House Sparrow Zero/Purple Martins Twelve

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Posts: 1927
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Delux Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 7 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I have a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also have an rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, I have a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Delux Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I had THE BEST day today watching 12 purple martins going in and out of my Supergourds, zooming all around chattering and perching on the poles. I have tried for months to trap this VERY PERSISTANT male house sparrow that refused to enter a gourd trap, a bluebird house sparrow trap or a bait trap. All of the other house sparrows were removed but he stubbornly stayed on attacking any purple martin that tried to check out my setup. I had an aluminum house with some gourds to supplement it. I threw house sparrows out of that twice a day for weeks and weeks. I noticed that the house sparrows did not seem to like the Supergourds so I took down the aluminum house and bought more Supergourds. I put them up on two different poles and the male house sparrow then started attacking any martin that came to either setup - 10 Supergourds. It was SO FRUSTRATING. He FINALLY slipped up and I got him in a gourd trap. Just as soon as he was gone the martins came. It was almost like they were watching. Of course it is too late in the season to get any nesting pairs but I am enjoying seeing the purple martins checking out/enjoying my gourds. I worked SO HARD to get it all prepared and maintained only to have my efforts ruined week after week by that one male house sparrow. It does not seem possible that one little house sparrow could fend off all the martins but he did. He ruled all ten gourds the whole nesting season. SO GLAD he is history! Maybe I will be successful next year UNLESS I get another house sparrow problem.

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.

That's a great report, Carlton! Congratulations on winning that battle! The war will continue on - but, every time you catch one you will learn a little bit more about "how" to catch one. Even the sneaky, wily, elusive ones will eventually slip up and the ever persistent Purple Martin Landlord will prevail!!!

Just a little FYI (for you and others who may not know): Purple Martins who do not yet have site fidelity (because yours is a new unoccupied site) are easily intimidated. When they return next season and declare your site as "their site", you will probably witness them attacking the HS. Don't think that your job is over - the PM is not equipped with the weapons to defeat the English House Sparrow. And, it seems, when the martins show up, so does the sparrow...

Go get 'em!!!
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