House Sparrow Frustation

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
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.

Matt F. wrote:
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:
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)
Matt - you guys and your new gadgets.... :lol:

NICE find! Thank you - I'll use this!!!
"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
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.

MamaBruff wrote:I was hoping Kathy would take this one! 8)
:lol: :lol: Mary - I can't help myself - I get a 'twitch' when I see House sparrow in the subject line. 8)
"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
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

KathyF wrote:Matt - you guys and your new gadgets.... :lol:
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

I'm becoming a great shot! When I'm in my shop I can look out the window and when I see a sparrow or starling on or around the site I open the door and 9 times out of 10 they take off and I shoot them on the run! Like I said I'm hitting them more now than missing. Just gotta lead 'em a little! I have went through some shells! Hee Hee Hee! Love it.
I know everyone can't do this. Good luck with keeping them under control. :grin:
Sharon from southern Illinois
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:38 pm
Location: Louisiana/Baton Rouge

I like John Miller am puzzled that the house sparrows are building nest on the outside of house on porch.
Are you sure this is not a house finch ? Sometimes called a purple finch ?
The females look a lot like the sparrows except the have strips on their chest and are lighter in color. The males have red on their heads.
2011 visitors
2012 1 pair ASY male, SY female 9 eggs, 8 hatched, fledged 5
2013 5 pairs fledged 8
2014 4 pairs fledged 15
2015 7 pairs fledged 25
2016 10 pairs fledged 31
2017 17 pairs fledged 69
2018 18 pairs fledged 69
2019 21 pairs fledged 52 (biting gnats lost babies)
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:05 pm
Location: Covngton, La

I feel your frustration. I also am on a war with sparrows. I call them the Three Amigos" since there are three. I sit near my bird house many times during the day trying to get a shot at them. They know I'm gunning for them and when they see me they run. You would think that they would figure out they are not wanted and there is no way these sparrows will build a nest in my houses!

They will destroy all Martin eggs if you let them. It happened last year to my birds. Must have been over a dozen eggs destroyed. I did kill one and the Martins re-laid and we had a successful season.

Martins are too passive. I'd ratter deal with the hawk that picks one off every once in awhile.

Good luck

Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .

I have had HOSP build on a porch before.. as well as Starlings, House Finches & Western Kingbirds. The nests typically don't make it past the first big storm, but seen it done.

Also House Finch and Purple Finch are two different species.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

It amazes me how fast they can build a nest, and how sneaky they can be doing it! I had a pair build a complete nest in a BB house in one day. One pair had filled up a gourd of mine (before my martins returned) in two days! I was fortunate to have been able to trap all of the HOSP involved. I had one that played dead on me once. It nearly got away. :wink: I guess my point is that they can be building a nest even when you don't suspect it.
PMCA Member
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Hey Jose,

VERY neat photos there!!
Does that unique tunnel also deter Sparrows in your opinion? I can see how that tunnel would shut down anything larger than a Blue Bird.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Hey M.S, All this advice here 100% right on ! If you don't have Porch Dividers, try to get them, THEY WILL NOT STOP HOSP FROM BUILDING NEST, OR FROM GOING INTO A PMs ROOM , BUT, I've seen the Dividers make the opening to the Martins Room A LITTLE Less inviting to the HOSP, A VERY LITTLE ! But What I saying is that it Doesn't hurt to have them, I feel it Slows the HOSP's destruction a little, so as to make them concentrate more on that one room where you can install the trap, or they can pose for a better shot, they helped me that way. I've seen HOSP build on my porches before, especially when I had the openings closed Before the PM scouts got here! Look at the Classic site of the HOSP nest in those store sign letters on the brick front wall. The other bird to build a nest in my BACK porches were Inca Doves, they're So Cute ! So good luck with the HOSP !
Also, think about HOSP Decoys in, or around traps, God knows they sell all those junk fake birds ( that can be made to look more HOSP-Like !) in those "Hobby" stores, next to the glue gun refill tubes & styrene Bricks ! :wink:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:58 pm
Location: MO/Kearney
Martin Colony History: 2015: 5 pairs, 16 babies fledged

Thank you all for the great tips. I'm trying several of them. I ordered an inside cavity sparrow trap from the PMCA Shop, placed bread and pieces of paper towels all around the outside of my repeating trap and on the bait trays, and I'm trying EGunterTX's suggestion of using a glue board inside the entrance with tape over the outside inch or so on each side of the crescent. I'm also keeping a close watchful eye on the PM barn. Wouldn't you know these sparrows are too smart for me and they are staying away from the barn since I put the glue boards inside the two compartments they are attached to.

I have good news to report about my bluebirds that The HOSP stole their eggs. They came back today! :grin: The female laid her first egg on this past Monday, her second on Tuesday, and the HOPS stole the eggs on Wednesday. I'm hoping that she is still in the egg laying mood and she will consider trying to lay more eggs in my BB box. I put the sparrow spooker up as soon as I saw the BBs return. They don't seem bothered by it and the HOSP haven't been around the BB box either. It may be because I have had painters painting our house all day they went some where else while the painters worked. I have to keep an eye out for them tonight and this weekend while the painters are gone.

I'm just curious is there a bluebird forum or a site that I can post questions to that I can get answers about BBs from that is similar to this PM forum? I love that this site is available to us amateur bird hobbyists.

I gotta mention, it is funny, today when I went to my local Bird Nerd Store (what my kids call it) I picked up the PM Morning Vocalizations cd that has been the big talk today on the forum. At the time I never heard of it and was leary about buying it without knowing if it was any good. Then I get on the forum this afternoon and see that the exact same cd is being discussed on the forum. I can't wait to try it out. Hopefully it will convince some of the SY's, that will most likely be visiting my neighbor's established colony within the next coming weeks, into coming to my barn and gourds. I estimate that I live about 1,500 ariel feet from his colony. So Maybe I have a chance. I have seen a few fly by my set-up. One male was showing a strong interest in my two PM decoys this past weekend.
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