Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Of Bluebirds, Purple Martins and House Sparrows

My battle continues with the house sparrows that continue to build their nests in the lower levels of my purple martin house. I've been tearing out all three nests every morning. As soon as I tear them out the house sparrows go back to building their nests. On the upper level there is one Purple Martin nest with eggs. I wish the Purple Martins were more aggressive in chasing away the house sparrows but that's not happening. This year one of the gourds has swallows nesting in it. There is a nest in the other gourd but I'm not sure which bird is nesting there. I suspect it is another house sparrow nest.

Tomorrow I'll go into a different mode in battling the house sparrows. I'll wait until they lay their brown speckled eggs then I'll throw the nest out, eggs and all. That's what happened last year when the birdman who put up my Purple Martin house discovered one of the bluebird houses had a nest of house sparrows. He threw the nest out, eggs and all. At first I was shocked when he did this, but now I understand why he destroyed the house sparrow nest. House sparrows, or English sparrows are a non-native species of bird who have taken over nesting location of native species. Along with the starling, another non native species of bird, many of the natural nesting locations of birds like bluebirds and purple martins have disappeared. I can't control the North American continent but I can control my back acre of yard. There will be no house sparrows (or starlings) nesting in my back yard.

I have three bluebird houses in my back yard but only one is occupied. It is the same bluebird house that was occupied last year that produced three batches of bluebirds. They came back this year and successfully fought off the house sparrows to reclaim their box. Maybe part of the reason they were so successful was one of the bluebirds is a big bird. It looks almost as big as a robin. So far that big bluebird has fought off all attempts to take over his bluebird box. Good for him.

The house sparrows remind me of uninvited guests who are determined to have their way, regardless of who they are putting out. They remind me of people who have horse blinders on and can only see their way, regardless of the damage they cause. Ironically I know people like this and they say they're just "focused." That's one way of looking at it. Of course they are wrong. It is just an excuse for not thinking. The sparrow doesn't think. It just does. I guess that's why they've been so successful in replacing many of our native species of birds. Well, I wish them the best wherever they decide to make their nest. One thing is for sure, it isn't going to be in my backyard. Buh bye!


  1. hi there. I am a birder in Virginia and Delaware and have had great success catching house sparrows and euthanizing them. If you google repeating house sparrow trap, you can buy a trap that works wonderfully. They are considered pest and aggressive birds and are not protected. In fact, it is encouraged that they be euthanized as they are NOT indigenous to the U.S. Removing their nests only makes them mad and doesn't stop them. Also, relocating is not an option, just moves the problem elsewhere. Love your blog!

  2. Kathy,
    Thank you for your comment. You are right, the house sparrow is a pest. They are very aggressive. This year one of them killed two swallows who were trying to build a nest. They prevented the bluebirds from building their nest for the first time in two years. In fact there are three blue bird eggs in the nest out there now but the bluebirds have abandoned their nest. I am determined not to let any sparrows raise their young in any of my bird houses. Unfortunately, they're building their nests in my next door neighbor's bird houses.
    I will take your advice about getting a sparrow trap. Thanks again for your advice. Happy birding!


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