Bluebirds!

If you remember, last year I decided I’d had enough of the House Sparrows killing the Bluebirds and Bluebird eggs.  We trapped House Sparrows all summer and through the fall till it started snowing.  When the weather started turning nice in the spring we got back out the trap and caught a few more.

It seems to have worked.

 

I think they actually hatched a couple days ago, but yesterday was the first chance I  had to actually check the nest.

They’re not out of the woods yet, my first experience with House Sparrows killing Bluebirds was in 2013 when they killed not only the several day old hatchlings, but also momma Bluebird.  But so far we’ve seen essentially no harassment by the House Sparrows.  They’re definitely around, but they aren’t competing for the nesting box.

In another month or so I’ll start trapping again, should be just about right to catch the first crop of this year’s House Sparrow babies as they venture out on their own.

Along the same lines, a few years ago we put up a Purple Martin box in an attempt to lure them into nesting in the yard as well, I’d love to see a reduction in flying insects.  Unfortunately the House Sparrows claimed it and drove away the Martins every time they showed up to check the box.  The trapping has also fixed that House Sparrow problem.  Only for us to discover another problem…….Starlings.  The Martin house we got has the half circle openings which are supposed to be Starling resistant.  And certainly up until this year I’d seen no sign of Starlings being able to go through them, though I’d seen Starlings checking it out on occasion.  But this spring, with no House Sparrows to guard the house, the Starlings descended.  And proved that those half circle openings are indeed not Starling PROOF.  I attempted to get video showing the Starlings going in and out with nesting materials, but wasn’t able to get close enough.  So we reblocked the holes with paper cups.  So the Starlings pulled the paper cups out.  So we duck taped the cups in place.  So the Starlings pulled the tape lose.  *sigh* Currently the cups are taped in place with multiple pieces of tape.  I’m hoping that in another couple weeks, when I usually start seeing Martins around, I can safely open the house back up without the Starlings trying again……

10 Comments

  1. Comment by threecollie:

    Dontcha just love the folks who blessed this continent with those terrible birds! We have plagues of both as well. Gave up on Bluebird houses long ago but the House Sparrows mess with everything else.

  2. Comment by bogie:

    I must have wussy house sparrows. I had a lot in the spring but they were easily spooked and driven away by the catbirds. Blue Jays and crows just had to make an appearance and they scattered. Heck the cardinals, which aren’t aggressive, seem to make the house sparrows nervous too.

    Starlings are definitely a problem although they obviously rotate in their territory as they show up for 3-4 days, then disappear for about 10 days. I am no longer feeding birds because a rat has decided a brush pile out back is great to hang out in so I cut all feed and I can’t figure out how to make it disappear without risking taking out squirrels or chippies.

  3. Comment by Rain Frances:

    Hi Ruth! 🙂 Oh those sparrows are bullies…the photo of the eggs is gorgeous, I didn’t know they’d be that colour!

    • Comment by Ruth:

      This is what Bluebird eggs are supposed to look like! Though paler blue to white isn’t abnormal. Last year I had really really unusual pink Bluebird eggs! Its part of why I got so mad when the House Sparrows killed them. Scientists THINK that the pink color is actually a lack of calcium, resulting in thinner shells.

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