New Sparrow Proof Entrance Photo (Tree Swallows)

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Bernie Nikolai
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Last year tragically, despite trapping and shooting, two tree swallow mothers were killed by sparrows, who also killed the hatched young, and then tried to build a nest over the bodies. I had 15 pairs of tree swallows at my hobby orchard, where I also have one of my martin colonies.

With thanks to Mary Wilson in Ontario, and tests done by the Bluebird Society http://nabluebirdsociety.org/media.nabl ... ratil1.htm
I put "slot entrances" on all of my tree swallow houses this year. So far the tree swallows can enter easily, but the sparrows, trying feverishly, can't. They have been trying for about 2 weeks.

I'm not saying this slot entrance is "sparrow proof" although so far it appears to be, but it is certainly "sparrow resistant". The dimensions are 7/8" tall by about 2 1/4" wide. While martins won't be able to get into these entrances, as they are much larger than tree swallows, sparrows can't either it appears. The entrances are cut from a piece of vinyl house siding and applied over an enlarged 1 1/2" original round hole that was the entrance last year. Since many of us host tree swallows as well as martins, this entrance idea would be worth trying if you are having trouble with sparrows entering your tree swallow housing.
He who harbors the nesting bird shall have health and happiness all the year
Guest

Hi Bernie,

Sorry to hear about your BBloss last year. That new entrance is really interesting! Do you have dimensions for that? I would like to try one of those openings here. I don't have a huge sparrow problem but as you know it doesn't take one sparrow long to do his damage. Not having to worry about your birds is a wonderful feeling!

Maybe you can make another box with a normal opening just to use as a dedicated sparrow trap.

Joyce
Guest

Opps :oops: Ignore that request for the dimensions! Yes, I can read. I just got so excited I must have missed it the first time!
robndebby
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 1:25 pm
Location: VIRGINIA/POWHATAN
Martin Colony History: Established colony in 1990

We have had the same entrances on two of our houses for 3 years now, but it didn't deter the sparrows one bit. They didn't kill them, but chased away the tree swallows and the bluebirds. But I sure am glad it's working for you. It's nice to hear that there are things that do work for most people.

Happy Birding!
ROBNDEBBY
Kyle Gregoire
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vermont/Alburg

Bernie, Thanks for the info. I was wondering though, since house sparrows are indiginous, if Murrays law applies. This means the farther north (a non migrating) species lives, the bigger it has to be to survive the longer winter. Maybe this is why it has not worked so well for the more southern people. Just food for thought.
Bernie Nikolai
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Kyle Gregoire wrote:Bernie, Thanks for the info. I was wondering though, since house sparrows are indiginous, if Murrays law applies. This means the farther north (a non migrating) species lives, the bigger it has to be to survive the longer winter. Maybe this is why it has not worked so well for the more southern people. Just food for thought.
You may be right Kyle. The answer would be experimentation. Perhaps Alberta sparrows can't enter a 7/8" slot, but Alabama sparrows can. Maybe instead of 7/8" tall, in southern areas 13/16" is needed. Also possibly three 7/8" holes drilled about 2 1/4" wide in a line, but with the top teeth filed off flat, and the bottom teeth "rounded" similar to a WDC entrance would work to keep out sparrows.
He who harbors the nesting bird shall have health and happiness all the year
Fred Kaluza~MI
Posts: 602
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 10:40 pm
Location: Warren, Michigan
Martin Colony History: Tried and tried and had some visitors but...not enough good insects around here to keep them interested.

Kyle, I don't mean to be a pest, but I wouldn't want anyone to read and think that House Sparrows are native to North America. Your post says they're indiginous (sic).
Bill Hyde
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 8:59 am
Location: Illinois/Roscoe

Bernie, I too read your (and Mary's) comments on another PM forum and decided to try out your suggestions. First, I drilled a 15/16" x 2 1/4" obround entrance -- as a compromise between your 7/8" and Mary's 1" wide dimensions; but the HOSP had no trouble entering through that hole. Next, I made an entrance exactly 7'8" x 2 1/4" and the sparrows were no longer able to enter the box. Unfortunately, the HOSP turned their attention toward my PM housing and continued nest building -- on a temporary basis until they met their sudden demise.

Two pairs of TS have built nests in other BB houses here, and no longer take interest in any other housing; but a house wren has been busy building a nest in the newly-created 7/8" opening in the above described box.

The bottom line of all this is that here in northern Illinois the HOSP apparently cannot enter a 7/8" opening, but they have no trouble with one that is 15/16. :wink:
PMCA member
2011 - 1 SY pair w/ 2 HY fledged
2012 - 5 breeding pairs
2013 - 14 nesting pairs and several singles
2014 - 8 nesting pairs
2015 - 5 nesting prs w/mostly ASY parents
Kyle Gregoire
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vermont/Alburg

Fred, Well this is a tricky one upon further investigation. I thought it (indigenous) meant that they stay in the same area and do not migrate. I know they(house sparrows, starlings) are not native, but i may have misinterpreted the definition of indigenous. I do that sometimes. I should have said non -migrating (for lack of a vocabulary term) to describe the nasty critters. However, the definiton of indigenous is- 1. Having originated in and being produced, growing,living, or occuring naturally in a particular region or environment. 2. Innate - exsisting in, belonging to, or determined by factors present in an individual from birth. Indigenous applies to species or races and adds to (native) the implication of not having been introduced from elsewhere. (Maize is indigenous to America). Now i dont know about you Fred, but Im more confused than I was in the first place. Maybe there is a Phd out there who can clear this up for us. http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/amnc-nmca/pla ... igen_e.asp
Guest

Bump.

Tried this entrance last year - did a fantastic job of keeping out HOSPs and letting TSs in.
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.

Bump - slot entrances for TRES housing.
"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
Bernie Nikolai
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Just an update for those curious...its been 3 years since I've been trying these entrances, and zero breaches by sparrows, yet the tree swallows can enter and nest in safety. This entrance also seems to be working well for others in different areas.

Too bad we have yet to devise a "sparrow resistant entrance" for purple martins. Sooner or later we just might. Perhaps it is something "far out there", for example a specific type of uv paint that produces a colour that sparrows hate, but martins don't mind. This uv colour would basically be invisible to the human eye...but something birds can see well. We'll all have to keep on trying....I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere...
He who harbors the nesting bird shall have health and happiness all the year
Guest

Dang Stan!

Everytime I read a thread that has one of your posts in it, Im reaching for a newspaper to whach the pesky little bug crawling on the screen!!!

(you'd think Id learn by now)

:)
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.

Bernie Nikolai wrote: You may be right Kyle. The answer would be experimentation. Perhaps Alberta sparrows can't enter a 7/8" slot, but Alabama sparrows can. Maybe instead of 7/8" tall, in southern areas 13/16" is needed. Also possibly three 7/8" holes drilled about 2 1/4" wide in a line, but with the top teeth filed off flat, and the bottom teeth "rounded" similar to a WDC entrance would work to keep out sparrows.
Bernie,
Regarding the "three 7/8" holes...." - what do you mean? In the same box on three of the sides?
"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
Dan Drew
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:08 pm
Location: Indiana/Indianapolis

Bernie,

The link you provided is not working. Do you have a photo to post or a link that is alive? I'm not sure I "get the picture" but my site would be a good one to test such a thing. I've got more than a dozen TS cavities scattered all 'round our lake.

Dan
Bernie Nikolai
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:44 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Hi Dan, I guess the link is no longer working...I see my original post is 3 years old! Time flies when you are having fun....

Lets see if I can do this verbally....just cut a slot, like the old "obround entrance" some used to use for purple martins in a piece of sintra/plastic. The slot does not need to have the corners rounded. The width is not critical, but I have used 2 1/4" wide. The height IS critical. The slot must be 7/8" tall. 15/16" tall will let some sparrows in, and one inch tall will certainly let them all in.

So in other words, cut a hole bigger than this slot in your tree swallow house. Then screw on a plastic plate with this entrance slot cut into it. 2 1/4" wide, and EXACTLY 7/8" tall. That's all there is to it. The tree swallows get in just fine, but the sparrows can't.

Oh and Kathy, I was referring to those who might want to experiment further with this entrance. Drill three 7/8" holes in a plastic plate all in a line, then take off the top teeth and round the bottom teeth somewhat. You would then have what appears to be a "mini WDC or Excluder 11" entrance that you might be familiar with for martins, but this one would be for tree swallows (too small for martins). I haven't tried this, but some might want to. The 2 1/4" wide slot that is exactly 7/8" tall works fine for me.
He who harbors the nesting bird shall have health and happiness all the year
Ryan
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Has anyone drilled this entrance hole into the actual wood front of the house, and not a thin piece of plastic applied over top of the wood front? I'm asking because I'm in the process of doing up a bunch of 3/4" cedar swallow boxes and want to make sure I don't make them impossible for the tree swallows to enter.


Will the thickness of the 3/4" cedar make it harder to get into than the thin plastic? Has anyone used this hole directly through thicker wood? Thanks.
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.

*BUMP*
Thank you, Bernie - I am so grateful that because of this knowledge you helped me save 5 pairs of TRES & 25 of their babies last year!! :grin:

Last year, thanks to Bernies' information from this thread, I put these slotted entrances on ALL my tree swallow boxes. I held my breath as I watched a determined HOSP try & try to get into one of the new entrances (he was too far away to shoot). After trying & failing for 3 days, he finally left.

It took some time too for my tree swallows to get used to these entrances & actually go in, but once they did, they zipped through them like martins do with SREH.

Please, if you're also putting up Tree Swallow housing, protect them from the evil little killers too. HOSP can be just as deadly to TRES babies as they can to martins. (by the way, this is the same house where a HOSP slaughtered 5 baby TRES the year before :cry: )

Here are photos of one of my new boxes, with happy & healthy babies & mommy!

Image

Image

Image
"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
jimnks
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:31 pm
Location: kansas/tonganoxie

Bernie, I have several bird houses and I am getting ready to repair and build some more. Does this entrance slot keep bluebirds out also or do you know? It is probably to good to be true to keep HOSP out and let tree swallows and bluebirds enter, what the heck am I thinking!! Jimnks
jimnks
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.

jimnks wrote:Bernie, I have several bird houses and I am getting ready to repair and build some more. Does this entrance slot keep bluebirds out also or do you know? It is probably to good to be true to keep HOSP out and let tree swallows and bluebirds enter, what the heck am I thinking!! Jimnks
Hi Jim, I can tell you from my own experience here that unfortunately, yes, it keeps bluebirds out too. :-( BUT, I just keep my bluebird houses closer to my own house - within shooting range. :wink:
"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
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