House Wrens[edit: should be House Finch] and House Sparrows

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dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Seems like everywhere I've lived, I've been in areas with numerous numbers of house sparrows. As a kid in the south, it is probably the number one bird I've taken taken down with air rifles and other guns.

On the flip side this is the first time in my life I've been living in an area (Slidell LA) where House Wrens are in such abundance. Next to the sounds of doves, the House Wren call is the most noticeable bird call I seem to hear. Earlier in the year I actually thought the House Wrens were House Sparrows (I wasn't looking very close) since I've been living among them so many years- until one day one landed close by- a male. That rosy red patch on the breast really stuck out and I then realized my supposed HS problem for the upcoming "first year martin attempt" was not that at all. I did see House Sparrows but not in any significant numbers like I've seen in other areas.

All this spring and now approaching summer I have rarely seen a House Sparrow. The very few I've seen I've been able to shoot. Once I almost shot a house wren, without a scope the female looks very much like a female HS.

Could the reason I have so little numbers of HS be because I have such large numbers of House Wrens? It's the only thing I can come up with. No one around me puts out seed and it may be partly why too. I just wonder if House Wrens are able to push out the HS population in my area becuase of their numbers. These wrens are everywhere.
Last edited by dsonyay on Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sandy - NC
Posts: 617
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:40 pm
Location: Rocky Mount, NC

Are you sure that they are house wrens? House wrens should not be in your area this time of year. Carolina Wrens, Marsh Wrens, and other Wrens should be, but the only time House Wrens should be that far south is in the winter. House Wrens are notorious for pecking the eggs of other species. Carolina Wrens are not.

As far as any of them pushing out house sparrows, I can't answer that.
Don't ever, ever give up. It will happen.

sbunn1@suddenlink.net
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

I'm pretty sure they are house wrens, because of that red coloring on the male's chest... but I will google the other species you mention. The pics I saw of house wrens sure seemed to match up with what I see all the time through my window and binoculars. I could be wrong especially if the other species are close in resemblance.

At this moment there are two wrens- a male and female- right outside the window looking through my mowed grass. Thanks!
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

OOOPS! What I should have written is House FINCH! Sorry about that. :)

House Finches are what I have tons of. And they do go to the gourds at times and even look in, but the martins are very aggressive towards them. I think they would go in if given the chance, but the martins handle them easily.

Sorry sorry about the typo. As soon as I googled house WREN and saw the type of bill, I knew I meant to write "finch".
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

glad you figures out they were house finch;;male house finch have red on bottom;;females don't,,male house sparrow has black under neck;;female don't;;females look something alike;;i have a thistle seed feeder within about 10 feet of my martin house that atttracts mostly gold finch, house finch, and chicadees and they don't seem too bother the martins;;;;have all kind of goldfinch in winter and some now;;they don't mate till mid july;;;;jr 2
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

jr 2 wrote:glad you figures out they were house finch;;male house finch have red on bottom;;females don't,,male house sparrow has black under neck;;female don't;;females look something alike;;i have a thistle seed feeder within about 10 feet of my martin house that atttracts mostly gold finch, house finch, and chicadees and they don't seem too bother the martins;;;;have all kind of goldfinch in winter and some now;;they don't mate till mid july;;;;jr 2
Oh yeah I know the HS very well. It was only this year that I spotted my first House Finch. I've never seen one. Which was why the female was almost mistaken for a House Sparrow. Like I said, it was a good thing my rifle was scoped. When I had the crosshairs on the bird I was looking at it close and thought it didn't look like a female HS. So I backed off and then a male flew in and sat with the female... then I knew this was something different.

I have so many in my neighborhood it seems they may have pushed out the House sparrows. These little house finches have a very complicated and long call. They seem to be good to have around.

I see them hanging out with blue birds quite often. At times they land on the gourds but the martins are quick to "shu" them off.
jeffwilliams72
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 am
Location: Indiana/Carthage

Last year I had House Finches dominating my unoccupied gourd racks, they were chasing off prospective Martins.After learning that they are native to West of the Rockies and introduced to the East. I ended their domineering ways, and have not seen that behavior since.
They nest under my porch, and I welcome them there. I believe they could only be a problem for prospective landlords and not established colonies.
2008/1st pair/ 4 fledged
2009-2010 visitors only
2011/2 pr/9 eggs/8 fledged
2012/9pr/33 fledged
2013/27pr/101 fledged
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Jeff,

Even though their original range is in the west, they are still native songbirds and protected, same as martins. Nest removal would be the preferred way to handle this issue.

In some areas it seems they have displaced house sparrows, which is a GOOD thing. House finches don't kill nestling martins or peck eggs. They sometimes, but not often, build in martin housing. More often they nest in hanging baskets or even door wreaths. They are not really cavity nesters - you won't find them in bluebird boxes, etc.
jeffwilliams72
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 am
Location: Indiana/Carthage

Louise, for the record, they were building in my aluminum house, and I dealt with them by repeated nest removal, not more dastardly means.
I do respect all native songbirds, especially those that displace HOSP.
I didn't post how I dealt with them, because I thought nest removal of songbirds was a no-no, but I felt their introduced status gave me an exception. Sorry for being vague.
You are right about displacement of HOSP, since the House Finches took over my porch, no more HOSP even try!!! I love their cheery nature and their beautiful song. I pray for the day where they completely replace HOSP in my area.
I just wanted to share my experience, because I felt they may have cost me a season of trying to attract Martins.
2008/1st pair/ 4 fledged
2009-2010 visitors only
2011/2 pr/9 eggs/8 fledged
2012/9pr/33 fledged
2013/27pr/101 fledged
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Thanks for the additional info, Jeff. Your other statement sounded severe, :wink: I am glad it was not. Removal of incomplete nests (not containing eggs yet) is okay - I removed incomplete house wren nests from my bluebird boxes to keep the wrens away from martins, it worked fine - the wrens nested in other boxes where I left their nest attempts alone.

Lots of landlords have struggled to manage bluebirds and/or tree swallows, too - they can be quite a challenge. Thankfully house finches are usually not a problem, thanks for adding your experiences with them.
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Wow- this may be good news for me... maybe it IS possible these House Finches displaced the HSs in my area. I just find it odd I'm not seeing any House Sparrows at all. But I have MANY House Finches. This could be good. I like them so far. I see no signs of them trying to nest in the gourds, but they do fly to the perches while roving around the area. They don't stay long.


thanks for the info
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

I have a lot of House Finches also. I'm live streaming a pair that have nested in an artificial Barn Swallow nest attached to my house overhang. It's on ustream.tv, it's their second brood.

I still have plenty of House Sparrows around though. Just remember the female House Finch has a striped breast.

My Martins don't seem to be bothered with the Finches on the gourd rack. I haven't seen either reacting to the other. I did see a Grackle chase after a Martin just yesterday. That was a first. Don't want to see Grackles start pulling young from the nest.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
NancyinEnidOK
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:06 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Enid

David, I'm so glad you started this thread. I once thought I had a female HOSP in the crosshairs, but luckily her mate flew up and landed next to her, and then I realized she was a female house finch and not a HOSP. There are three or four pair here, and they have a beautiful song. It is good to know that they might displace some of the revolting HOSP. Think I'll put up a few more thistle feeders!
Nancy

PMCA MEMBER
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

i have been having trouble too with tree swallows and bluebirds but have an extra martin house up out back,,,i have 3 thistle feeders out front and 2 outback for house finch and goldfinch;;lot of people just feed in summer but i feed year round[ love the goldfinch] jr 2
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

NancyinEnidOK wrote:David, I'm so glad you started this thread. I once thought I had a female HOSP in the crosshairs, but luckily her mate flew up and landed next to her, and then I realized she was a female house finch and not a HOSP. There are three or four pair here, and they have a beautiful song. It is good to know that they might displace some of the revolting HOSP. Think I'll put up a few more thistle feeders!
haha! glad I'm not alone. Yeah, as I had her in the crosshairs, I was pretty sure it wasn't a female HS. Didn't match what I'd seen for many years. Then the male lands near. And then I knew this was something new. Now that I've seen them up close and online they are easy to spot. But some of their chirps do remind me of a HS.

I guess we're all just guessing about them keeping away HSs. But it sure seems like it. And yes, they are nice to have around.
dsonyay
Posts: 1196
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

GeneP wrote:I have a lot of House Finches also. I'm live streaming a pair that have nested in an artificial Barn Swallow nest attached to my house overhang. It's on ustream.tv, it's their second brood.

I still have plenty of House Sparrows around though. Just remember the female House Finch has a striped breast.

My Martins don't seem to be bothered with the Finches on the gourd rack. I haven't seen either reacting to the other. I did see a Grackle chase after a Martin just yesterday. That was a first. Don't want to see Grackles start pulling young from the nest.
can you post the link to that?
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