April 26, 2019 at 9:44 am #7118
I had an awful experience yesterday. I have two sets of paired boxes, one set in the backyard and the other in the front. They all had lots of action with bluebirds, Tres, chickadees and HOSP. Mr. bluebird had chosen the back box, he was hanging out all morning. I didn’t see him in the afternoon so I went out for a box check. The little fella was in the box with injuries to his head, still alive but not moving. I called several nature care places only to get recordings. They did return my calls saying bring him in this morning. Needless to say he did not make it. I’m so sad, he was so beautiful and innocent. Same thing happened to a Tres last season before any nests were started.
My guess is this is the work of HOSP. My thoughts are maybe these birds would have a better chance out on their own with out nesting boxes. This is my second year at this.
Judy-MichiganApril 26, 2019 at 5:29 pm #7120
If you have HOSP around, the best thing that you can do is trap them and get rid of them. There are several suggestions in the “stickies” on this site to assist in this matter. It takes time and some effort on your part, but is is worth it to see the BB not have to worry about the hostile sparrows. I used some “extreme” measures for a few years but now have a clear yard. Haven’t see HOSP unless I go to a gas station or Home Depot.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by David in Stafford,VA.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by David in Stafford,VA.
Stafford, VAApril 26, 2019 at 8:46 pm #7124
Thanks David…….It’s encouraging to know your HOSP population is gone after 2 years of extreme measures. I did read a lot of the stickies on this site and found them very interesting. I do trap the HOSP with the Van Ert trap. They are never allowed to use my bb boxes. I was surprised with this attack….there was no nest started and no female bb yet. The box had not been claim by the HOSP first either. I did see the male bluebird chasing the HOSP away periodically. I thought that was all normal.
Good news is we caught a male HOSP today……yay!!! One less problem.
Judy-MichiganApril 26, 2019 at 9:52 pm #7125
Good for you Judy. Keep up the good work!!!
Stafford, VAApril 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm #7126SassyParticipant
Oh Judy, I can’t tell you how sad your experience makes me feel. I am so sorry this happened to both Mr. and to you. Before getting involved with a bluebird box and sitting and reading articles on the web and joining this group I never realized how nasty and mean a HOSP could be. I just never paid any attention to them. I hope you are able to eradicate every one of them in your area.
I so hope another male shows up and finds a mate and you have no more problems with HOSP.
Connie (PA)April 27, 2019 at 11:05 pm #7131
Judy, I fully agree with Connie. Since this is just your second year you are gaining first hand knowledge of the joys as well as the tribulations of trying to preserve and expand our bluebird populations where ever we are. Like almost every venture, sport, life in general, there are going to be ups and downs. This is definitely a downer, but you have jumped right back in and taken an aggressive step in reducing the problem population of the HOSP. I am glad that you did not give up on this box this early in your second season.
We do hope that another pair will claim this nestbox and reward your efforts with a good nesting.
Stafford, VAApril 28, 2019 at 7:54 pm #7134
David and Connie….Thank you for the positive notes and giving me hope for future success. I’m almost afraid to open the boxes to check, I have the vision of the cute little fella injured in my head. That’s why I’m able to move forward, his death was a hard lesson for me. I’ve ordered the DRST!!! I would love to have the bluebirds be able to nest in peace. This group has been very helpful for me…I really enjoy reading the posts. Thank you all.
Judy-MichiganMay 1, 2019 at 11:37 pm #7141phillybluesParticipant
Sucks!!! Been there. I have a sparrow cage trap. I put a little bluetooth speaker near it and a bird house front piece over the hole ro make it look attractive…then…. I play the hosp noises, chirps on a loop to attract them in. Fills up quick.May 2, 2019 at 10:49 am #7148
Thanks phillyblues for the trap tip that’s a great idea. My DRST came yesterday. Went to get the white millet for bait. Hoping not to attract my other birds. I have TRES hanging out at both sets of paired boxes. My plan is to get TRES in a box and bluebirds in the other. I’ve read the success rate is better for the blues with the TRES near.
Judy-MichiganMay 4, 2019 at 1:44 pm #7169Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
I’s a little late on this post, but yeah for you, Judy. I was unaware like you were when I started about 11 years ago, but soon learned about them. Actually I have never had the experience you just had but have quite a few HOSP around and do trap them. Actually about a week ago I trapped both the male and female in the same box at the same time – oh, was I joyful! Apparently the VanErt trap did not trip quickly and one followed the other in and it went off. This is about the 3rd time this has happened – catching two at the same time. I also use the sparrow spooker and wren guard faithfully – I have had more problems with wrens tossing & piercing the eggs out. Even with trapping I still have quite a few HOSP, but this year doesn’t seem quite as bad. After I got rid of that one pair I have not had many, if any, HOSP show up. Of course, I had trapped about 3 or 4 prior to the pair at once.May 4, 2019 at 10:45 pm #7170
Carol…..It was your lucky day catching 2 HOSP at the same time!!! We’ve trapped 5 in the bb boxes so far. Good news as of today, I have a pair of TRES building a nest in back set of paired boxes. This evening I saw 4 bluebirds looking at the other box. Also TRES and bluebirds looking at the front set of paired boxes. Maybe this will turn out to be a really good season. I have read that bluebirds have a better chance for success when boxes are paired with TRES. They can help each other keep the HOSP away. I have my fingers crossed.
Judy-MichiganMay 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm #7171
Good news from both of you, Carol and Judy.
– Judy – it is good to see that your active “mitigation” of HOSP activity is paying off for you. I know that it is a bit more work than just caring for the bluebirds and tree swallows, but it is worth it to see them thrive without bother from the HOSP.
– Carol, it was worth this visit to the forum to see your note about the 2fer trapping. That is the first time that I have heard of anyone getting 2 in a single box. Congratulations.
Stafford, VAMay 15, 2019 at 10:04 am #7213CountrygirlParticipant
Judy you’re probably one of the people geographically closer to me than the others on this site (I can drive to michigan in about 4 hours.)
Your experience is almost exactly what mine is. when I started – I had to do HOSP control and was like “ugh I hate this.” so I did mostly passive stuff. I got blues and TRES in paired boxes. on my second year – early in the season, HOSPS attacked and killed the male BB in my first ever box. I was so heartbroken, but this lit a fire in me -a justification of sorts I guess – for HOSP control which I still kind of hate.. but I remember what they do and that makes it a little easier.
From that summer I used my VanERT faithfully – I believe I disposed of 7 sparrows.. and I bought the DRST – I also always keep in mind that its not just about THOSE sparrows, but the number of offspring that they would have produced in a year.. that also makes active sparrow control a little easier as I think about “cleaning house.”
I started with my DRST at my parents as I moved , and my mom wanted to try this stuff – again, in the first summer I had a huge population drop and probably disposed of 12-14 sparrows (we are surrounded by farms and lots of junk food.)
the following summer we fledged BLUES AND TRES successfully, and had a couple of years where only minor issues with HOSPS. Your efforts are NOT wasted. :)
I’m back on the more active side of sparrow control this season (mostly because I got a little lazy about it)
I started last week and have trapped 3 males and a 1 female.
Keep on truckin’ girl you got this!!!May 15, 2019 at 5:31 pm #7216
Thank to everyone for the support and encouragement!!! It’s very helpful knowing others are having some of the same issues. I have to laugh……I thought it was going to be easy…put up a BB box and they will come. NOT. Wowza, it’s a lot of work!
Today the weather has changed for the better. The rain has stopped, it getting warmer and the sun is shining…yay. Update on my boxes. The back yard paired boxes, one has a nest started by TRES, taken over by bluebirds. No eggs yet. The TRES are still coming around and hanging out, but have not started another nest in the empty box. It looks to me the Bluebirds are going to be the winners of box #1.
Front paired boxes, one is taken by a pair of Bluebirds, has 3 eggs as of this afternoon. The other box is unoccupied, but has a nest the Bluebirds started then decided to move to the other box. I see TRES looking at the empty box, but the blues run them off. Wondering should I remove the nest in the empty box or leave it?
Judy-MichiganMay 16, 2019 at 10:22 am #7217CountrygirlParticipant
ahh Judy your yard sounds abuzz I’m envious!!! :)
I saw a mated pair of TRES checking out my one box yesterday – fingers crossed!!
Personally I think I would leave the box and let the kids sort it out. :) we are helping them by providing nest spaces – and they generally are good together and if they all decide to nest, the territory will be well defended. if there were two “cavity nests” that nature created – they would sort it out, so I wouldn’t think you need to intervene by removing the box. (just mho)
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