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Problem Animal
House Sparrows &
European Starlings

Grouping Omnivores, includes many seeds, grains and bugs.
Nicknames Sparrow, English Sparrow, @#$%^&*! Starling, black bird, @#$%^&*!
Best Known For Decorating cars, sidewalks and homes with white and purple polka dots. Plugging up vents. Consuming large amounts of grain. Nesting in potted plants, behind shutters, wreaths and ornamental light fixtures.
Life Span Sparrow – Up to 3 years on average.  
Starling – Average of 1.5 years.
Mating Season Sparrow – Spring to early fall.         
Starling – Spring and early summer.   
Reproductive Details Sparrow – 2 to 4 clutches per year, each producing 3 to 7 young. Eggs are hatched in 12 to 14 days.  

Starling – 1 to 2 clutches per year, each producing 3 to 6 young. Eggs are hatched in 12 days.
Dispersal Young disperse after fledging and are capable of feeding on their own.  Fledged birds may appear too young to be living on their own. Often a parent is close by to offer protection and assistance.  Fledged birds are incapable of sustained flight and live on the ground for this short period.
Habitat Both are invasive species not indigenous to North America and have adapted to a wide variety of habitats in cities, suburbs, towns, farmland and wood edges. Both are rarely far from humanity.
Activity Cycle Active during the day all year long.   

Starling – During the fall and winter starlings will form into large flocks of 500 plus birds. These ‘clouds’ of birds will twist and contort creating a unique show in the sky.

Sparrow—During the winter sparrows band together and are routinely found in low trees and shrubs. They also are common invaders of large structures including barns, box stores, and garden centers.
Food Sparrow – Weed and grass seed, waste grains, insects, spiders, fruit tree buds, flowers, crumbs and garbage.

Starling – Almost equal amounts of animal and plant food. Includes beetles, grasshoppers, ants, flies, caterpillars, earthworms, grains, garbage, cherries and mulberries.
Damage Signs Both – Driving native cavity nesters from nest boxes, destroying native bird eggs, large quantities of droppings, aggressive and noisy presence. Clogged dryer, bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents due to nesting debris. Disease vector species. Millions of dollars in damage to agricultural interests and large retail establishments.  

Starling – In late summer and fall flocks may contain thousands of birds. Starling nests are often very large, and in attics may appear as a bale of hay and be as tall as a child (5 feet).
Treatment Utilize appropriate size screening and manufactured vent covers to correct vent openings including dryers, bath exhaust, convection oven, ridge and gable vents. Remove nesting, perching and roosting ledges on homes and buildings. Secure access openings on buildings. Use of fogging agents for starling flock dispersal. Use of food based poisons. Trapping with V-top and colony-style traps.
Distinguishing Features Sparrow – Males have black chin and breast patches, white cheeks and a chestnut nape. Females are a drab and dingy brown.  

Starling – Chunky bird with short, yellow legs and a long, straight, yellow bill. Black coloration with iridescent highlights. In flight they take on a “fighter jet” or triangular appearance.
Risk & Disease Large guano deposits harbor multiple diseases including salmonella. Infestations of bird mites can also occur wherever either species is nesting. Bird mite issues develop into full fledged infestations of houses and businesses.
Nest Sites Cavity nesters. Will exploit both natural and manmade holes, gaps, spaces and cavities for nest sites. House sparrows and starlings kill and/or displace native nesting birds for the purpose of taking over nest boxes, nest cavity locations and to eliminate competition for food sources.

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