Need advice quick! Sparrows versus Bluebirdsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
A bluebird is hanging around my clothesline and black walnut tree area. He has been here all morning. I put a birdhouse on the post, and it immediately attracted sparrows, they've been going in and out. Mr. or Mrs. Bluebird is also interested in the house, but he just sits on top of it, not going inside. I'm pretty sure he can fit...he's no bigger than the sparrows. They are scrappin' and fighting, obviously trying to determine who gets the house. Can anyone tell me how to help the bluebird win the battle? We have an abundance of sparrows, and very few bluebirds in this area.
-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (email@example.com), May 07, 2002
Put up more birdhouses.
-- tracy (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2002.
Bluebirds and Sparrows prefer different habitats. The one you describe where your birdhouse is located is probably more suited for sparrows as they like cover and branched perches. Bluebirds prefer open areas such as a meadow or field. If you want to attract more Bluebirds, locate more boxes in a field.
-- Tis I (email@example.com), May 07, 2002.
there is a plastic extension tuby thingy to keep predators out that other birds don't often like. but more houses will also do the trick i'm sure.
if the bluebirds like your hedge rows/ insect population & dryer lint & pulled up poison free garden weeds left to dry, they will find a crevice to nest in somewhere nearby!
i am greeted most every evening by the local herd of 7 + blubirds, they nest locally & evey spring i swear i will get around to making some houses so i can watch them raise families up close!
-- bj pepper ,in central MS. (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2002.
Hi Shannon! something else to consider is size of entrance hole and dimensions of house. Blue birds( there is a difference in species. Don't know where you live. Our Western Bluebirds are as follows.) like an entrance of 1 1/2" and a house size of 11 to 12 inches high, a floor area of 5"X5" and a height from the floor up to the exit/entrance of about 6 to 7 inches. House Sparrows prefer: Entrance, 1 3/16 to 2 ", house height of 9 to 12 ", floor area of 4 /x 4" to 5 X 5" and a height up to the exit/entrance of 6 to 7". Hope this gives you some ideas, I just love the blue birds and have no sparrows nesting in my boxes. This might just be a function of where I am though. My Bluebird boxes are all out on the pasture fences with no brush or trees close by. Since Bluebirds are highly territorial we have just one pair that nests on that fence line each year, they chase the other bluebirds off and then the other houses are occupied by two different species of swallow. Hope this gives you some ideas. Spring is such fun! LOL LQ
-- Little Quacker in OR (email@example.com), May 07, 2002.
Hi Shannon, I have houses up for the bluebirds & so far the other birds have left them alone. I used the following site for information when I put up the houses. http://www.bluebirdsforever.com/ Maybe the Q&A area will help you out. Aren't they the prettiest little birds? Peace, Kathy
-- Kathy Aldridge (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2002.
Blue Birds are beutiful terrible creatures, very aggresive, if they want the house they are going to get it. They Killed two summer ago my canary, and ate it's head, they also attacked my love bird, but my love bird its a fighter, fought with them an won. Terrible beutiful creatures. That's what they are. The Lord knows why they are like this. Ralph.
-- Ralph Roces (email@example.com), May 07, 2002.
Shannon - The responses so far are great! Don't have much to add. I was going to suggest the "excluder" that's the tube thing that someone else mentioned. I think you can get them through Audubon's catalog - it sell everything for birds. Height of nest boxes are a factor too - Bluebirds tend to nest fairly low (I guess that's why so many of their boxes are on fence posts.)
Ralph - I think you are thinking of Bluejays not Bluebirds. Jays are large and aggressive, AND they are opportunistic eaters who will often rob other nests for eggs and hatchlings. Bluebirds are small, docile seed and insect eaters.
-- Deborah Stephenson (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2002.
Shannon, We're just north of you, near Grand Rapids. We have tons of bluebirds thanks to my husband putting houses on every other fence post around our 7 acre pasture (not as many as you are envisioning -- we have high-tensile wire, so fence posts every 50 feet). He followed the directions given on that site someone else mentioned for bluebird house specifications. If you build them, they will come! : ) He diligently cleans them out after every nesting (sometimes we get two batches a year) and monitors them. If he sees sparrows using the boxes, he will remove their nests and they get discouraged and leave. We have a wetlands at the back of our property and that seems to attract the bluebirds as well. I LOVE to brush hog the pasture -- I have a "cloud" of bluebirds and swallows around me, diving and snatching up the insects I displace. Encourage them and you'll have them! -- Cheers, Renee M.
-- Renee Martin (email@example.com), May 07, 2002.
A gentleman I work with at a conservation center has a way to deal with the invasive tactics of English Sparrows (which are NOT native birds, and therefore NOT under federal protection) - he will kill any that he finds nesting in bluebird houses. These type of sparrows will kill baby bluebirds and also destroy any eggs that they find - they will then build their nest on top of any existing nest in the box. They have been known to attack and drive away adult bluebirds (which, by the by, are threatened in many states, and rare in others). I personally cannot see myself doing such a deed, but if you want to attract the beautiful bluebird, sometimes extreme measures are needed.
-- Judi in CT (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2002.
Shannon, I had that problem afew years back. I moved the house further back by the pasture fields. Sparrows like to be up by the buildings. Sparrows will also break the eggs of bluebirds! Put alot of houses up also. Sparrows are flying mice as far as I'm concerned!! Sparrow traps are available or make your own.
-- Suzanne (email@example.com), May 07, 2002.
The only luck I have ever had at keeping sparrows out of bluebird houses was to DAILEY remove their nests. They eventually give up and move elsewhere. My bluebirds took over the martin house so I have no martins, but I don't mind. But do put up more houses. Once the bluebirds settle, they are there every year and so enjoyable.
-- Robin Downing (Southpawrobin1@aol.com), May 07, 2002.
I agree with most of what was said except keep the bluebird houses at least 50 to 100 yards apart and you will get more bluebirds. I have built 746 bluebird houses and gave them away so I know for what I speak.
-- Mel Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 08, 2002.
Shannon, Same problem here. Things you can do to rid sparrow population. 1. Don't feed wild bird feed with milo, millet, and corn. I went to black oil sunflower which they still eat, but seems to manage numbers somewhat. Also put up a tube thistle feeder for finchs. Nothing to do with sparrows but love the waves of Gold and Purple finchs it brings. 2. Bought a crossman 664sp pellet gun.177 cal. Has scope to attach and sight in. Sounds a bit extreme, but according to Bluebird and Purple Martin people you need a many pronged attack. Shooting House Sparrows is not for everyone but is usually a quick end.It is working wonders here. 3. Bought 2 Sparrow traps from a gentleman, FVANERT in Iowa, $7.00 apeice and they work wonders. They mount to inside of box and block exit hole when they enter. I will send you a link to his site. I think with several methods you can 'Clean up your area" Good Luck
-- Chris Todd (email@example.com), May 11, 2002.