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Old 07-21-2012, 06:22 AM   #31
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I don't even try to put up bluebird houses in my area. We don't feed birds anymore either, there's just too many of them. To help change that I may get a feeder guard, magic halo, and see if that works. Wild birds unlimited, a feed store, sells them for around $40 each. Do you guys know of a cheaper place to buy?.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:09 AM   #32
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$23.00 here:

Bird-X Sparrow Free Magic Halo

That was the first link that I found. I'd be tempted to try to make one.

If you can shoot at your home, I cannot stress enough the effectiveness of a quality air rifle. These are so much fun to shoot, that you will enjoy becoming a great shot with one. Target shooting these fine weapons can get addictive. I get "waves" of HOSP, like most folks do. In spring they are looking for nests. In mid to late summer, they bring young to feeders. in fall, they gather in flocks and feed together through winter. I never allow one to feed at my feeders. As soon as a new HOSP finds my place it can only come back a few times before the inevitable.

I also use it to eliminate brown headed cowbird females. I never had rose breasted grosbeak until I started this program. Now I have several pair every year and their numbers seem to get stronger each year. I'm sure that I am helping many local birds that do not frequent feeders. Because the cowbirds do not breed successfully here, I have fewer return each year.

Managing small areas to provide space for native plants and animals works. Just like pulling queen anne's lace from your wildflower garden makes room for another native plant, removing HOSP and cowbirds reduces the number of native birds that will die. It also provides more available nesting cavities, less feeder competition and a much higher brood success rate. When the number of native birds increases, it creates competition that HOSP don't want to deal with. But, just like there will always be a stand of queen anne's lace, just down the road, we need to weed out the non-native, invasive birds that enter our native bird gardens.

If you cannot shoot, trap. It's just me, but if I had a neighbor that put up five houses, I'd save up and buy a trap every paycheck until I had as many traps as he had houses. I believe that reducing the numbers is important, if they cannot be eliminated. Owls wiped out my bluebird trail this year, but it's 45 miles from home and I can only trap HOSP there. HOSP attempt to nest at my trail every year. I always trap out more than a dozen from nesting pairs. This breaks pairs up and they have to bond with another bird. Once again, if you give the native birds the upper hand, they will drive off some HOSP. Tree swallows and bluebirds will take HOSP to the ground in fights outside housing. They lose trapped inside housing. In most years all of my housing finally ends up populated with only native birds.

I could give up pulling queen anne's lace and a few others. Soon I would have a garden of non-native plants. It's a lot of work, but I prefer to look at native plants, so I pull the others and toss a few ounces of native seeds every fall. I will never get rid of every weed, but I will make an impact and eventually the number of native plants will help me to control the others.

Have fun!

Mark
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:28 PM   #33
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I have to agree with you, Fish, better to make the effort than give up than make no effort at all. My place is just packed with invasives, but I have a lot of natives too, and that encourages yet more natives. It's a constant battle, but one I intend to fight as long as I am physically able!
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:48 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishlkmich View Post
$23.00 here:

Bird-X Sparrow Free Magic Halo

That was the first link that I found. I'd be tempted to try to make one.

If you can shoot at your home, I cannot stress enough the effectiveness of a quality air rifle. These are so much fun to shoot, that you will enjoy becoming a great shot with one. Target shooting these fine weapons can get addictive. I get "waves" of HOSP, like most folks do. In spring they are looking for nests. In mid to late summer, they bring young to feeders. in fall, they gather in flocks and feed together through winter. I never allow one to feed at my feeders. As soon as a new HOSP finds my place it can only come back a few times before the inevitable.

I also use it to eliminate brown headed cowbird females. I never had rose breasted grosbeak until I started this program. Now I have several pair every year and their numbers seem to get stronger each year. I'm sure that I am helping many local birds that do not frequent feeders. Because the cowbirds do not breed successfully here, I have fewer return each year.

Managing small areas to provide space for native plants and animals works. Just like pulling queen anne's lace from your wildflower garden makes room for another native plant, removing HOSP and cowbirds reduces the number of native birds that will die. It also provides more available nesting cavities, less feeder competition and a much higher brood success rate. When the number of native birds increases, it creates competition that HOSP don't want to deal with. But, just like there will always be a stand of queen anne's lace, just down the road, we need to weed out the non-native, invasive birds that enter our native bird gardens.

If you cannot shoot, trap. It's just me, but if I had a neighbor that put up five houses, I'd save up and buy a trap every paycheck until I had as many traps as he had houses. I believe that reducing the numbers is important, if they cannot be eliminated. Owls wiped out my bluebird trail this year, but it's 45 miles from home and I can only trap HOSP there. HOSP attempt to nest at my trail every year. I always trap out more than a dozen from nesting pairs. This breaks pairs up and they have to bond with another bird. Once again, if you give the native birds the upper hand, they will drive off some HOSP. Tree swallows and bluebirds will take HOSP to the ground in fights outside housing. They lose trapped inside housing. In most years all of my housing finally ends up populated with only native birds.

I could give up pulling queen anne's lace and a few others. Soon I would have a garden of non-native plants. It's a lot of work, but I prefer to look at native plants, so I pull the others and toss a few ounces of native seeds every fall. I will never get rid of every weed, but I will make an impact and eventually the number of native plants will help me to control the others.

Have fun!

Mark
Okay, talked me into it. The trap is up and baited. I have no hopes of wiping out the Hosp population, but it is true I can dent it severely. We shall see.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:19 AM   #35
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I dont like those birds either. Maybe they should be used in catfood. For indoor pet cats, that is.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:37 AM   #36
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Some wild animal rehab centers will take trapped (not shot - lead) HOSP to feed the critters. These "donations" can help folks who want to do more than just help our native birds by removing HOSP.

Good to hear that I could guilt you back into trapping, Jack! I do believe that the comparison is valid. Don't you see a difference in the numbers when you have been actively trapping? I shot one here a couple of weeks ago. I used to see it almost every day. This winter the large flock will reunite. It starts out large, but gets smaller and smaller all winter long.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishlkmich View Post
Some wild animal rehab centers will take trapped (not shot - lead) HOSP to feed the critters. These "donations" can help folks who want to do more than just help our native birds by removing HOSP.

Good to hear that I could guilt you back into trapping, Jack! I do believe that the comparison is valid. Don't you see a difference in the numbers when you have been actively trapping? I shot one here a couple of weeks ago. I used to see it almost every day. This winter the large flock will reunite. It starts out large, but gets smaller and smaller all winter long.
Ha ha! There's no question that I am able to diminish the HOSP numbers, but I don't feel I'll ever be confident with putting up swallow or bluebird size birdhouses; there are simply too many sparrows now in the neighborhood. What caught my attention in your post were the facts that bluebirds will take down a HOSP outside of the nest, and that you saw a rose breasted grosbeak now that you have severely reduced the HOSP population.

Now, if I could only trap my neighbor in one of these HOSP traps...
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:44 AM   #38
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I'm still religiously trapping and no chance I can use any of the bluebird houses I've got but.... I do it because each HOSP or EUST I get in my traps is PERMANENTLY removed from the breeding population and all of us together.... CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.... we can. Believe!!!! Even if our actions are only responsible for saving a few cavity nesters from death each year.... that's a few more screech owls and wood ducks and bluebirds given a chance they wouldn't have otherwise had if we'd done nothing. Paleeease humanely destroy these English house sparrows and European starlings using any method you've got available to you and don't throw in the towel just because you can't see any tangible benefits with your own 2 eyes.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:46 PM   #39
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Yesterday we had some birders come over to try and see a bird we had here earlier. Not knowing how they felt about trapping, I meant to put away the HOSP trap. Alas, I forgot. But I need not have worried. They asked us how many we have dispatched, so I gave out the numbers.

My husband was a little slow getting the HOSP nesting box trap made and put up, so it was set up too late. The other day there were EUST checking it out. I am yelling at the birds that they are at the wrong trap!! The hole was too small for them. Sigh...

I ended up dealing with several HOSP myself last week. I am fine as long as I don't look at their eyes when I take them out of the trap. We like taking care of them ASAP in this heat, I couldn't wait for my husband to get home. I am so glad I put on those thick garden gloves. There was one in the bunch who we could tell was feisty and when I finally got a hold of that juvenile male-he tried biting me! Glad he won't be in the mix during breeding season next year.

I think you know I use that repeating feeder trap. Not too many natives have gotten in it lately. I think the House Finches and Chippings have learned. But last week we had a Brown Thrasher and boy, it lived up to it's name. I didn't know how to calm it and it was bouncing all over the place avoiding the opening for the longest time. Then today we had a House Wren and a squinney (ground squirrel) in at the same time! That was about an hour or two after I last noticed the trap. We've never seen a House Wren interested in our food, so it might have been a curious juvenile? We've had squinneys before, silly things.

Last edited by Birding Bunch; 08-01-2012 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Typo and poor grammar
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #40
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I used to pick up our traps and hide em in the shed when we were having company or when I knew the kids were having friends over. I don't anymore. I've got too much sweat equity into the natural areas of my property to care if anyone's offended that we're trapping those birds and destroying them. Actually.... if anyone should be offended.... it should be us because there's more than enough information available online for folk to learn the truth about these species yet.... most folk don't bother educating themselves. They do zip nadda nothing to help restore balance in their own yards which creates more work for us.
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bird, bird house, birdhouse, birds, bluebird house, bluebirds, english, hosp, house, house sparrow, invasive birds, invasive species, managing, sparrow, sparrow spooker, sparrow trap, sparrows, trap, use for raptor rehabilitators

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