HOSP killed male BB

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      I have never seen HOSP in my yard prior to this year (semi-rural area, well on the outskirts of town). Today I saw male and female HOSP at my feeder (I only feed high quality seed, no filler at all). The resident BB pair has been in the area for weeks, but only just earlier this morning did I see them clearly claiming the nest box and nest building. I saw a HOSP fly into the box and knew something was wrong. I ran out there and found the male BB dead, with his head pecked bare and bloody.

      I cried all day. Ordered a Van Ert trap which is coming tomorrow. My veterinarian friend told me I could euthanize by attaching the bag with bird to my car exhaust pipe. I never thought I’d have the backbone to dispatch a HOSP, but it’s all I can think about now. The female BB was calling all day, which broke my heart.

      Thanks everyone for listening! I know this group understands what this feels like.

      Carol – Mid-Mo.

        Oh, Serena, I am SO sorry to hear your story! We all know this is a possibility and is why we try to trap them to avoid having new HOSP babies. It would be SO SAD to find what you did in your nestbox. There are pictures of this happening on our “Bible website” called “Sialis”. http://www.Sialis.org is their website and is just full of useful information. I would be weeping all day like you did if this happened to me. We all learn by mistakes.
        P.S. I believe a hard, quick rap on something will humanely dispose of the HOSP – I personally don’t believe the exhaust pipe would be the way to do this. Better luck next time.
        P.S. That VanErt trap does the job when set properly, etc.


          Thank you, Carol!! It all happened so fast. I literally just saw the HOSP yesterday for the first time and wasn’t even sure that’s what they were, it was just a glimpse. I’ve lived here six years and never seen one here before, but I was just reading your and others’ threads about how abundant they are this year. :( I will certainly learn from this and be on my guard now. And after what I saw today, I don’t know if the “hard rap” approach would faze me, I was and am so angry. I know that HOSP are just doing what they have evolved to do…but they aren’t going to again in my yard if I can help it.


            I too feel your pain, as Ive had this happen, like so many others here.
            Something I learned from that was…
            to put up more boxes than you think you need. This gives the hosp more time to select (compete for) a vacant box. This may spare a nesting pair of blues. But also give you time to identify hosp predation and trap them.Otherwise you generally dont know this is occurring until after its too late. And even if you happened to witness an attack in progress- how would you catch the hosp without locking out the bb?
            Since I adopted this I have not had any more bb fatalities.
            Btw- it is against our very nature to terminate a seemingly innocent creature. Only the first hosp termination stings. I just vividly remember that rage of finding my first entire family of bb brutally murdered just as you described. It helps and gets easier. But there’s always a little guilt.

            Rochester, NY



              Chris, thank you so much for your kind words, and advice. They are deeply appreciated.

              The Van Ert trap arrived today and I set it up in the Gilwood box that’d been up in the yard. I am actively monitoring it. I moved this closer to the house to act as a decoy box, and have a Gilbertson box I can use in the old spot. I took down my feeder as well. The HOSP were by looking for the feeder but thus far have not returned to the box. I have also ordered a sparrow spooker for later use (hopefully).

              Today, another pair of BBs was investigating the post and roof of the Gilbertson box (I haven’t attached the box because I don’t want them to get attacked too). They came to investigate the Gilwood box but I shooed them away.

              I have my sights set on that male HOSP and I won’t relent until he is gone. I saw him fly clear across the yard to harass the new male BB who was perched in a tree. I also found a dead female cardinal this morning…who knows if he was responsible, but I feel the HOSP have brought death and destruction to my formerly peaceful backyard!

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