Winter sparrows

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Buckdog122
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 7:24 pm
Location: Somerset, Ohio

Does anyone shoot/trap sparrows in the winter ? I have several feeders and at times piles of sparrows come flooding in. I was just curious ?
Thanks
Buckdog
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1883
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

... Buckdog122... Good question.. Also would like to know... I do not do any trap/Shoot through the winter months. but I'm sure some do.. Good luck in 2020..

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
C.C.Martins
Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021:
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021:
PMCA member

Buckdog 112, Dave,
I do trap/shoot in winter. Use the PMCA repeating trap, regular seeds and occasionally white bread and bits of tortillas (texas thing). More trapping then shooting, have had 6 sparrows removed so far. Took one shot on sat.

Seem to have better luck when its very cold. Ill stop active trapping/feeding and replace food with nesting material (white feathers) and move to a more passive trapping role end of jan to clear them out of their habbit of finding food.
Sometimes it seems like i feed more then catch. Then will shoot as needed.
Have to check it daily, traps dont discriminate, caught a male cardinal twice. Released unharmed.
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Donnie Hurdt MN
Posts: 1717
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:14 pm
Location: North Prairie, MN

I actually have better luck shooting sparrows and starlings in the winter, the colder the better as they come crowding to the feeders and birdbath with the other birds. The starlings get to be more weary as the winter goes on though...….. the ones I miss :)
PMCA member and Martin fanatic....
2011 A pair of subbies fledged three young but none returned in 2012 :-(
2015 One Pair of subbies came and stayed a few nits but got chased away by Bluebirds and Tree swallows. :-(
2017 0ne pair of subbies nested and fledged 4 young
2018 Tree Swallows AGAIN chased away any martins that wanted to nest :evil:
2019 Same old story................ :-(
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

From what I have read, and from my own "research" sparrows seem to have a home range, and it is not that big. So the sparrows that you are seeing now will be nesting and breeding in the same area. The more you can shoot/trap now the less you will have to deal with in the future. What I am calling "research is the years I spent living at my old house for over 10 years with martin housing. I had farms on both sides of me and one was a small cattle farm that had feed, water, etc. less then 200 feet from my martin housing. ideal environment for sparrows. The first year I killed well over 100 sparrows. Every year it was less and less and by the time I moved out of that property I was only killing a few a year, typically less then 10. The first year I moved away I kept the martin housing up with the new owners permission. I visited a few times that year and after just 1 year of me not killing sparrows I could already see an increase. I know it seems like an impossible task but in my opinion you can make an impact on the "local" population.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Bird Brain
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2019-nothing
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

Killed dozens the first year. Killed 8 or 10 the following year. Killed 3 or 4 the year after that. Now I kill 1 or 2 per year. Now I see and hear bluebirds consistently. Didn't see a bluebird for 40 years prior to the sparrow elimination. My neighbor feeds cheap bird seed and draws them in. They soon discover my martin pole and die very quickly. I quietly lean a Benjamin 397 over a fence and get a good, quick, accurate shot. Because of my neighbors cheap bird seed drawing them in, I estimate I've eliminated sparrows within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile radius. It's great to see bluebirds again.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
Conrad Baker
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

The Sparrows you let live now will only return again and again to terrorize your Martin Colony, destroy eggs, and take over housing. The choice is yours.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Since no one has mentioned it yet in this thread, let's help newcomers become aware of the difference between House Sparrows, passer domesticus, the non-native sparrow being discussed here, and the roughly 35 species of native sparrows that do not compete with or harm martins, are protected, and often visit our birdfeeders. This link from our friends at sialis.org has a good ID article about our native sparrows:
http://www.sialis.org/otherbrownbirds.htm

They won't nest in a martin or bluebird box (although bewick's and house wrens might) but many of them will show up at feeders. Some of them are favorites - white-throated and song sparrows, for example, with lovely songs and handsome markings. So if you trap and use birdseed for bait, you will need to be sure of ID, so you can promptly release anything that's not a House Sparrow or European Starling.
Conrad Baker
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

Louise Chambers wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:39 pm
Since no one has mentioned it yet in this thread, let's help newcomers become aware of the difference between House Sparrows, passer domesticus, the non-native sparrow being discussed here, and the roughly 35 species of native sparrows that do not compete with or harm martins, are protected, and often visit our birdfeeders. This link from our friends at sialis.org has a good ID article about our native sparrows:
http://www.sialis.org/otherbrownbirds.htm

They won't nest in a martin or bluebird box (although bewick's and house wrens might) but many of them will show up at feeders. Some of them are favorites - white-throated and song sparrows, for example, with lovely songs and handsome markings. So if you trap and use birdseed for bait, you will need to be sure of ID, so you can promptly release anything that's not a House Sparrow or European Starling.
Thanks Louise !! I overlooked the obvious and failed miserably !!! Glad you caught it.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Conrad, no you didn't - all of us assume house sparrows since we're aware. I know one of my favorite winter events here is when all the 'winter' sparrows show up at our feeders: savannah, white-crowned, white-throated, field, lincoln's, vesper, harris', chipping, clay-colored, swamp - nice, huh? :-) They all leave in april/may - but in spring we see cassin's sparrows and grasshopper sparrows, too.
Conrad Baker
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

Right, at a glance or at a distance, it is difficult to tell them apart down here (Louisiana) unless you are aware of the different types.
i_carumba
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:27 pm
Location: Southern Saskatchewan, Canada

I leave them alone during the winter. Winter is hard up here so i cut them some slack. Removed 100 during the season last summer though.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Louise,
You are wise to inform new Purple Martin landlords who trap about the identification of English House Sparrows vs. Native Sparrow Species.
I am fortunate to have a Father who taught me the differences. He gave me field experience but also utilized a well used Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America and A Guide to Field Identification Birds of North America to teach me.
We love and admire native sparrow species but have seen and witnessed horrible damage that English House Sparrows can do to the native cavity nesting species.
It makes an positive impact on you when your Father lovingly admires a native species before he releases it from his trap.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Donnie Hurdt MN
Posts: 1717
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:14 pm
Location: North Prairie, MN

I am sure that most of the "well seasoned" or ok, older readers on this forum including me can pick out one species of sparrow from another just from the way they feed or how they behave in general. I know that it is sometimes hard to properly identify the bird you want to shoot is between you and the low in the sky winter sun but when in doubt I don't pull the trigger. Starlings are a lot easer to identify around here in the winter though, there are no other birds here this time of year the same body color of body shape.
PMCA member and Martin fanatic....
2011 A pair of subbies fledged three young but none returned in 2012 :-(
2015 One Pair of subbies came and stayed a few nits but got chased away by Bluebirds and Tree swallows. :-(
2017 0ne pair of subbies nested and fledged 4 young
2018 Tree Swallows AGAIN chased away any martins that wanted to nest :evil:
2019 Same old story................ :-(
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