August 19, 2017 at 11:01 am #6010
We’ve had our first bluebird nesting season. It’s been exciting. But this is all new to me. I studied prior to putting up the houses, including learning about HOSP. My neighbor has a giant arborvitae privacy hedge, aka B&B to HOSP. It’s alive with HOSP chirping!! I knew HOSP might present a problem, so I ordered the DRST and started using it July 2. (Tammy, btw, your posts about catching HOSP inspired me to persevere and chant “I can do this.” Thank you!)
I had good results quickly, and new neighbors arrived who put out cheap birdseed. The small flock of HOSP grew exponentially overnight. But I persevered with the DRST and have reduced that nerve-wracking HOSP chirping (worse than fingernails on a blackboard to me!). A few weeks ago, the flock grew again, as I spotted 25 new HOSP in our and neighboring yards. I caught those at record pace–9 a day! Must have been the juveniles, altho’ I have no clue where these guys are coming from. We’re in a rural area, just outside town proper, and there’s a farm up over the hill. I’m wondering if HOSP live in cornfields??
Through today, I’ve reduced the HOSP population by 118. My question is this: This week I’ve caught just 1 HOSP. I’m ready to pack up the trap for awhile and take a break. Is that wise? I plan to monitor a few more days, but I would love a break. (I cover the trap with a tarp during rainstorms and also nightly due to wildlife–that’s the part I’m weary of–one more daily chore.) I’ve read on the threads some clues about HOSP cycles and feel like I’ve whittled the flock down a bit, but don’t want to lose ground. Any insight would be appreciated! Thank you!!August 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm #6013
Just wanted to share an update. Today about noon I looked out and saw 4 HOSP–1 male, 1 adult female, and what appears to be 2 smaller females. They were picking thru the straw in the veggie garden (where trap is located). I can hear one plaintively chirping now in the tree outside, so I suspect I’ve caught some. Looks like I might have answered my own question! But I’d still love any insights anyone might have. Do they slow down in fall? Are they done breeding? I need to do more research. Heading out to check on the trap & mow…August 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm #6017
This is my first summer with the trap, but I’ve been getting a constant dribble of HOSP. I figure I’ll trap up until we start getting snow, and then pull it for the winter.August 27, 2017 at 1:56 pm #6018
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I was feeling kind of alone in this question. I think I am going to do the same now. This past week, I caught 6 total: 4 on Sun., then 1 each on Tues and Fri. It’s a dribble, but I feel like anything to weaken the population is good. I read on a purple martin blog that researchers suggest trapping in early spring. The reason is that winter kills off much of the HOSP population, then those that are left are more or less starving by early spring. They’ll enter the trap more readily with greater hunger. The 2nd time to trap is mid to late summer, when the young ones are about. The person who shared this said “that’s what the research folks say, but I just keep trapping and usually get a few.” I noticed another batch of them arrived this week–maybe 5 or so. I’ve decided I’ll keep the trap out as long as they keep showing up and going into it.August 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm #6019
Well, I caught 2 mice yesterday and two more today. Seriously, mice. Adorable too. But they went the way of the HOSP since a couple fewer mice to try to invade my house for the winter is a good thing.
Trapping may work best during those periods, the concept makes sense, but I figure any I remove from the gene pool is worth it.September 6, 2017 at 8:20 am #6021
I laughed when I read about the mice! Then I noticed that under my trap, a few tunnels have appeared. I have mine sitting in the veggie garden, atop a bed of straw (I straw my paths). There are distinct tunnels thru the straw, where critters are clearly tunneling to eat the spilled seed from inside the trap! Probably voles, since the yard seems to be full of them. What a hoot! I can’t imagine seeing mice in the trap. That’s funny. I’m impressed with your wherewithal to deal with them!
Btw in the last 2 weeks I’ve only caught 2 HOSP, but the others remain lively, so I’ll keep going. I agree with you–winnowing the gene pool is A-OK!September 18, 2017 at 1:26 pm #6025stumpy75Participant
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I have not had my traps out all summer because I had been gone so much, so I put the two of them back out a week ago. Up until yesterday, I had only caught two. Then the flood gates opened…
Yesterday and so far today(1pm), I have caught 31 HOSPs! And I see several more in the past 1/2 hour.
I’m using white millet in the traps, and have nothing in my feeders right now, so that’s the only feed available for them.
I usually trap until the 1st snow, and then even after that. I did real well a few years ago even with a light snow cover. Of course, I had to keep them off the ground once the juncos come back, but I still get HOSPs even in the dead of winter. I don’t try to keep a decoy in the winter though, because it’s just too much work. Two years ago, from mid-August to the end of January, I trapped about 350, most of them before Thanksgiving.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by stumpy75.
Toledo, OhioSeptember 19, 2017 at 10:11 am #6027
Chris, thank you for weighing in. Your HOSP numbers are astonishing! In in the last 2 weeks, I’ve caught 5, and the decoys seem healthy, so I’ll keep going for now. I have a new small flock of HOSP in the yard, mostly males. I’m not catching them yet, though. I don’t even see them at the trap. I’m using a finch mix that’s 90% millet, white bread and have little other food available in the feeders (just some leftover safflower). My neighbors still have out their cheap seed, but there are not HOSP back there. It’s nice to be making a dent.
Thanks for sharing your strategies! It helps. I need to get a big board so I can set my trap above ground. I don’t have anything like that to use. Thanks, Chris!October 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm #6035Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Wow, Chris – keep up the good work on those HOSP! I just seem to catch too many natives, plus I am not overrun with HOSP but sure have more than I want.March 19, 2018 at 12:15 am #6145BetsyParticipant
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Question on the DRST – I’ve had my trap now for many years, and somewhere along the way the instructions got lost. Just hauled the trap out for spring sparrow-capturing, and noticed that the see-saw arm isn’t dropping fast enough when the sparrows hop on, so they escape before being trapped. I vaguely remember something about moving the bolts on the other end of the seesaw to adjust, and using quarters to simulate the weight of a sparrow to test it out. Does anyone remember exactly what to do to adjust the arm, and how to test to make sure it’s adjusted properly?
Thanks a bunch,
BetsyApril 2, 2018 at 9:41 am #6172
Sorry,I’ve been out of town. You use two quarters taped together. Put it on the arm and there should be a quick drop without much of any bounce. And yes, you adjust by moving the bolts.
TammyApril 2, 2018 at 9:42 am #6173
I can send you a copy of the directions by email if you want.
TammyAugust 27, 2018 at 11:29 am #6919WCParticipant
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Hello from southwest Idaho. I have been reading all the posts on this forum, and the old DRST forum, and have picked up valuable tips.
I purchased a trap from Blaine a couple weeks ago and have been catching juvenile HOSP.
In addition to the 35 birds I caught two garter snakes. The last snake ate one of my decoy birds and was unable to exit through the hardware cloth cage because of the lump in him. Anyone else ever catch a snake? We never saw them here until the caged birds attracted them, and we spend a lot of time in the yard and garden.
Best wishes to you all.
WaltAugust 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm #6921
Hey,Walt. I’m glad you finally were able to get on here. I hope you have some feedback The Forum is kind of slow this month. It’s busier during Bluebird season.
TammyMay 17, 2019 at 4:21 pm #7227
Ok, looking for some input. I’ve not had much problems prior to this year with other birds in the trap. A couple other sparrows is it. Early this spring all the sudden we had a mad influx of Song Sparrows in the trap, thinking it was the location where the trap was, we moved it (it was near a brush pile that the Song Sparrows love). And that stopped the influx of Song Sparrows. But in the last month I’ve rescued several White Crowned Sparrows, a male Cowbird, a Downy Woodpecker, yesterday my husband rescued a “kinda looked like a Goldfinch but the beak was wrong”, and today I had two female Baltimore Orioles in it! I’m still catching HOSP, but I’m at a loss as to why such a variety of other birds are so suddenly climbing into the trap.
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