sparrow one of my only 4 babies?

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

I have one pair of martins, one or two unmated sy males, and two unmated sparrows. I thought the sparrows were sticking to several compartments in the t-14.

tonight I went to put crickets on the martin porch, and found one dead baby at bottom of house. he had two poke wounds on him.

I assume a sparrow? The sy males wouldn't stab the babies would they?
do the parents heave out the wounded baby?

going to be gone tomorrow, but looks like Frid and Sat it is really war on sparrows again. I don't know how to get them other than stand guard all day. I made the entrace of the t-14 hole a little smaller tonight with duck tape so martin sy's don't enter....then maybe tomorrow when I get home I will put a glue trap in it.

CUL Lou~Mich

Sharon. What hole did you make smaller using duct tape?? Hopefully NOT the one the babies are in. Hopefully NOT any that any of the PMs have to go in and out of. Duct tape is really NOT good to have anywhere around the PMs. They have been known to get the sticky stuff in their feathers, and it's a real mess to get off. CUL Lou

Sharon, I'm confused. Like Lou, I'm wondering if the hole that you made smaller is the hole to the compartment where the baby martins are in. If so, I don't think that's a good idea either. For one thing, I agree with Lou that you shouldn't have that sticky stuff near the martins, as they can get caught in it. Also, if you're making the hole smaller so the SY's don't get in the compartment, what's going to enable the parents to get in to their babies?? SY's have been known to kill baby purple martins in an effort to mate with the female, but if you have sparrows hanging around your housing, I am inclined to believe that any dead martin babies are the result of actions of the house sparrows. If the sparrows are nesting in one of the compartments, I would say to set a trap in it. If you have a pellet gun, you could try shooting the sparrows. Like I said, putting duct tape on a compartment entrance where martins are nesting isn't a good idea; I would suggest removing it first thing in the morning. The only reason I don't say "immediately" is because I'm assuming it's dark at your place right now, and lowering the housing would spook the martins. I really hope that you can get those house sparrows that are hanging around your place.

I used it on the sparrow compartment....not the martin compartment....but that is a good point.....I will take it off the house in the morning....
thanks for the warning....

You hadn't mentioned before that the sparrows had a particular compartment, and you also mentioned having unmated sparrows, so I got the idea that the compartment that you put the tape on was the one with the baby martins in it. If sparrows are trying to nest in one compartment, I think I'd find a way to trap them or shoot them, but that's your call. House sparrows are certainly known for pecking baby martins to death.
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Man, Sharon! What else can possibly go wrong? You have struggled to keep the four you had and now something has happened to one of them. You are probably the only person who can determine the real problem here. We all know the bachelor SYs can be a serious problem. However, you must go to the PMCA webcam and see what they watched happen with a bachelor SY they caught on camera. They are not nearly as vicious as a House Sparrow - I honestly believe that. We are all too eager to blame the bachelor SY when the real culprit is the itty bitty House Sparrow. They can be devastating to a Purple Martin colony and you won't even see them - because when they hear you come out the door - they disappear.

I honestly believe your problem is a HS and we will all help you any way we can.

Let us know. I'm sorry you're not gonna be there tomorrow. I hope everybody survives... I'll pray for protection for your babies...
RC Moser
Posts: 1537
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:25 am

IMO 99.99999% was a sparrow. They are mean and will sneak in while the martins are out and do their dirty work. IMO the only reason the E. sparrow are unmated is they haven't took over a cavity yet.

what is frustrating is that they could take over 13 cavities....all empty....since I only have one pair of martins.

the house sparrow is now going between about 4 he has plenty of space....didn't need to kill the babies to get a cavity.

I spent the evening looking for glue traps. the ones I found are not very "sticky". A few years ago I had some really "sticky" ones. cannot find them now, and don't remember brand name.

Post Reply