House Sparrow sabotaging andkilling House Martin nests

Hi There

Have joined this site just to ask if anybody has any advice on how to stop a house sparrow destroying the nests and killing house martin chicks.

There are about 9 house martins nest around the eves of my house, they return every year, but this seems to be the first year that they have been in danger from another bird.  I came home from work last night to find seven dead chicks lying on the ground.  I have watched the house sparrow's activity for the past 3 hours this morning and he is waiting till the adults leave then going into the nests.  He is working his way along the nests and I am helpless to do anything.  Any advice would be so gratefully appreciated.  Thank You

  • Hi,

    I'm afraid this is widespread and has been documented on the forum on a number of occasions. The most recent is here. I've opened a thread for 2019 here. I also had a thread for 2018 here.

    One option is as per my threads, re dangling string. Limited effect. Might work as your sparrow doesn't sound fully committed yet.

  • Obviously, no good for this year, but for future years, if you have been feeding the birds, you might want to review that as house sparrows are invasive if given ideal conditions. Secondly, I am going to be blocking all sparrow nest sites in Winter so my house isn't surrounded by their broods next year. The garden is over run with them and the village will end up with no house martins at this rate.

  • Any update to this?
  • It would be good if people with house martins document what happens at their colony. There is more chance of preventing them being wiped out if that's done. As things stand, the doing nothing option is allowing their numbers to continue to decline in England and will continue to do so with inaction by conservation bodies.

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Hi There
    Thank you for your reply.

    I have watched the house sparrow and I do believe he is using the nest. Unfortunately, I cannot reach the house martins nests to place the string. I have noticed that they are being a bit more savvy to the house sparrow's movements and one adult is staying while the other goes out. There is about 7 successful house martin nest around my roof at present.
  • Thanks for the update. Currently more positive than my colony (just updated that thread). I've found sparrows will kick adult martins out, esp if the martin is looking out or suggesting it's about to leave the nest anyway.
  • I've updated my 2019 thread. A sparrow murdered an entire nest early this morning and another nest a few days earlier. They aren't using their 'won' nests at all. An entire village colony of martins are going to have 100% breeding failure........due to sparrow ethnically cleansing.