April 16, 2017 at 10:55 am #3730
Okay, so I posted a few days ago about a tree swallow problem, but now the plot thickens. All winter, my bluebirds have stayed around. A beautiful male and female claimed the bluebird house that I moved farther away from my house last fall. I imagine that the birdhouse is about 40-50 feet from the back of my house. Then, last weekend as they were building their nest, the tree swallows started to harass them. I bought another house with a nice wide base and paired it on the same post as the bluebird house. At first, the bluebirds were checking it out, but they opted to stay with the house where they already started their nest. The swallows were very inquisitive and started hovering around both houses. I was so excited when the swallows started really taking an interest in the new house.
Then, yesterday, out of nowhere, I noticed that the bluebirds had disappeared. Instead, a pair of house sparrows had taken over their house! The stupid house sparrows are nasty. I tried to shoot the male with a BB gun when he came back to the house, but haven’t been lucky yet. My poor male bluebird sat on the fence and watched this morning as the sparrows went into his house! I know I have to get rid of the sparrows. I am fearful that they may have already hurt the mother bluebird. I haven’t seen her at all since yesterday morning.
I am so disappointed. I moved my bluebird house to guard against this problem, and I seemed to have better luck last year when my bluebird house was attached to a fence 12 feet off of my deck.
Once I have disposed of the sparrows, do you think my bluebirds will return? There are so many thousands of sparrows around here that I am afraid another pair will just replace the ones I am getting rid of. Trapping sparrows around here would be like counting grains of sand. Usually, they stay in the front of the house, but they have discovered my bluebirds, and now they are just squatters.
PennsylvaniaApril 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm #3748dogsandbirdsModerator
You did the right thing by moving the box off the fence. The HOSP problem is just a coincidence.
If you didn’t find a dead female in the box she wasn’t killed outside it by HOSP. The EABL always wins in a fight out in the open.
Do you have a Van Ert trap? It sounds like you need one. https://www.vanerttraps.com/
Atlanta, GAApril 17, 2017 at 8:18 pm #3756
I’m happy to hear that about the female bird. I still haven’t seen her. I saw the male bluebird on the house at dawn, but he left as soon as the sparrows showed up. I cleaned the box out before I left for work today. When I got home, the sparrows had it jammed with straw, so I cleared it out again. No I do not have a HOSP trap. I know I have to do something quickly to protect the tree swallows and bluebirds.
PennsylvaniaApril 18, 2017 at 10:28 am #3777DanaParticipant
One year I bought a toy snake that looked pretty realistic and positioned it so it’s head was looking out the entrance hole of the nestbox. It scared the hell out of the HOSP and they never returned. It was a chance I took. At the time there were no bluebirds in sight and the HOSP pair had taken over the box. I don’t recommend this as this could very well scare off the bluebirds too. I watched from a distance with binoculars and then removed the toy snake from the nestbox once the HOSP were gone. A few days later the bluebirds showed up and had a successful nesting!April 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm #3788David in Stafford,VAParticipant
That is an ingenious idea Dana. I haven’t had HOSP problems but have a few wrens that make life interesting I am going to look for a “snake” to have just in case I need it.
Stafford, VAApril 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm #3829
Dana: Thank you so much for this suggestion! I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I teach school for a living and this time of the year is CRAZY, so I didn’t check the forum. I am off all weekend, so I can give this a try and have plenty of time to monitor the house and make sure I don’t scare my blues. Honestly, I haven’t seen any blues for about three days. There are tree swallows checking out the second house that I paired with the bluebird house, but no blues. I have emptied sparrow nests out of the house every day this week. I am off to buy a snake!
PennsylvaniaApril 22, 2017 at 1:16 pm #3837DanaParticipant
David and Susan:
You’re welcome! Hope it works for you as well! Just be careful and keep a watchful eye on the nestbox with the toy snake in there, you don’t want to scare the bluebirds if they come back. I only placed the snake in there when I saw the HOSPS at the box. BTW, I got the toy snake from Toys ‘R’ Us. It’s the rubbery kind of toy snake that looks real. The HOSPS don’t know the difference. Good luck!April 25, 2017 at 7:28 pm #3872tamseaModerator
Susan, removing the nests of HOSP doesn’t really help because they will build over and over and over again. You need to get a Van Ert trap. It’s a little under $10 and is invaluable. You leave the HOSP nest in and then put the trap in. It will trip when the HOSP goes in. I then put that bird in my repeating trap as a decoy where I catch more.
TammyApril 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm #3873
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