eastern bluebirds aggressively repel house sparrows

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Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

I put up a bluebird nest box again this season. I have it placed about forty feet from the purple martin housing. There are five bluebird eggs in the nest box. Both the male & female bluebird aggressively repel house sparrows that intrude on the area around the nest box. Yesterday I saw the bluebird pair team up and take a male house sparrow to the ground. They had him pinned for several seconds. I have seen the male bluebird chase away house sparrows that try to perch on the fence fifty or sixty feet from the box. I have also heard that eastern bluebirds act as sentinels against accipiters. They often spot the hawk before the purple martins do and issue a warning call, giving the martins time to escape into the sky.
Craig Dyer
Dan G
Posts: 403
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:52 pm
Location: PA/Bellefonte
Martin Colony History: Trying since 2014. Visitors, but no nests. Several colonies with in 6 mile radius.
2020- An SY male built a nest but could not attract a mate.

Thats great. I too have watched my blue birds chase off the sparrows. But never saw them take one to the ground. I shot a sparrow this morning that was harassing a tree swallow. The swallow was no more than 10 feet from the sparrow that was shot with a .22 and the TS never even fliched. :grin:
Bellefonte PA
2014, 1st year-a few lookers, no nests
2015, 'Spot' SY male, here every day from 5-28 to 6-23
2016 added a perch wire between house and gourd rack
offering 22 cavities, T-14 plus 8 gourds
2016, multiple visitors from 6-20 on. Almost daily
2017- Lots of visitors late in season.
2018- Adding another T-14. Few visitors
2019- Hopeful but stopped holding my breath
2020-SY male built a nest.
KathyF
Posts: 3519
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.

For the last 10 years since we moved in here, I've been eliminating them regularly every year. This year, I've only had to shoot 2 so far. I think it's because my neighbor moved out and took all the feed out of his horse barn that was attracting them.
Yes, the TRES and bluebirds can and will chase them around to try to keep them out of nest boxes. Unfortunately, it's when the HOSP traps them INSIDE the nestbox where they are at a disadvantage against that strong conical beak and will lose every time.
And those that they whipped on outside the box, as your bluebirds did, seem to come back even more determined to kill and take the box, so be vigilant!
"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
Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

I also shoot and trap house sparrows every season. They were so numerous last year I lost count around 30 destroyed. I noticed earlier this season (before the bluebirds had eggs) that a male house sparrow had taken up residence in the bluebird box. Both male and female bluebirds were extremely agitated, but neither of them entered the box to confront him. They probably instinctively knew better. I trapped the sparrow with a bluebird box door trap later that same day.
Craig Dyer
msalcido
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:25 pm
Location: Texas/Mineola

I haven't seen them aggressive towards HOSP, BUT the male Blue sure does go after the Red-Headed Woodpecker. One visits the feeder which is about 50 ft away from the BB house and when it lands to feed, boy the Blue bird goes after it and chases it off with a vengeance! :shock:
Mike

Fifth season of being a landlord! :) and a PMCA member!
John & Linda - KY
Posts: 599
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:19 pm
Location: Kentucky/Hawesville

I have found BB nests where the female was sitting on the eggs, a HS killed her and built a new nest over her nest and body. The must die. -- John
mickey53
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:46 pm
Location: Ontario/Prince Edward County

Wonderful that your bluebirds are standing their ground, we have houses for martins, tree swallows and bluebirds but in past ours have been so passive that the house sparrows create chaos. We have had hs kill bluebirds and build nest on top of babies. Think this year that we have so many tree swallows that there will be no bluebirds again, last year none showed up at all. Glad we saw lots of them in Florida.
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