Behavior

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  • #9451
    berkshire
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    We are lucky enough to have a pair of bluebirds nesting on our property. From what we can tell they had an early brood and have recently started the second. Over the last few days we noticed what we think is a sparrow following the male bluebird around. Seems that as soon as the bluebird takes flight the sparrow follows it and looks to be aggressively harrassing him as the male tries to out maneuver it. Then we got thinking maybe it’s one of the young looking for food from the parent. We haven’t seen the male feed it so I’m sticking to a sparrow but my wife thinks it’s one of the young. From some of the pictures we’ve seen online the immature bluebirds kind of looks like a sparrow from afar. We’re definitelty novice birders and appreciate your input.

    Thank you

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by berkshire. Reason: notify
    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by berkshire. Reason: edit
    #9454
    NickNackHummer
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    Welcome to the forum Berkshire. If it’s a baby bluebird it will follow the parent around with its mouth open. The parent will frequently feed it. That doesn’t sound like what is happening.

    House sparrows are very aggressive. I would suggest looking at a lot of pictures and trying to determine if it’s a house sparrow. AllAboutBirds.org is a good place to start.

    Carol
    East Tennessee

    #9458
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Welcome to our forum Berkshire. What Carol from Tennessee says is pretty much on target. You need to verify if this is a House sparrow (HOSP for short) because they can be very destructive to bluebirds and other native birds. They will actually go inside a nest and kill young birds and also trap mother birds who are incubating eggs and kill them and the eggs. http://www.Sialis.org is also a very good site to learn – it is sort of our “Bible” here, but there are other good sites, also. Most people use a sparrow spooker on top of the nestbox where eggs are being laid – this is a devise with bright colored mylar ribbons flying in the wind – keeps sparrow and other birds away, but the parents will accept it AFTER their first egg is laid inside the box. Good luck.

    #9459
    Chris
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    It is interesting that this comes up right now. For the last two days I have noticed a “brown-ish bird” shadowing one of my male blues, especially when he comes to the porch for worms. Today I got a fairly good look at it but only barely long enough to focus on it before she flew off, tailing Mrs blue this time. I’m about 90% sure it is a female HOSP.
    This is particularly troublesome as the Blues have a clutch only days from fledging.
    (This seems to be THE time that the HOSP attack here, coincidence or not?)
    It IS hard to tell for sure as I have noticed so many different birds seem to engage in this chase activity constantly. I’m not sure if this is a territorial practice, or play or what?
    If it turns out to be a Hosp… it could be quite telling. It would make sense that a HOSP would tale its prey and get to know its habits before they ambush attack and destroy it.

    I have also learned this year- about Hosp. I had a Hosp couple take over a Tree Swallow box. Their eggs hatch even while I was monitoring it. Sounds impossible. But it happened. Swallows’ nests are so well covered feathers and such- I couldn’t see the eggs (or even the young) And every time I approached the box the bird would fly away, where it couldn’t be seen ever. Very very elusive. This was my biggest clue. Think about it… all other species hover while we inspect their boxes. Swallows practically attack you doing so! Finally after obsessingly watching that box a male Hosp emerged. The previous day something destroyed all three new Bluebird eggs in one box and two eggs in another tree swallow box.
    The HOSP pair was eliminated and the Blues and Swallows restarted (both in new boxes)

    Chris
    Rochester, NY

    N

    #9460
    phillyblues
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    I swear those things are evil. They seem to have evolved to simply harrass bluebirds. My hosp hotel keeps filling up lately. Up to about 140 for the year.

    #9461
    berkshire
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    Thanks everyone! I’m almost positive it is a HOSP. When I see it happening the two are never close together until the bluebird takes flight. Not sure if there is anything I can do? Definitely will be reading up on these little pests.

    I did get a picture inside the nest and there’s four eggs inside. Haven’t figured out yet how to post pictures.

    #9496
    David in Stafford,VA
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    Good luck with your blues. It would be good if you could eliminate the HOSP some how.

    You need to use a third party site like imgur.com to post the photos. It is very easy to set up a free account and then upload the photos that you want to use. When you want to post a photo you just select the photo that you have uploaded and on the right side of the page, go down to the line that says “BBCode”, click copy, then go back to your post and past the code in your text. it will appear as “(img]https://i.imgur.com/xyxysbcJ.jpg[/img])” in you draft but a photo will appear in the post when you submit it.

    David
    Stafford, VA

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