Preventative measures: The Bureau of Rural Sciences, Australia, recently developed a risk assessment model (Bomford,
2003) which has been endorsed by the National Vertebrate Pests Committee and may be used as the basis for future exotic species import applications. To assign an exotic species to a threat category, three risk scores are calculated: the risk that (1) an escaped or released individual would harm people, (2) escaped or
released individuals would establish a wild free-living population (3) the species would be a pest if a wild population did establish. These three risk scores are then
used to assign the exotic species to one of four threat categories: extreme, serious, moderate or low.
Passer domesticus has been assigned an
Extreme threat catergory for Australia. These animals should not be allowed to enter, nor be kept in any State or Territory. (Special consideration may be
given to scientific institutions on a case by case basis.) Any species that has not been assessed previously should be considered to be in the Extreme Threat Category
and should be treated accordingly, until a risk assessment is conducted.
Physical: According to Glacking (2000), there are several ways to control P. domesticus and prevent sparrow problems. One is habitat modification. Roosting and nesting sites can be reduced by blocking entrances larger than 2cm. Buildings can be designed or altered to eliminate resting places. In some areas, building codes are modified and architectural committees review plans to reduce nesting sites.
Food sources can be reduced by removing edible human refuse, protecting small crops with bird netting and practicing clean livestock feeding techniques. Feed also needs to be covered to protect it from bird droppings. Bird-resistant varieties of plants can be planted.
More direct methods of control include shooting, trapping, poisoning and repelling. House sparrows can be shot with air guns and small arms containing BB's and dust shot. Trap types include funnel, automatic, triggered and mist nets. Trapping is generally difficult, as sparrows quickly learn to avoid traps, nets, etc. (Summers-Smith, 1963). P. domesticus can be repelled with noise, such as fireworks or alarms. Bird glues and Nixalite (trademark for "porcupine wire") annoy the sparrows. They can also be scared away with scarecrows and motorised hawks. Destroying nests can be another method of reducing P. domesticus populations.
Chemical: The standard poison used is Avitrol (trademark for 4-Aminopyridine). It is most effective in winter, when food is scarce and bait is readily accepted. Grain is typically used, however, it is important to be aware of any local poison control laws before proceeding. Naphthalene is an olfactory repellent.
Location Specific Management Information
Searches for sparrows took place in June '02, April '03 and Feb '04 and none were found. The population is now believed to be extinct (Dickey, 2004 in Varnham, 2006).
An informal monitoring of the expanding population is in place. Eradication is recommended before it spreads to other parts of Tortola and to other islands (Petrovic, 2003 in Varnham, 2006).
2. Clergeau, Phillipe; Levesque, Anthony and Lorvelec, Olivier., 2004. The precautionary principle and biological invasion: the case of the house Sparrow on Lesser Antilles. International Journal of pest management 50(2) 83-89
Summary: This paper summarizes the different steps of a decision-making protocol applied to the recent establishment of an
exotic species, the House Sparrow Passer domesticus, in the Lesser
6. Summers-Smith, ., (1963) The House Sparrow – Collins, London
Summary: Information on nesting habits and management.
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