House Sparrow Eggs: From Breeding, Nesting to Egg Laying

Bird watchers love to watch house sparrows that visit their backyard. They are common in both urban and suburban locations and generally prefer habitats that are close to humans, hence why they might take up residence outside of your window. You might even find nests in outdoor lighting fixtures, kitchen vents, rooftops, gutters, or crevices near your home.

They are interesting creatures and their nests and eggs can be just as interesting. This is why we have written this article, to give you all the information you may need when trying to identify a house sparrow egg.

How Can You Identify House Sparrow Eggs?

For a beginner bird watcher or someone who isn’t too familiar with bird eggs, spotting a House Sparrow egg can be difficult, however, a more experienced bird enthusiast will tell you it’s quite simple. They are around 22.5 x 15.5 mm in size and look relatively glossy with a whitish edge.

They usually have heavy brown or blue-gray spots and the mothers usually lay around 3-6 eggs at one time. The clutch size will depend on the conditions of the season and the age of the female, as well as breeding density and location.

Size Difference of Sparrow Eggs

House Sparrow eggs can differ in size. The sparrows that hatch from much bigger eggs are bigger birds than the smaller ones which come as no shock to the average bird watcher.

It is been a topic that has been researched in the bird community and experts say that the difference from the smallest egg to the largest egg in volume can vary up to 50 percent.


When it comes to survival rates, the larger eggs are good for the short-term survival of young babies, simply because the nestlings that more energy reserves are more likely to survive on their own when their parents are out hunting for their dinner. Researchers also discovered that young that hatched from smaller-sized eggs survive better in warmer temperatures than those hatching from larger eggs.

House sparrows cannot predict the weather conditions of the season to make sure their batch of babies is the best fit for survival. However, they solve this problem themselves by laying a range of different-sized eggs that belong in the same clutch. This increases the chance that some eggs will hatch properly and survive.

Breeding Habits

Mating habits are what start off the whole process. Courtship often happens between January and July and during this time, male House Sparrows will claim their nesting site, fighting any other bird that attempts to step on their territory. This makes them very territorial and protective birds.

Photo by J.M.Garg

The male then begins chirping in an attempt to attract female House Sparrows and as they get close to the nest, the volume of the chirping increases. Often, other males will join in and they will chirp together, often trying to win the attention of the same female House Sparrow. When they pair up, the mating ritual starts.

Nesting And The Young

House Sparrows do not migrate like many other backyard birds and they may recycle the same nest, using it multiple years in a row. Studies show that most House Sparrows remain within a radius of 1.25 miles in the nesting period and refuse to fly any further than 5 miles outside of their original nesting site. That means, if you spot a nest in your backyard, they are often there to stay.

They use these nests all year long and during the springtime and summer months, they will raise their young there. They sometimes raise four broods per season, all in one nest. During the fall and in winter, the nest is a place of rest and roosting during the night.

They can be found up trees, in buildings, in birdhouses, and crevices near the backyards of humans. However, these birds can multiply quite quickly and nest all through the year so they can become an issue for some homeowners.

Photo by Goldflakes

The female starts to lay her eggs after the nest is built and will usually lay up to around 4 eggs at once. The female incubates the eggs for around 12 days and they fledge at around 14 days. The male sparrow often takes charge of the young and the female behind to lay her next clutch of babies.

As we mentioned, these birds move fast and multiply at rapid speeds. After one set of babies has been hatched, think about how the mother is ready to do it all again after just a few days!

Identifying A House Sparrow Nest

So what does a nest look like? Simply put, a circle. It is a perfect sphere and is around 8-10 inches in diameter. Their nests are also made with materials such as debris, trash, straws, leaves, grass, twigs, and paper. The inside of the nest is lined with grass or sometimes feathers and it is usually a bit of a mess.

Photo by Rich Mooney

Feeding Habits

Like a lot of birds, House Sparrows are not fussy in terms of their diet. They like a variety of seeds, as well as oats, wheat, and corn. They like to forage around outside on the ground and fly into your feeder in your backyard for some suet.

They also enjoy eating spiders and other small insects. If you leave spare food around on the ground, especially in your backyard, they’ll come and scrape those up with a blink of an eye. They are known as the trash disposal of the bird world. 


House sparrows are known to be quite aggressive birds. You’ll often find them fighting with tree swallows, martins, and other small birds such as bluebirds.

Controlling The Large Numbers Of House Sparrows

It’s not simple to attempt to get rid of a house sparrow after it has taken up residence in your backyard. They often come in large numbers and their activities of terrorizing other birds may be quite overwhelming. However, there are a few methods that might help you out.

Cracked Corn

One of the biggest issues with House Sparrows is that they love to dominate your backyard feeder. This means if you leave an amount of cracked corn around 15 feet away from your feeder, or outside your backyard, they might opt to go for this instead.

They enjoy cracked corn more than any other food and as it is one of the cheapest food you can buy in the store, it’s also a budget-friendly way of attempting to stop them from dominating your feeder. 

Photo by Imogen Warren

Nesting Site Monitoring

Like we discussed earlier in the article, House Sparrows enjoy nesting near other humans. They like to collect trash to build their nests and eat food people leave lying around by accident.

One method you can try is to monitor places in your backyard and around your home where they might choose as a nesting site. If you see a House Sparrow’s nest, remove this as soon as you possibly can. We know this seems harsh, but you’re protecting the native birds as well as preventing a huge population of House Sparrows from taking up permanent residence outside your back window.

You can even attempt to install netting around the crevices of your home to stop them from making a nest inside the house.

Final Thoughts

Though when hatched, these birds can be annoying, aggressive, and dominating, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, they are just attempting to survive like many other birds out there that we all know and love.

House Sparrows are here for the long run and if you start to accept them, you can even learn to love them. After all, once hatched, baby House Sparrows can be quite cute. Appreciate them as one of God’s creatures and laugh at the entertainment they might bring to your morning cup of coffee during the spring. 

Photo by Imogen Warren

Related Questions

Is the House Sparrow a nuisance?

The House Sparrow can be considered a nuisance as it takes resources from native birds. However, it cannot be blamed for being in the wrong place! There are humane ways to persuade them to not nest near your house so research if you don’t want them in your garden.

Should I put an egg on the ground back in the nest?

If you can see there are nesting House Sparrows above and you can return it without disturbing the nest or mother, then do so.

How many North American sparrows are there?

There are over 30 native species of sparrow in the United States. Amazing that the House Sparrow has come to dominate in such as short time!