House Sparrow Frustation

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MSchmohl
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:58 pm
Location: MO/Kearney
Martin Colony History: 2015: 5 pairs, 16 babies fledged

I'm sorry, but I just have to vent about these annoying HOSP trying to nest in my PM barn.

I have been fighting with these HOSP for weeks now. I pull a nest either out of an open compartment or off the porch of my PM barn every day. I have attempted to trap these pests and shoot them. No luck in bribing any into the trap and I have a terrible aim with the pellet gun I bought. Miss every time.

Sadly today, when I came home from work, the two eggs the bluebirds laid in their box are gone and so are the bluebirds. I have a stove pipe baffle on the box pole. So it leaves me to believe the HOSPs have gone on a rampage and took the eggs. The same thing happened last year to the first pair of bluebirds that nested in the box. So I added the stove pipe, Noel guard, and a sparrow spooker to the bluebird site after losing the first set of eggs. Unfortunately I didn't put the sparrow spooker or the Noel guard up this year after the first eggs were laid because my husband was complaining about it being unsightly. It is so disheartening to loose yet another set of eggs and pair of bluebirds. It almost makes me want to take all the houses and gourds down and sell them. And GIVE UP!

I could use a little encouragement to not give up and hang in there. Maybe some additional suggestions on how to rid my property of these NASTY HOSPs. :evil:

Again, I'm sorry to vent on about the HOSP and the lost of my bluebirds on a Purple Martin site.
Zach
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:16 pm
Location: PA/Fleetwood

Right when I saw this topic I went and look up how to get rid of house sparrows fast. The only ways I could find was using fake owls (which would also scare away purple martins), high pitch noises (which also might scare away purple martins), or distress sound players (which also might scare away purple martins). So I can only think keep removing the nests and get your aiming down :wink: . But don't give up I would rather keep fighting the house sparrows and keep scaring them away and killing them, then giving up and letting them take over your whole property. So what I am trying to say is DON"T GIVE UP :wink: :grin: :grin: I would rather have birds I love in my yard then give up and have birds I hate in my yard!!!
16 Years Old
Not a ideal location but still going to try!!!
Henry Limpet
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:48 pm
Location: IN./Howe, via the s/w side of Chicago
Martin Colony History: Trendsetter-8. Set up in 2014 at my summer cottage, a beautiful natural inland lake in N.E. Indiana's Amish Country. T-8 is on cleared land behind my pole barn and adjacent to a farmer's field

2015: Had several flyovers in early June with 1 dedicated SYM visitor who visited each day for well over a month. He brought by a few PM "parades", with 8-12 PM's who would visit all at once, but soon leave. (Added 2 gourds to bottom of the T-8). We discovered a large (Amish) colony apx. 3/4 mile South of our T-8, while on a bike ride through the country. We think this will eventually be our "feeder" colony.

2016: Put up a Trio G'Pa lakeside. Overall, not as much interest as 2015, likely because of our vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. in early June.

2017: Finally switched over to wheat straw. Success!! One nesting pair. Fledged 4!

2018: Zilch.

2019: Slow start, nothing observed by mid June. Wet, cold Spring a factor??

On our last trip to the cottage, my son and I bought a HOSP trap from our local store. Much like the PMCA one for $19.95. I decided to give up on the mousetrap approach, on advice from members.

We plugged up all of the holes but one, and left the trap there. We then sat and watched. That Wiley HOSP didn't like the hole we had left opened, so we swapped it to the hole he wanted. We then sat and watched some more. He kept peeking in, pulling back, peeking in, pulling back. So we went to the barn and got a small handful of black oil sunflower seeds. Lowered the house again, and put the seeds in the trap and also put some out on the "lanai" (LOL). Cranked it back up. We then sat and watched.

We then watched some more. . . . and then we heard it! "CLICK"! Then we played deep sea diver. :P

Try different approaches, Keep at it, you will prevail!
Be careful how you wish . . for wishes can come true . . be sure that every wish you make is one that's right for you!
John Miller
Posts: 4774
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

If you are using a cavity trap, it's sometimes helpful to just wait until they have eggs. One landlord here, Kathy Freeze, I believe places a couple of eggs back in the trap, maybe with some nest material.

I usually don't wait that long and find they will go into a cavity trap at night -- except when they move next door.

The traps that stand out in the yard can be baited with feathers or strips of tissue when sparrows are nest building -- but you must monitor several times a day because it may catch native birds -- in fact, any trap.

I was a little startled by saying nest on the porch -- that's not a house sparrow, so be sure you can ID them.

John M
MSchmohl
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:58 pm
Location: MO/Kearney
Martin Colony History: 2015: 5 pairs, 16 babies fledged

John M
They definitely are House Sparrows. They are stock piling nesting materials on the porches of my barn as they are stuffing as much as they can into the open compartment(s).

I'll have to try your tissue idea around the repeating sparrow trap I have on the ground under the PM pole. Already tried feathers and a no go.
Thank You!
Mitch Booth
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:23 am
Location: Akron, OH
Martin Colony History: 2012 - 0
2013 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 2 fledged
2014 - 0
2015 - 1 pair, 5 died during week of rain
2016 - 0
2017 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2018 - 4 pair, 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2020 - 17 pair

I had the same problem.

I bought a repeating trap and put feathers in it to attract them during the nesting season.

I also couldn't hit the side of a barn with my son's inexpensive air rifle. This was extremely frustrating for me being an avid marksman with a rifle and shotgun. I finally decided to spend a few hundred dollars on a pre charged pneumatic (pcp) air rifle. I can shoot 10 pellets in a dime size grouping bench rested at 30 yards. I can pick sparrows off my gourds, tree swallow/bluebird houses and T-14 with little fear of a pellet going array and hitting any of my housing. It is also extremely silent w no recoil. No need for tuning or special trigger pulls w the cheaper spring piston air rifles.

Mitch
2020 - 17 pair 77 eggs 69 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2018 - 4 pair 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2017 - 1 pair 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2016 - 0 only visits
2015 - 1 pair 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 dead on days 6-7
2014 - 0 only visits
2013 - 1 pair 3 eggs, 2 hatched, 2 fledged
2012 - 0
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

MSchmohl wrote:I'll have to try your tissue idea around the repeating sparrow trap I have on the ground under the PM pole. Already tried feathers and a no go.
Thank You!
Large pieces of white bread are something good to try as well.
Since you're able to shoot, try to get as proficient as possible with your pellet gun, by practicing with paper targets.
A huge help is to also close the distance between you and house sparrow as much as possible.
One trick I've learned, is if there's a wary house sparrow sitting nearby, but is too cautious to land on the housing, I play a house sparrow call on my iPhone turned up, simply streamed from Cornell's Ornithology website.
This is sometimes enough to lure them back over to the house for a shot.
Here's the page I use:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Sparrow/sounds
I've spent a lot of time analyzing house sparrows' tactics, in reference to their behavior once they've shown an interest in my Martin housing.
To use the old quote - "Know Your Enemy"........... 8)
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

Do not give up MS, Sorry about the hard times you are having with sparrows. I also have sparrows which is why I took off the porches on my gourds in the first place and have not had a problem ever since. They find it too hard to try to go in is my guess. I can live without having the Martins land on a porch. I get plenty of action with them on their perches and the Owl guards.

As far as the BB's go I use a little tunnel called The Guardian. This is my second season with BB's and they love it! I have yet seen any type of bird/predator try to go in. Trust me when I say we have Crows, Blue Jays, Sparrows, Starlings, Mocking Birds, Raccoons, Snakes, and Cats! Our BB's feel very safe with The Guardian installed. It took them a little to understand the concept, but they got it. I wish you the very best. Here are a couple of pictures of our BB's They are starting their second round of eggs this season.

Image

Image

Image
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
madattiver
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:44 pm
Location: SK/Saskatoon
Martin Colony History: 12 unit North Star + 4 gourds
2014 - 1 pair
2015 - 1 pair
2016 - 1 pair + 1 sub male (until my female died)
2017 - 6 pair

Thanks for the tip on playing the house sparrow calls. I might have to try that one out. Was there any one in particular that works best? I see there is around 5 on that link.
Adam
Fifth Year Landlord
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Are your sparrows hiding out in thick hedges or evergreens? If they are you could get rid of those or wrap them in bird netting.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

madattiver wrote:Thanks for the tip on playing the house sparrow calls. I might have to try that one out. Was there any one in particular that works best? I see there is around 5 on that link.
Great question.
I mostly use the first one (listed as "Song, monotonous series of cheep or cheerup notes")
Sometimes the second (listed as "Song followed by chatter call"), which is similar to the first, with the added "chatter call" at the end.
art
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 3:12 pm
Location: Kansas/Holcomb

I too am a poor shot with the air rifle and rely on repeating traps. Another method I use WITH CAUTION are pest sticky boards. If a sparrow pair are active nest building I cut a 2-3" width of sticky board and place just inside the entrance. You must be observant and cautious that no martins (or bluebirds) might investigate. Don't just ignore and come back later. Only do this if the sparrows have taken over the apartment. Sometimes I score a double play and get both the male and female sparrow stuck to the same board. This is my last ditch/desperate form of sparrow control.
arthur nonhof
MSchmohl
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:58 pm
Location: MO/Kearney
Martin Colony History: 2015: 5 pairs, 16 babies fledged

[quote="Jose Rodriguez"]

[quote]"As far as the BB's go I use a little tunnel called The Guardian."[/quote]

Jose,
Where did you get The Guardian tunnel or did you make it?
Stan
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:33 pm
Location: LA/Slidell

birdguardian.com
Tolerance Of Evil Is Suicide
KathyF
Posts: 3521
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Hi,
I wrote this blog post a while back and am sharing it here. It is an ongoing battle, and honestly, you need to have a variety of traps for the multiple situations. The times that I wait for an egg or two to be laid is a 'last-ditch' effort, when I just absolutely can't get the troublesome HOSP to go into a trap.

http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2015/02 ... s-for.html

If you can afford to, get yourself a good pellet rifle. I use the RWS 850, purchased at this site, along with a scope from Walmart. Other buyers from this site say that a lot of times, you can find coupons to help with the price by searching online.
http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Hammerli_ ... Magnum/913

This past weekend, I visited a friend that had so many house sparrows, they were filling up all the cavities in his two trios within a day. So he had to close his housing - it was too much for him to deal with at his age.

I use:
http://shop.purplemartin.org/Universal_ ... cation=ufi

First day - one HOSP in the inbox trap (above). He was moved to the repeating trap. Second day, 4 HOSP shot off the house, 2 HOSP in the repeating trap. Third day, 11 HOSP in the repeating trap....population growing in the trap now on day 5.
Day 5 - Purple Martin housing opened for new arrivals. The house is now manageable with the reduced numbers, the landlord is continually trapping and monitoring and shooting.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
MamaBruff
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: SW Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.

I was hoping Kathy would take this one! 8)
~Mary B~

Lifelong PM Admirer and Nature Enthusiast.
Ruthless trapper of S&S year round.
2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.
phldave
Posts: 514
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

MSchmohl

I understand your frustration but it is the nature of the beast. We all have to deal with them, and after awhile you will be able to boast as we do about being pro trappers. The thing that is frustrating to me is I consider myself an expert trapper, but still have no martins to show for my efforts. Welcome and good luck.

Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

Mitch - what brand of PCP air rifle did you purchase?
2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

MSchmohl,

No, I did not make them. You can get them at http://www.birdguardian.com/allp.htm

Good Luck!

Jose
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
EGunterTX
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 3:09 pm
Location: Texas/New Braunfels/Canyon Lake

art--
I have used glue boards, too-- AS A LAST RESORT.
When I use them, I also tape over the outside inch or so on each side of the crescent. This seems to keep the PMs from entering, but the HOSPs can get in..
Like you, I watch closely.
'18-- 8 nests, 39 eggs, 19 fledged
'17-- 10 nests, 40 eggs, 38 fledged
'16-- 9 nests, 47 eggs, 41 fledged
'15-- 9 nests, 42 eggs, 21 fledged
'14-- 8 nests, 38 eggs, 35 fledged
'13-- 5 nests, 23 eggs, 19 fledged
'12-- 4 nests, 19 eggs, 13 fledged
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