Help us with this project...

We are looking for people to help us with this project, to Lead the project (with support) as well as help with actions.

Report your sightings...

Your sightings are very important for helping the House Sparrow population in Richmond Borough! Please report them using the online form - thank you!

Put up nest boxes...

  **House Sparrows like to nest colonially, so one box on its own is unlikely to attract a breeding pair. Try placing a number of boxes along the eaves of your roof, or choose multiple house nesting boxes**        

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) offers the following advice for providing nest boxes for House Sparrows:

Choosing a nest box

  • Only choose a box made from an insulating material such as wood or a special waterproof wood/concrete compound.
  • The wood should be about 19mm thick (and no less than 15mm). Wooden boxes can be safely treated on the outside with a preservative provided it is non-toxic and water-based. A box made from cedar, oak or beech will far outlive one made from softwood such as pine.
  • Don’t choose a box made from thin wood, plywood, corrugated cardboard, plastic or solid ceramic materials. Although birds may occupy them if no other nest sites are available, they are unlikely to be successful. Also, boxes made from dense materials like ceramics can be dangerous since they are likely to be too hot or too cold for chicks to survive.
  • Choose a box with a 32mm entrance hole as this is the ideal size for all small hole-nesting birds such as sparrows.
  • The box should not be too small inside as birds may lay fewer eggs in smaller boxes. The internal floor area should at least 130 square centimetres (20 square inches).
  • Perches are not necessary and may even act as a foothold for squirrels or weasels as they reach into the box to grab eggs and chicks.

*Or you can make your own Sparrow Terrace!

Placing the nest box

  • Shelter your box from the weather - the front of the nest box should be angled vertically or slightly downwards to prevent rain from entering the nest box. Make sure it is sheltered from prevailing wind, rain and strong sunlight.
  • Height from the ground should be 3 metres - small-hole boxes are best placed 1-3m above ground on tree trunks, but avoid sites where foliage obscures the entrance hole.
  • Make sure cats cannot get into the box - ensure that it is not easily accessible to predators (cats and squirrels). 
  • Consider a metal plate around hole to deter squirrels - this preventive measure that can be used to deter squirrels from gaining access. These plates are available commercially and can be purchased from any good garden centre or bird care company at very little cost.
  • Keep nest box away from bird feeders - as high levels of activity of visiting birds could disturb nesting pairs.



 Traditionally, nest boxes for small birds are put up in the spring - pairs begin to prospect in the latter half of February, so a box put up at the end of the winter stands a good chance of attracting nesting birds. However, it is never too early or late to put up a nest box, as some birds will use them to roost in during the winter months.


Referenced from The Britush Trust for Ornitholigy, 2014

Photo copyright of Sandra Palme