bats in martin house? glue traps not working..

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I have one pair of martins, one sy mlae, and one unmated sparrow.
two days ago I found one of the 4 martin babies (about 6 days old) on the ground dead. He had been peck on head and at tip of spine.
today I put glue traps in the three compartments the sparrow was entering in my t-14 house (after making entrances smaller so martins could not enter ...used tongue depressers nailed over part of hole).

put the glue traps in around 7:30 am. sparrow of course is now going to other compartments....but....

went to check again 2 hours later, and now found a bat on top of the racoon guard. the bat had its intestines hanging out. I am pretty sure it wasn't there at 7:30, because the top of the racoon guard is a light colored plywood shelf, and we had to touch it raise and lower the house.

so could bats be a problem in a t-14? cannot figure where this mutilated dead bat came from. he was small....about 2.5 to 3 inches, brown.

what next???? I am exhaused trying to keep the remaining 3 babies safe.

I put feathers in the yard to encourage the sparrow to bring them into a nest with the glue trap. he went for the feathers, but brought them into a compartment that he hadn't been using before. so I still haven't caught him.

3 remaining babies look OK.

Louise Chambers
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Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX


I bet the bat was roosting up behind the t-14 boxes, and was crushed between box and pole when the house was raised/lowered. I know this happened to another landlord up in PA, fortunately it was just one bat. We also found a live bat inside a compartment one fall after the martins had left (at PMCA's site) - he was roosting inside the compartment.

As for your sparrow dilemma, keep trying with your glue traps/reduced entrances. Perhaps the appearance of the changed entrance with tongue depressors has spooked the sparrow into trying different cavity. If you have ONLY the one sparrow snooping around, and your martin pair are sticking to their cavity closely - you might try removing the tongue depressors to see if the sparrow will go back into those compartments. If you could get a small piece of plywood or metal or even vinyl siding, have a 1-1/2 inch hole drilled in it, paint it white - and screw that over existing entrance to one of the sparrow cavities - that might work better than the tongue depressors. Just keep doing the best you can & hang in there!


I had thought about the tongue depressors spooking the sparrow. so I put them up yesterday before I put in the glue traps today. yesterday he didn't mind the tongue depressors. today he won't enter the holes with the glue traps.

I think the idea of a round entrance hole is better than what I am doing though, so will have to spend some time getting that ready for the next unslaught.

the idea of the bat roosting behind the t-14 sounds very reasonable to me. hadn't thought of you think banging on the wooden post would scare off the bats that might be hanging there?

thanks for your thoughts
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.

Oh, Sharon - poor little bat...

I don't think banging on it will scare the bat. They are more afraid of being out during the day than they are of their roost even with scary noises. I would make sure there are no other bats in there and then seal off this area so they don't have access and then put up a small bat house for these bachelor bats.

Now, the sparrow... this sparrow has dealt with glue traps before - may have even lost a mate to one. He is smart and that makes it very difficult to eliminate him from the picture.

If I were you - I would invest in the T-14 wooden trap. It is under $25 and will last as long as your T-14 does. You will get many years of great service from it and with practice you will learn how to trap even the smartest sparrow. You could use the Universal Sparrow Trap if you prefer. It is under $20 and being much smaller will fit into the cavity of most houses. It will work in the T-14 as well. The trick is to hide the inside of the trap with the sparrow's own nesting material. All they see is that something has been rearranging their nest and they will go in to see what - and you've got 'em!!!

I am so happy that your three nestlings are doing well. I still believe it is the sparrow that killed that one baby. I'm not sure you are convinced. But, I can see how you would be exhausted, exasperated, frustrated and weary from trying to protect these young PMs. It won't always be like this. As your colony grows, the extra eyes from the other PMs help in defending the colony and gives you a break. But, that won't happen if you don't get rid of the English House Sparrow. He is really the one creating the problem. Aggravating him will lead to more damage - I don't want to say it; but (here goes) he must be eliminated.

If he were at my site - I would order the nestbox insert trap. While I waited for it to arrive, I would leave the HS alone. Give him time to build a nice nest inside one cavity. Then, when the trap arrives, he will be easier to catch.

You will always be pestered by HS. Our colony was very clean this season. We had the odd HS here and there and the occassional Starling. Two weeks ago, I heard a sparrow. I saw him on the gourds of one rack several times when returning home in my vehicle. He never hung around long enough for me to shoot him. He still managed to break four eggs in one of those gourds. Then, he left - ain't been back - don't know why - don't know what happened. Those four eggs were 20+ days old and were not going to hatch - but, give me a break!!! The other seven gourds were fledged and gone - why not one of them??? :evil: I think he just wanted to be destructive to the PM colony in general. Probably because they had not tolerated his presence in the past...
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