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Old 02-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #11
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I ran across this site, http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm . Although I only scanned the page it seems to be a very thorough treatment of the problem and possible solutions. The article is titled, "Managing House Sparrows" and to show that they match your intense feelings it leads off with this quote;

"Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow." -W.L. Dawson, The Birds of Ohio, 1903

It seems to primarily focus on the impact that HOSP have on Bluebirds, but the methods are applicable across the board.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:52 PM   #12
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Snapping their necks is humane I'm told by experts. My veterinarians do it but I need to bring the birds to them. I could never snap a bird's neck but... I know it's done routinely by many trying to protect native cavity nesters.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:34 PM   #13
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I just finished moving my bluebird boxes from wood poles to metal conduit poles well away from fences and trees and brush. I'm tired of predation on the bluebirds. I don't know if house sparrows or house wrens or snakes or whatever have been attacking the nests but I'm mounting a full scale war on all of them! I intend to add sparrow spookers to the top of the boxes after the first egg is laid.

I've been watching my feeders too for house sparrows, I've never tried to identify the many different sparrows but now I'm being vigilant. I did see a few male and female white-throated sparrows at the feeder this morning. No sign of HOSPs thankfully.

I could never kill a bird, no matter how vile. It's hard enough for me to squish Japanese beetles when they come around.
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Old 02-10-2010, 02:22 PM   #14
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The site I linked to above attributes bluebird mortality directly to house sparrows. Apparently they're vicious little things. They offer an exhaustive view of management options. One thing they mention is that for some reason, HOSPs (but not bluebirds, tree swallows or chickadees) seem to be spooked by monofilament fishing line. Hanging several threads of this from the nesting box will cause them to pause and then flee at the sight of it. Good luck with your battle.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:10 PM   #15
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TimSaupe,

After missing us the first two times, we finally got hit with some snow. Between shovelings, I've been taking pictures of the birds coming to my feeder. I've really lucked out and have seen no house sparrows or starlings this year. :crossedfingers I too only feed black oil sunflower seeds--I haven't put any suet out this year yet. I have bluebirds and put up houses for them, so I hope it stays this way.

Anyway, good luck with your Hosp situation. When I saw your thread the first thing that struck me was that I *just* took a picture that looks kind of similar to your avatar! I had to share:
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
I just finished moving my bluebird boxes from wood poles to metal conduit poles well away from fences and trees and brush. I'm tired of predation on the bluebirds. I don't know if house sparrows or house wrens or snakes or whatever have been attacking the nests but I'm mounting a full scale war on all of them! I intend to add sparrow spookers to the top of the boxes after the first egg is laid.

I've been watching my feeders too for house sparrows, I've never tried to identify the many different sparrows but now I'm being vigilant. I did see a few male and female white-throated sparrows at the feeder this morning. No sign of HOSPs thankfully.

I could never kill a bird, no matter how vile. It's hard enough for me to squish Japanese beetles when they come around.
If they are house wrens, you get holes poked in eggs and small sticks stuffed in nesting boxes. If they are snakes, you end up with missing eggs and/or young birds. If they are HOSP, you have a chance at stopping them from killing most of your bluebirds with Sparrow Spookers. House sparrows killed an adult bluebird and an adult tree swallow on my bluebird trail before nesting began last year. Allowing HOSP to survive, in any given area, means that you allow them to breed in the area. They can and will out-compete with native birds for available nesting sites as their numbers grow. They will kill native birds in the area. Soon, you will have no bluebirds. If you have any doubt, visit any city and count that number of HOSP that you see on one piece of paper and make a mental note of the absence of native birds. You will not need a piece of paper to record native bird numbers. S&S have eliminated them.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:23 AM   #17
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My guess is that I had house wrens. The eggs were pierced. I did find a dummy nest of sticks in one box that I removed. I also think I have snakes, I found a snakeskin in the same box. That's why I moved to metal poles. I may also have raccoons, I saw scratch marks on the pole and box. Like the Sialis site warned, the first year we saw three successful clutches fledge. The next year, death and destruction once the predators found the boxes.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #18
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dapjwy - that certainly looks like a female hairy. I love those little buggers. The male has a small red patch on the back of the head. We have been hit good with snow here and may get more this weekend!

I have a beautiful little bird house that was given to me for Christmas and it will not go out until I install a metal washer to be sure the chickadees can use it but the HOSP butchers cannot . . .

fishlkmich - I hate them too and you are obviously very passionate about it for which I applaud you; if I didn't have to worry over constantly catching native sparrows I would be killing them all myself. It doesn't make me squeamish; I have kept reptiles for decades and have always killed mice before feeding them off . . . I guess I am just cold to it.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:53 AM   #19
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You can get good at identifying house sparrows. I can identify juveniles correctly, through the scope on my "adult air rifle". My eyes aren't great and I can positively ID male and female adult house sparrows in a group of native sparrows from about 20'. In fact, having the native sparrows in the mix makes it easier to get a positive ID.

Snakes CAN AND DO climb metal poles with ease. You can incorporate snake netting, if you want them dead. A baffle will keep them out of the nesting boxes and alive. How large is the entrance hole in the house where you found the snake skin? Great crested flycatchers often place a snake skin in their nest and I know for a fact that they can easily get into a 2" hole. A pair nested at my place last year.

Conduit should stop the raccoons. I use 1" and never had a coon problem. I've known folks to glue tack strips to poles that coons climb to deter them. If a coon really wants something it will usually get it. There is a terrible overpopulation of coons since PETA came along. Trappers can't get enough for a skin to make it worth the trouble. 80% of them carry one or more diseases and they are decimating our reptile population. Man has killed their predators and is no longer taking them for fur.

House wrens can be a huge problem. Pulling the sticks out every day and/or closing boxes is the only solution. If you like house wrens you can allow them to breed, but forget about hosting other species. I know a married couple that lost an entire bluebird trail, on five acres, to house wrens. They can no longer host bluebirds or tree swallows.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:14 AM   #20
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I wondered if adding a wobbling baffle to the pole was necessary but if snakes can climb 3/4" metal then I will. I already bought the stovepipe and hardware cloth for them. I've heard folks wax the poles to make them more slippery but snakes are pretty good climbers. The baffle should keep other climbing predators out too.

The holes in the boxes are 1 1/2", standard bluebird box size. I also thought the snakeskin might have been picked up and used for nesting material. I've had chickadees nest in that box. They like moss and grasses and other soft materials for their nests. A friend actually gave me a wren house which I put up before I got into bluebirds. Once I found out about how destructive they were to bluebirds down came the wren house. I haven't seen many house wrens since. We do have a lot of Carolina wrens but I don't think they are dangerous. They really like to nest in my garage so all spring I have to keep the garage door open after I discover they've already nested there.

I do monitor the boxes pretty frequently, maybe too much for the birds liking, but I'm vigilant against predators. Ants and wasps can also be a problem. I did get boxes with one plexiglass side with a hinged wood cover so I can check the nests without disturbing too much.
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bird, bird feeder design, bird feeders, birds, bluebird nest boxes, feeding the birds, grrrrr, halo, house, house sparrows, invasive birds, invasive species, invasive species control, non native birds, preventing feeder invasion, protect feeders, sialis, sparrow spookers, sparrows, starlings

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