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Old 05-23-2010, 07:28 PM   #21
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Default trapping house sparrows

How, exactly, does one trap these undesirables? I've been afflicted with them since my neighbor put up a purple martin house a few years ago. Though nice people, any bird nesting in these homemade houses they consider great. The builder resents any suggestion that English sparrows are undesirable and detrimental to native species. Hence, when I find them, as I always do, on my property, I'd love to know how to decrease their numbers. Is it legal to destroy them?

Thanks!
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:49 AM   #22
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House sparrows are one of the greatest dangers to our native cavity nesting birds. House sparrows, feral pigeons and European starlings are not native to North America and are not protected by state or federal law. Check local laws. Some communities have introduced laws to protect all birds, good or bad, native or not. I imagine that PETA had something to do with this.

I have an "adult air rifle" that I use on my property. If it is legal to shoot and you enjoy the sport, this is a win - win. Traps are available in a range of sizes and types. Some repeating traps work well if you have large numbers of HOSP to destroy. On my bluebird trail I use an in-box trap:
Universal Sparrow Trap
My trail is on school property, so I must be discreet. These work very well once a nest is established.

This is a good link for information:
Managing House Sparrows
Perhaps your neighbor would believe it if he saw it in print.

Every state wildlife program, every university with an ornithology program and every birding organization, including Audubon, promotes killing HOSP. If you have a specific question on how to do this effectively on your property, I would be happy to help you to fine tune a program!
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:49 PM   #23
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Default Thanks for the info on HOSP traps

I thought I was the only one who resented these birds and the destruction they reap. Indeed, though the local bird watching business owner located a quarter of a mile from my house leads weekly bird watches. He also sells bird houses which almost always end up housing HOSPs. I think much of the problem with English sparrows in the vicinity stem from the sale of these houses to unsuspecting customers who think they are servicing bluebirds and swallows.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:43 PM   #24
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The house sparrow is so common that I have seen bags of bird seed with HOSP images, along with cardinals and other native birds. Many people cannot bring themselves to killing HOSP. I simply ask that folks don't allow them to breed on their property. If everyone did this, including businesses, we could reduce the HOSP population significantly.

HOSP love to live around people. They are at every fast food place, even though they are known to carry a number of diseases transferable to humans. People accept their dirty, messy nests and allow them to breed. Many people who put up bird houses don't know what kind of birds they have and don't care.

I'll do everything that I can for our native birds, for as long as I can. Kids don't seem to have much time for nature these days. It isn't politically correct to kill house sparrows, so even if I tried to teach kids about birds on the school system property, I would probably do more harm than good.

Good trapping!
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:34 AM   #25
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I don't resent the birds.... I just had to make a choice... it was either them or all our cavity nesters. I do resent... no resent isn't a good word.... I'm disgusted by the greedy people that started marketing to birders who don't know any better by adding images of these hard wired killers to bags of their bird seed and to the boxes for their bird houses.... it desensitizes people and makes them think the birds belong. The other problem with these birds is that PETA and groups like them have made people who try to do something about them look like murderers. They've made it pc to allow the death of tens of thousands of screech owls and wood ducks and bluebirds and purple martins and and and and.... blows my mind that we allowed this over the years. Most people don't realize sparrows are just doing what comes naturally to them.... it's a well kept secret that they're hard wired killers... only they're doing it on the wrong continent sooooo.... most backyard birders aren't believers until.... something slaps them smack dab in the face.... something so swift and so strong that they don't have any choice but to begin choosing... choose their native cavity nesters or..... keep wearing rose colored glasses by taking the pc out-of-sight and out-of-mind route. HOSPs won't stop unless we stop them since they're programmed and besides which... there's a whole bunch of people rationalizing out there that one more 'lil HOSP won't make a difference anyway>>>> which is so untrue. Anywho.... I don't have it in me to kill them but.... my husband can kill them. Call it team work I guess. We do a few things to protect our cavity nesters. We have a martin house that is set to the height of a second floor guest bedroom window. My husband can sit in a chair and shoot them when the martin house is up because we haven't had one martin show an interest in the house yet but the house sparrows sure do seem drawn to it. Then we have a bird feeder we fill with the cheap seed. The feeder is outside our kitchen window. He can lay on the counter top and shoot them by resting the air gun on the window sill ledge. He uses a competition laser air gun and can kill one inches away from a native species. I've seen him do it countless times when he has the time. He doesn't have the time lately so I use small chicken feeders to attract them. I fill them with cheap seed and set them out for the HOSPs to get used to. Then I let the feeders run out and set up a repeating trap. English house sparrows can't seem to resist white feathers combined with cheap bird seed. Take a bunch of feathers and poke them down into the ground. Set one of these over the top of your feathers, Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Traps. Read the testimonials.... I can assure you those are real people. We use a brand of repeating trap that's all metal. I'd have to go take a look at the manufacturer on ours but we bought it with the intent of removing any native birds we trapped then dunking the entire trap in a garbage can of water complete with the HOSPs in it.... that's how friends we have do it but some put the whole trap in a big plastic garbage bag and attach it to the end of a car's exhaust. Anywho... back to the trap.... put the chicken feeder with the cheap seed that they're accustomed to inside the repeating trap and set it down over the feathers. That should do you. I couldn't drown anything so my husband uses non lead shot and I put the birds he kills in little ziplock baggies to donate to our raptor rehab center. I store them in our freezer until we have enough to fill a cooler to make it worth our while to drive to the center. Most rehab centers can really use the dead anything as long as long as it's destroyed properly.... a non-lead pellet to a head works. This is the style of chick feeder I use only mine are 1/3rd the length of this one, http://www.strombergschickens.com/images/feeders/SLID_l.jpg. If you're going this route, don't buy the round chick feeders since they won't fit through the door to the repeating trap. For the sake of the HOSPs..... put some water in the trap too in case you aren't able to check it every hour. It's not their fault they're here and they will need food and water until you can destroy them and.... don't set up the trap unless you're going to be home to watch it since these repeating traps work well. You'll get HOSPs and EUSTs in them and you'll lose count by the end of this year. By the way.... in the fall when you seed your lawn and the starlings come in by the hundreds to pick you clean.... you can use an air gun to kill them too. Most raptor centers take both HOSPs and EUSTs. I hope you buy a repeating trap Jack396. I don't know where you live but you're welcome to come by me and I'll share some white feathers with you or... I'd be happy to send you a bag to get you going.
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:19 PM   #26
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Default Thanks for the info on HOSP traps

Thanks folks. I never realized there is actually a business of catching these guys. I do have one concern on that ground trap that is illustrated in the video. Do song sparrows and other native sparrows get caught in there? If they do, how does one get them out without releasing the HOSPs?

I think I'll purchase one of those. BTW. Equilibrium, I live in northern Mass.
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:42 AM   #27
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Ok.... so I guess you won't be driving over by me. Send me your address and I'll make sure you get plenty of feathers. I happen to have a healthy supply of white feathers from buying some feather pillows I thought were down. Oopsie, nobody wants to use those pillows. They'll stick you while you're sleeping. Yup, the ground traps do get desirables every once in a while. No biggie. Stick your hand in and grab them and pull them out. They won't hurt you. Wash your hands really good when you're done and don't touch your hand to your mouth... eye.... nose. Wish I could tell you a HOSP won't ever get away on you but.... you'll lose at least one. Once you lose one, you'll figure out how to get your hand in and out without losing any the next time and.... even if one gets away you'll still be left with a boatload in the trap. I promise you'll get the hang of how to extract the natives the first time a HOSP or a EUST escapes on you. It only happens once. You'll be ok.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:20 PM   #28
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I did a quick nest check after work, on the 3rd. House sparrows destroyed a bluebird nest with four eggs. The bluebirds built a nest on top of the old nest and have five eggs. There are at least 30 tree swallow eggs and about 20 young. The purple martins got busy and I had 127 martin eggs, with more to come. House sparrows are currently not a problem, but I'm not counting on no more problems this year.

I got this shot in my front yard today. It's about 40' up.
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The Bluebird Trail 2010 - CAUTION GRAPHIC!-dsc_0003-1.jpg  
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:45 AM   #29
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RIP Just bought the sparrow trap

After much deliberation, I just ordered the deluxe repeating sparrow trap from Sparrowtraps.net. I should receive it sometime soon. With the sparrows ubiquitous on my property and no chance of tree swallows or bluebirds successfully nesting, I had no other choice.

My big question is, as I will want to destroy the birds I catch, what is the easiest and least cruel way to do so? I'm an old softie when it comes to animals, so I will want the method that is easiest for both me and the target birds. Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:37 AM   #30
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The quickest and easiest way for the bird is cervical dislocation. This is usually difficult for "softies". It is considered humane. CO2 is also considered humane. It can be delivered to the inside of a cooler that the trap fits in by tank, or adding dry ice after the trap is placed inside. You can place the trap inside of an air tight plastic bag and spray engine starting fluid (pure ether) in the bag. They go to sleep and don't wake up. This is not listed as legally humane, but I believe that anyone would consider it so. The easiest way would be to fill up a spare garbage can with water and drop the trap in. Drowning is not considered humane, but death usually occurs as quickly as many other methods and quicker than CO2.

Good luck! It may not be pleasant, but you protect native birds by controlling house sparrows and you can eliminate the majority of them from a small area, which would provide native birds a safe haven.
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