January 26

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How to Make a Make Sparrow Spooker in 5 Easy Steps


This blog is literally, the “nuts and bolts” of How to Make a Sparrow Spooker. However, to make your life and a Bluebird’s life easier, find the big blue button(s) below in order to:

BUY a Sparrow Spooker NOW

AllThingsBluebirds has them built and ready to ship.

Let’s Work Backwards as We Make a Sparrow Spooker, but First…….

You may be saying, “come on BlueBlogger, let’s get right to the point, let’s see what this best Bluebird house predator guard Sparrow Spooker thing looks like, then we’ll figure out how to make it.” Well, I’m right on board with that, but I do encourage you to pause one moment though to go over to this particular AllThingsBluebirds blog to refresh yourself on how this strange, but effective device works.  It’s worth the click over and back.

And, now that you are back, take a look at this photo immediately below to see an installed Sparrow Spooker.

Very simple looking, huh?

If you are the handy type, we’ll walk you through the step by step process to build your own Sparrow Spooker.  It’s easy and fun.

What you are looking at is one screw that is used to fasten the horizontal arm with streamers to the vertical post.  Then two different screws are used to fasten each vertical post which attaches to the back side of your Bluebird nest box (also affectionately known as a Bluebird house).  And, yes, if you are going to make this Sparrow Spooker, you will be the one to drill the holes.  Yes, I do have faith in you, I know you can do it, it’s easy.  I’ll give you the hole size and location a little later.  And, you’ll be the one to use the screwdriver too.  The Bluebirds will appreciate you more than you will ever know!  And sorry, but enough working backwards.  Whoever built something backwards, anyways?  Is that even possible?  Working forward……

Let’s Get to It!  Here are the Items you are Going to Need to Make a Sparrow Spooker

Quick side note:  if you want to cheat ahead to take a look at a QUICK START MATERIALS LIST and summary directions, take a click on the above, otherwise continue reading here for the detailed version.  Bouncing back and forth between the two works also. 

STEP 1A:

 Two dowels – wood – square profile. ½ inch x ½ inch x approximately 8 inch length

“Wait, wait, don’t confuse me already,” you might be saying! I know, I know, personally, I thought dowels were a round profile and cylindrical in shape also and I think that is very common, but I have learned that there are square profile dowels also.  Okay then, who knew?  Blood pressure settling, that’s good.  And, that’s how I found them labeled at the orange big box store I visited and they are very likely to be labeled the same way at whatever colored big box store or small store you may choose to visit.

You will cut three (2) pieces, each 8 inches in length from this “stick.” These are the vertical square dowels you see in the photo.

STEP 1B:

Now you have to grab your tape measure and go measure the FRONT to BACK dimension of the roof of your nest box. This measurement becomes the length of the horizontal dowels, which hold the Mylar streamer strips. You will cut three (2) pieces, each to the length you just measured

Step 1B…..check, check.

STEP 2:

1/8 inch diameter drill bit to make holes

Get your drill and a 1/8 +/- inch diameter drill bit (more on the + side I’d say, meaning a little bit bigger than 1/8 inch. Power tools, fun, fun.  Drill a hole about 1/4 of an inch from the end of the square dowel.  Don’t get too worried about all the exactness, all you are trying to do is keep the hole sufficiently far enough away from the end of the dowel such that you don’t split it when you go to screw it to your nest box . If you split it, no worries, the Bluebirds will never know or criticize your work, but they’ll sure appreciate your effort.  If you do split it, and you are a recovering perfectionist like me, you can make another one, like I would do.

You will drill one hole in each of the (2) square dowels.

Then approximately 3/4 of an inch up from each of the holes you just drilled, drill another hole on each of the vertical posts.

These (4) holes will have screws pass through them in order to fasten to the back of the bird house nest box.  Two screws in each vertical post will keep the Sparrow Spooker from leaning when fastened.

More drilling:

On the end opposite (furthest away from the holes you just drilled) drill a XX diameter pilot hole one half inch deep on each of the vertical posts.

Just a heads up….warning, warning…….straight and centered drilling on the end of vertical posts is not the easiest of tasks.  But again, don’t worry about perfection, this hole is a starter hole and again, used to prevent splitting of the vertical post.  Almost and hole as long as it is deep enough should work.

Oh, and this hole is used to accept the screw that will pass through the horizontal arm with streamers then into this vertical post.

Maybe a little bit of a challenge but it definitely secures the arm to the post.

Okay, put these two vertical posts to the side for now and last drilling, I promise:

Take the other two wood dowels and drill a hole about 1/4 of an inch from the end of the square dowel.

Drilling done.

Let’s summarize:

  • 4 dowels total
  • 2 dowels have two holes drill on the face of the dowel and one hole drilled in the end of the opposite dowel
  • 2 dowels each have one hole drilled 

Confusing? Not too bad, keep referring to the photo and it will all make sense.

step 2….. DONE.  Not just DONE, but well done.

STEP 3:

….drum roll please, a really fun part.

Mylar Strips

Get yourself some Mylar strips.  Hang on, hang on….it’s super nerd break time.  I’m sure you are asking “What is this Mylar stuff anyways?” Have you ever noticed that we use this term “Mylar” all the time, but does anyone know what it actually is?  Well, if you share my super nerd curiosity, you may already know, or you definitely want to know now. And, why is the “M” capitalized?  What’s so special about this Mylar stuff? Well, the “M” is capitalized because Mylar is actually a registered trademarked name for the DuPont Corporation’s  bi-axially–oriented polyethylene terephthalate (try to say that fast ten times, or just try to say it at all – quite the tongue twister there).

Ping pong back to us super nerds, we just call it BoPET for short. Polyester for others of us. And, it’s just good ol’ plastic film to most of us.  And, for even more of a trip down the road to nerds-ville, the shiny Mylar we recommend is actually a vacuum aluminized BoPET.

It’s all a long winded way of saying,  let’s use some shiny plastic to scare some Sparrows away. Ouch, my head hurts now.  Okay, super nerd break time is over, back to the basics….

I purchased my Mylar in folded sheet form at one of those dollar stores and feel like I have a lifetime supply now.  Approximately one inch wide strips should do it.  I’d say roughly 12 inches long long should do it.  I recommend making them this little bit longer because it is easy enough to cut them to the proper length after the Sparrow Spooker arms are attached to the nest box. I’ll talk about that more a bit later below.

Some Mylar Assembly Required

Not hard though, we’ll walk through this one together.

First, wrap the Mylar strip (and “yes,” take a moment to mentally bathe in your new found knowledge of Mylar.  That feels pretty good, doesn’t it?)

First, wrap the Mylar strip around  dowel one time such that the Mylar strip will hang down in the same direction as the vertical dowel. Click here to go back to the photo if you need a reference point. Do one at a time and wrap it.

Use a thumb tack or a stapler or staple gun and push or hammer or whatever it takes to fasten the Mylar to the wood.  Do this three (3) times along the length of the horizontal wood strip, one near the end, one in the middle and one at the other end.  Click here to take a look at the Sparrow Spooker photo to get the idea. You will be doing this wrapping exercise a few times, so you’ll get really, really good at it.

Or even easier, to BUY a Sparrow Spooker NOW and just attach it when it arrives:

STEP 5: Attachment time!

Exciting!  click here to go back to the top of the page to take another look at the installed Sparrow Spooker, literally working backwards again, as mentioned when we first started this BlueBlog!

Use the four (4) screws to fasten the vertical posts to the Bluebird house. Trim the Mylar strips so that they just gently brush the top surface of the roof.

Their  ya go!  DONE. DONE. DONE. Now, just let this strange but effective device perform it’s magic.  Remember to refer to the AllThingsBluebirds blog in order to understand when to install and when to remove this magic device.  In summary, you’ll want to attach these Sparrow Spooker to the Bluebird nestbox when they have laid their eggs.  Remove the Sparrow Spooker when the fledglings have left the nestbox. It’s really important.  And, we really don’t want to have to look at this strange, but effective device all the time, anyways.

Most importantly, all the best to you in this simple build and install endeavor.  Or, if you are already done…..CONGRATULATIONS!

Or, if you’ve chose to BUY a Sparrow Spooker NOW:

Bluebirds will appreciate your efforts more than you will ever know.  Happy Bluebird-ing from all of us at AllThingsBluebirds.

QUICK START MATERIALS LIST:

Note: you’ll be using the material below to make ONE arm of the Sparrow Spooker and you’ll want to make TWO.

STEP

DESCRIPTION

Quantity Required

1A

Dowel – wood – square profile. ½ inch x ½ inch x 8 inch length; (vertical dowel as shown)

1 dowel

1B

2nd Dowel – wood – square profile. ½ inch x ½ inch x LENGTH to match the front to back measurement of  your nestbox roof; (horizontal dowel as shown)

1 dowel

2

Clearance holes in the flat face of the dowel to fasten to the Bluebird house nest box

Holes to be centered on the end of the dowels in a ½ x ½ inch target area.  1/4 inch from the end and another XX from the center of that hole

Use one of the following drill bit diameters:

>1/8 inch diameter hole OR                                                                 9/64 inch drill bit OR                                                                              .141 inch diameter drill bit OR                                                            #27 inch drill bit

2 holes

3

Mylar strips  1  inch wide x 12 inch long; EXTRA long and to be cut after installing on the nestbox. Wrap around wood dowel several times around (item 1B) and use thumb tacks or staples to fasten to wood (item 1B).

2 thumb tacks or staples

4

#6 x 1 inch wood screw to attach to the Bluebird nestbox

2

click here to go back to top for full detailed instructions

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  • Hello, just wanted to thank you so much for your information about the sparrow spooker. I have had a bluebird house up for a few years and finally a pair laid 3 eggs in it. Two days ago a pair or of house sparrows have been sitting on the roof of it. I have been chasing them around my yard like a madman until I found your post. I made one with some inferior materials but I had nearly instantaneous results. By the time I walked in the house the female was perched on top of the spooker and the sparrow was furiously trying to get to the roof. About 5 minutes later I saw the mom climb in and haven’t seen the sparrow. Thank you so much, your information and design was perfect.

    • Hello John,
      I so much appreciate the comment that you left. It really makes me feel good to hear and I even had to show and have my wife read it! Glad it worked. I’ve become a Bluebird nerd the last couple of years, which has led me to sharing what I’ve learned. Sorry, about the extremely late reply, I’ve been active with Bluebirds all along, but in today’s world I’ve been inundated with SPAM and your comment was buried amongst 450 spam comments, but I’m glad I found it. I’ll post it to the site and your comments will hopefully help others. Long live Bluebirds!

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