy 20 lb. sacks marked “Peanut Rejects”. (Why were they rejected? They look fine to me, so I do wonder. Also, is rejection painful even for peanuts?)
The bad thing about putting out shelled peanuts is that they are also loved by less welcome birds: grackles, starlings, and English sparrows. Especially English sparrows. They can sometimes empty a feeder in less than a day. This gets expensive.
I was ready to give up on peanuts, but a friend of mine urged me to try a new strategy: fishing line. More specifically, tape lengths of fishing line to the inside of of the plastic dome used as a squirrel baffle. Depending on the size of the dome, he attaches four to six pieces of line. He said it deters the English sparrows, though not starlings or the more desirable birds who like peanuts.
So last Sunday I tried it. I put up the peanut feeder with the squirrel baffle on top, and with six pieces of fishing line taped to the inside. The result: a lot of uneaten peanuts. By Wednesday, it looked as if none of the birds were getting at the feeder, so I removed two of the pieces of fishing line.
As of today, it does appear that a few peanuts are being eaten. However, I haven’t actually seen any birds at the feeder, and neither has Judy.
So this strategy may be a little too effective. On the other hand, it may be that it takes the birds time to adjust to the fishing line blowing in the wind around the peanut feeder. I will give it more time, and report back in the near future.
Do you have any strategies for deterring English sparrows?