Should I even bother with a box for my BB if I have HOSP around?

Home Forums Bluebird Chatter Should I even bother with a box for my BB if I have HOSP around?

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  • #3072
    kaiterpup
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    Hi. Just started researching about Bluebirds. I have recently had about 3 blue birds hanging around eating out of my feeders. I live in Indiana and it’s winter, so I’m surprised they are still this far north. Since they keep coming back, I thought I’d get a blue bird house so they can use it to stay warm if they need to. I’m hoping they will possibly make a nest this spring and putting up a feeder with meal worms for them. However, we have a TON of house sparrows that I can’t get rid of (I basically live in the city). I stopped buying seed that attract them and have stuck with sunflower seeds and peanut chips, but they aren’t going anywhere. Especially when other feeders in the neighborhood attract them (I live in one of those neighborhoods where the houses are basically built on top of one another). My question is, should I even put up this bluebird house, or am I just setting them up to be tormented and/ or killed by HOSP if they use it? I glanced on the Sialis site and saw the Sparrow Spookers, but says to put them up AFTER the first BB egg is laid. Is this because the HOSP will get used to it and start coming around again, or is this because the Sparrow Spooker will repel the Bluebirds from using the box if eggs aren’t laid yet? Since it’s not time to nest yet, should I just put up some fishing line so the HOSP don’t use the box? So excited to have them around, but don’t want to set them up to “fail” with the terrible HOSP around. (And I don’t think I can bring myself to kill anything, so I don’t think trapping is an option).

    #3073
    tamsea
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    The “after the first egg is laid” rule is for both reasons,the HOSP might get used to the spooker but mostly the bluebird might be scared away if the spooker is up earlier. The egg bonds her to that box.
    You can successfully experience watching bluebird babies grow with HOSP around but sooner or later you’ll find you have to trap. It could be right away that you run into HOSP wars or it could be 3 years down the road…But it will happen.

    Tammy

    #3076
    dpurdue
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    There are several things you can do to deter hosp from using your feeders but if they are more numerous than all the other birds it’s a losing battle
    Trapping is a great solution
    I went from almost nothing but hosp almost back to normal in 5 months of trapping with a DRST
    Talk to your neighbors,maybe you can find an ally who will help you with disposal
    Good Luck
    Darrell in KC

    #3077
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Darrell, I totally agree with Tammy & Darrell – if you put up the box you must be willing to try to eliminate the HOSP. BUT, don’t let that scare you out of being able to enjoy the nesting season of the bluebirds by watching them build a nest, then the 1st egg being hatched, and the parents feeding the babies, and then those babies flying away like “big birds.” AND then later on to watch them “return home” after they are eating on their own (that is, if you feed them mealworms). There is nothing more satisfying than having this experience, ALMOST as exciting as watching your children grow up! If you are unsure about trapping at first, you need to begin with removing the HOSP nests and by using a sparrow spooker if you do get bluebird eggs. But, if you really want to have success, you will need to trap/dispose of the HOSP. Like Tammy said you may get by for a while, but it will eventually happen if you don’t take precautions. Good luck!

    #3149
    kaiterpup
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    Thanks for the feedback! The bluebirds have been eating dried mealworms I put out. Do you think if I took the other feeders down with the seed in the backyard it would help? I know it’s too early to nest, but this morning I saw both the male and female going in and out of the box several times. Going to put up fishing line today, and ask if one of my brothers would be able to dispose of the HOSP if I can get a trap.

    #3150
    dpurdue
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    • Topics started 8
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    There are some tricks to keep most of the hosp off the feeders
    Any feeders with a platform are a sparrow favorite-get rid of them!
    I cut down the narrow perches on my tube feeder to 1 1/4 inches and added some fishing line and I rarely see a hosp feeding successfully
    A clingers only feeder is not quite as effective but does deter most of them
    You can experiment with wire coat hangers or pipe cleaners on the feeder-anything that interrupts their flight path to the food or perch
    There is a very effective homemade box trap on YouTube that you can make for about $20
    A drst is about $75 after shipping but worth every penny in my opinion
    Lots of good hosp info at sialis.org
    Keep us posted! Good Luck 🍀
    Darrell in KC

    #3167
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Some people stop.feeding their other birds while bluebirds are nesting. Several on here do that. But I don’t and don’t seem to have issues. It would discourage HOSP from your backyard though but you’d have to give up your other birds.

    Tammy

    #3169
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    I for one do take my seed feeder down during the summer, and I still have plenty of birds around, at least as many as I want. My time & efforts are put into my bluebirds (& TRES and possibly BCCH this year) and keeping HOSP out of their nests. I would have tons more HOSP if I continued feeding the BOSS, which they are supposed not to like!

    #3196
    phillyblues
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    Invest in a bb gun.

    #3337
    Perry R
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    I used to live in suburban Fort Wayne. My first year or two went fine, no HOSP problems.

    I didn’t think I would want to kill the little brown birdies, until I saw one dragging the dead bluebird babies out of the house and dropping them on the ground. That sort of thing changes your attitude in a hurry.

    #3360
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Perry, that would be horrible to witness, but I know many have. Thank goodness I have not had to because I began fighting off the HOSP the very first year, and yes, I did not want to harm any little, cute brown bird. UNTIL I saw pictures of how they do things. We must not let them take over our own little bluebird territory if at all possible. No, we can’t fight the whole world, but we do not have to let them populate right on our own property, where we have invited the nice, native birds. “It takes a Nation.”

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