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Old 11-02-2010, 08:01 AM   #51
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Here we are, nearly eight months later - and I am done. They are overrunning the feeders again and I saw one chase off a chickadee yesterday. So that is it.

I don't have a lot of 'free cash' so I am looking to build my own trap. I am not a carpenter, so illustrations would help. I would imagine that a trap designed around a nesting cavity wouldn't work right now - is that true? Do the little demons look to move in to holes even now?

Please let me know as I have now found something new to turn my anger towards after I had to stop killing honeysuckle from a horrific poison ivy infection.

I want them off of my property and off of my feeders *now*.

Thanks
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:16 AM   #52
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You could try tacking a few strands of mono filament fishing line from the top of your feeders and houses....Something about their eyesight that detours them from it.

Removing perches is another option as they prefer to feed by scratching about with their beaks.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #53
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Unfortunately tried that, and it failed. My feeders don't have perches either. One way or another, I'm going to trap and dispose of them.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:05 PM   #54
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...Yeeeaaarrrs ago... on the farm, we used a trap like this: Picture a cube covered with screen on all sides (actually, longer than wide, whatever that shape is called in three dimensions). On one side the screen is shaped into a cone with the opening of the cone centered inside the cube. The opening is about the size of a sparrow. Place the cube so the cone is horizontal (i.e. on one side, not on the top), and place seed in a dish or tray on the 'floor'. Sparrows will find the cone opening from outside, but not from inside.

I believe I recall catching some other birds, which of course were let go. I don't remember how it opened so that we could actually grab the victims. I've just sent off an email to my brother about it; he likes to be prodded for these memories.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:06 PM   #55
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I recall using those to capture live sparrows for snake food.
They worked quite well. I wonder about the stress it causes to a bird that you would want to release...

I suppose there is no sure way to capture one species and not the next...unless there would be more of a size difference to sort them...
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:48 AM   #56
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Tim,

If you are ready to trap, I will give you any tips that you need in order to be effective at removing HOSP. I even have a spare repeating trap that I will give you if you are serious about this. I have been at war with these things for decades! Consider putting up a couple of bluebird boxes if you don't have any. Get a couple of these (cheap and effective!):
Universal Sparrow Trap
Whenever you are able to monitor the bluebird boxes, set these traps and they will produce results - I promise! I'm assuming that an air rifle is not in the cards. The repeating trap that I have catches over 100 HOSP every year for a friend of mine. I shoot at home, but trap at my bluebird trail. An old purple martin house can be a great tool for catching HOSP. If you can find an old used aluminum martin house that's cheap, grab it and we will make it into a your best trap. If you have any questions I will be happy to help. Good luck and let me know how you want to proceed.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:01 AM   #57
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Oh I am very serious about it; and I think my wife finally understands this. I don't actively go around killing things but I have experience disposing of mice when I once kept snakes. So killing them won't be an issue for me.

I would love to put up bluebird boxes, but I don't have the habitat for them, I think. I live smack dab in the middle of suburbia. One house right next to the other. Not a lot of open space.

Air rifles are out of the question, yes.

I'll gladly borrow the trap, and will pay for you to ship it to me. My only concern is that I will trap white throats and juncos as well and then having to get them out safely. But I'm hoping that using white bread as bait will help them to ignore what I am trying to do.

My other concern is that this will be a long, drawn out affair. Down the street from us is a massive row of conifers and it has become a brothel for the demons; every time I drive past it the amount of house sparrows flitting around is staggering.

But I'm ready to do this. My chickadees, finches and others want to feed on these cold days and I've had it with the house sparrows. Period.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:19 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benj1 View Post
I believe I recall catching some other birds, which of course were let go. I don't remember how it opened so that we could actually grab the victims. I've just sent off an email to my brother about it; he likes to be prodded for these memories.
Thanks for the post benj1; I'm wondering if using white bread will help keep the native sparrows disinterested. I think I read that tip on sialis.org
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:22 PM   #59
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"Oh I am very serious about it; and I think my wife finally understands this." I wish more people were serious about destroying them and.... I wish more people could see with their own eyes what they do to other birds because then I think more would start understanding what's really going on. I went to the pharmacy and across the street is this old bar that isn't all that well maintained. I've been watching a flurry of activity around the bar all last spring and this summer and never did make time to do a drive by. I did last week. The activity was about 50 house sparrows still raising young this late into the season using every crack and crevice for nests. Incredible. I took those photos Halloween weekend and they were still looking for food for their fledglings. They love those houses that have the c shaped tile roofs.... they can fledge thousands from those styles of tiles. How can our native cavity nesters compete with birds that start reproducing earlier then keep on reproducing into November.... they can't.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:34 AM   #60
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Hello, all. I'm late to the thread. I just wandered across it, and WG, late last night. I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences.

I love birds, and I decided to change my gardening to make my yard as bird-friendly as possible. I want to get the NWF certification. As I worked toward that, I read an incredible book, Birdscaping in the Midwest, and it really changed how I looked at things. I had been moving to natives in my garden (hence my name here), but this book really made it clear how crucial this is. I continued to read and read elsewhere, and as I did, I came to see how destructive the house sparrows and starlings are, and how they will make my efforts to help native birds less effective.

I started putting out feeders last year for the first time. I didn't use the cheap crap but that didn't bother the starlings and the sparrows. The starlings actually ended up being the worst. And boy do they love suet! I think the were probably more of a problem last year than they would be in a normal year. We had record snowfalls, and I noticed they were much more obnoxious when there was snow covering the ground.

At any rate, after a lot of agonizing, I ordered the Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap. I continued to agonize while I waited for it and even when I set it up. But that was nothing to when I caught my first birds. I'd read the people who said, "I just put the birds in a plastic bag and shoot a bit of engine starter in there." Well, maybe that worked for them, but it sure didn't work for me. I thought that was the only way I'd be able to bring myself to kill an animal. And it didn't work! First of all, the merest whiff of the starter made my husband sick for a day (severe headache and nausea). Secondly, it didn't kill the starlings! For hours they'd sit in that darn bag even with repeated shots of the starter fluid. I worried that when they died it was eventually because they froze to death, not because of the starter fluid.

So I had a choice: I could quit catching the birds, or I could figure out another way. I actually called my dad to see if he'd shoot them for me. But I felt silly doing that and, really, I couldn't expect him to come over every time I caught a couple birds. So, I contacted Bet at Sialis. She was great and took time via e-mail to answer my concerns and share her experiences with me.

I ended up deciding that I did want to continue trapping the house sparrows and starlings and I knew I was going to have to find it within myself to dispatch the birds if I did. The local animal rehabilitation center wouldn't take them and, in fact, lectured me on being irresponsible. That saddened and annoyed me. I decided to take Bet's advice and try what I call the "whack 'em" approach. I couldn't imagine breaking their necks with my hands, so the next best thing was for them to meet the ground at a high rate of speed. This is done by the bird being in a bag and then windmilling your arm a time or two before slamming the bag into the ground. It's instantaneous with sparrows and most starlings, although I'll admit the sparrows are easier.

It's a good thing I decided to do it. Between January 3 and and February 18, I caught 350 starlings. 350! I couldn't believe it. I still can't. I read that they take up to 50% of red-bellied woodpecker nesting cavities, so I'm looking forward to a surge in red-bellieds visiting my peanut feeder in the coming years! I also caught 18 house sparrows.

I put the trap away during the summer because I wasn't getting any interest from the birds. When I resumed feeding with my feeders at the beginning of the month, I put my trap back out. So far, I've caught 33 sparrows. Here's the thing: I didn't think there were that many around. And yet I've seen a handful more that haven't been trapped. There are likely many more of these birds around you than you are aware. The starlings haven't started encroaching yet, although I did see my first one in the yard yesterday, but I do expect they'll turn up when the ground freezes or we get snowfall.

Do I enjoy killing those birds? No! And do I feel like I have to do it on the sly because people wouldn't understand? Yes. Even my mother is bothered by it. Fortunately, my husband and kids (8 and 11) understand. I hate doing it, but I hate more knowing what those two species do when allowed to reproduce unchecked. And when I go outside and see nothing but the native birds and hear their songs in large numbers, I feel good. When I saw all the native fledglings last summer, I felt really good.

It's not a choice everyone can make but I believe strongly that it's the best choice of all the options. People who say we can't get rid of all the starlings in America are wrong. We could. It wouldn't take more than a dozen years if maybe 25% of us trapped and killed them. I do what I can toward that by keeping my own 1/2 acre suburban yard as free of them as possible.
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