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.
The Sparrow Spooker installation is easy as 1 – 2 – 3 screws:
Very simple looking, huh?
If you are the handy type, we'll walk you through the step by step process do build your own Sparrow Spooker. It's easy and fun.
What you are looking at is a total of three (3) screws going through three (3) pre-drilled holes in each of the Sparrow Spooker arms, 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.
Three 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 (3) pieces, each 8 inches in length from this “stick.” These are the vertical square dowels you see in the photo.
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 (3) pieces, each to the length you just measured
Step 1B…..check, check.
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 three (3) square dowels.
Flip the each of the (3) dowels onto its adjacent side and drill (3) more holes on the other end of the dowel, similar to the the first (3) holes you already drilled.
Grab the other (3) dowels and drill (3) holes on just the one end of the dowel.
- 6 dowels total
- 6 dowels have one hole drilled in their ends
- (3) of the above dowels have hole drilled on the opposite end AND on the adjacent side
Confusing? Not too bad, keep referring to the photo and it will all make sense.
step 2….. DONE. Not just DONE, but well done.
Machine screw assembly
Get yourself the machines screws, washers and wing nuts to fasten the vertical and horizontal wood pieces. If you don’t know what all these #6 hardware is, no problem. Just go to the Fastener aisle at your local hardware store and ask the person in the aisle and they’ll point you to the right stuff. They are real experts and will set you up really fast. Insert the screw through the two square wooden dowels, add the flat washer, add the lock washer and add the wing nut. Tighten it up a little.
step 3….. easy, easy. Check.
….drum roll please, a really fun part.
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 three (3) screws to fasten the arms to the Bluebird house, one on each end, and one in the middle seems to be just about right. This next step is really important. 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 or THREE arms. Start with TWO, then see if you need or want THREE.
Dowel – wood – square profile. ½ inch x ½ inch x 8 inch length; (vertical dowel as shown)
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)
Clearance holes have been drilled in both pieces to fit the machine screw
Hole to be centered on the end of the dowels in a ½ x ½ inch target area
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
#6 diameter X 1 ½ inch length round head machine screw. #6 lock washer. #6 flat washer. #6 wingnut; steel zinc plated or other material
1 screw assembly
Mylar strips 1 inch wide x 12 inch long; EXTRA long and to be cut after installing on the nestbox. Wrap around wood dowel (item 1B) and use thumb tacks or staples to fasten to wood (item 1B).
3 thumb tacks or staples
#6 x 1 inch wood screw to attach to the Bluebird nestbox
click here to go back to top for full detailed instructions