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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Traps (Part 5) - Ground & Nestbox for House Sparrows and Starlings

In addition to Messages that have appeared in the Bluebird Mailing Lists on this topic, the following are on the Audubon Society of Omaha website:   

Also see from Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified:



From: Steve and Cindy Groene [mailto:hausgroene"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:06 PM
Subject: Newbie

Its time to introduce myself. I've been a member of this list for about a week. A friend was building bluebird houses so I mentioned I wanted to get one. She generously mailed one to me. To make a short story long.........my backyard backs up to a golf course fairway. My husband put up the bb box on Sun.Apr 16th. We had a male bb checking it out the very next day. On Wed. Apr 19, a male and female were present at the box. On Fri. Apr 21st, they started their nest. Unfortunately, a male HOSP started pestering them and trying to take the box for himself. I immediately ordered a Van Ert trap. Before the trap arrived, I saw the male go inside the box. Something came over me. I ran to the laundry room and grabbed a mesh bag, walked outside, snuck up behind the box and put my hand over the hole. Lo and behold, I had him! Put the mesh bag over the box, removed my hand and the rest is history.

The bb's finished the nest but were being hounded by 4 TRES, when another male HOSP showed up. I ran out and bought a bb box, locally (not as nice but it will do for now) and put it up 15' away. The HOSP and the TRES were immediately interested. I installed the Van Ert trap but everytime I did, the darn HOSP would not go inside the new box. Then the TRES would come around and I would run out and take it out. Anyway, the TRES won out and I have not seen that HOSP since.

We had terrible weather for nearly two weeks and I worried for naught. On Mon May 15, the bb laid her first egg. There are now four and she's incubating. The weather got so bad I was afraid to open the TRES box. On May 22, the weather was finally good enough to peek inside. There were 5 eggs! Yesterday they laid their 6th egg.

I'm a little sad because I will be away for a week and miss the hatching of the bb's. I will, however, train my husband to help out while I'm gone.

I ordered mealworms and a feeder. The mealworms came yesterday. The feeder came today. I sat the mealworms in a small container in my yard. Today, the female found it and ate about 5 mealworms while I was watching. I'll be moving the container soon as the male finds it. Can't wait to get the feeder up and going.

I guess I've gone on long enough. Wish I'd done this 6yrs ago when we first
moved here. The golf course is full of bb's. I'm not new to birding,
having feeders in my yard for more than 20yrs, sighting birds on trips and taken a field ornithology course at the Univ of Okla Biological Station back in my younger years, but I am new to bb's.

Cindy
South Lyon, Oakland Co., Michigan



From: Maynard Sumner [mailto:m-r-sumner"at"juno.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 10:15 PM
Subject: Re: Newbie

Cindy,

Welcome to the list. We will help as much as we can. A good book to get is "The Bluebird Monitor's Guide".

Check out the Michigan Bluebird Society's web site at:

www.mibluebirdsociety.com and this will help you to.

Maynard Sumner
Flint, MI



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Subject: Finally Trapped One

Today after three or four weeks of trying to trap a HOSP I caught one in my VanErt Trap. This was first thing this morning and I transferred him to my repeating trap. I set my repeating trap right on the ground by a place that the HOSP usually will pick up seeds and all day long the HOSP jumped down by my trap but never went in. I had some suet there, some sunflower seed and some nest material along with a few feathers. Not one went in the trap. It is in a cool place away from the sun but nothing bit and went in. They didn't even touch the material on the first ledge to bait them. It is like they know what the trap is.

So I will continue tomorrow and hopefully will catch something.

Steve Murphy
Rochester, Mn



From: Cher [mailto:bluelist"at"localnet.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: Finally Trapped One

Steve, try elevating the trap up off the ground just a little bit, as the instructions that come with the trap suggest. Regardless of the fact that your HOSP are eating seeds off the ground in that area, the trap seems to work better when elevated. I've tried various elevations and locations, and found placing the trap atop two upturned planters was very effective. You'll catch fewer natives with it elevated, as well.

And change your bait - white bread and millet work better than suet and sunflower seed. The nesting material only works when they're actively nest-building. If your HOSP are already in the midst of a nesting, they're not interested in nesting material, and your food bait isn't interesting enough to them to entice them into the trap.

Cher



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:31 PM
Subject: ground trapping HOSP and baiting

Steve, I'm glad you were able to catch one - now the key is to keep it alive and use it as a decoy in the ground trap. Provide food and water, and put it in an enclosed area at night to protect it from predators. (I keep my decoys in a separate bird cage with a roof as they do better with more room, and it's easier to feed and water without fear of escape.)

By the way, I would not recommend using suet as bait - it increases the likelihood of catching non-target birds.

Here are some ground trap bait recommendations:

Put liberal amounts of fresh bait (cracked corn, 1/2" pieces of white bread/stale muffins/donuts/KFC biscuits, cheese balls, animal feed, dry cat or dog food, popped popcorn, french fries) inside the trap near the entry points, and just outside the entry points.

Avoid using birdseed to prevent other non-target species from being captured. If food is getting removed, hot glue it to a small stone/piece of wood. Baked goods attract ants and get very soggy with rain. Replace bait if it gets spoiled/wet. Do not provide other sources of HOSP food in your yard.

A bread-water-paste mush ball or stale piece of bread and hanging it on an opened-up paper clip near the entrance may draw birds in.

Millet and cracked corn may attract chipmunks or small squirrels. Immediately remove mammals from the trap (by opening the door to avoid bites that might occur during handling) because they will bite and kill other trapped birds, including native birds.

For elevator traps, creatures may pull large objects into the elevator mechanism, disabling it. For chunks or bread or feathers, hot glue them to a plastic bottle cap, and use a tack/other means (like a cable tie) to secure it to the bait tray.

Baiting with nesting material: During nesting season, white feathers, string, yarn, cotton, or wispy pieces of grass or material from an old HOSP nest may help attract males. You can also break up an old nest and put it inside the trap. If feathers fly away, use some spray adhesive/hot glue to attach them to a small board or stone.



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:44 PM
Subject: 5 HOSP's

Well I am up to 5 HOSP's. Tonight I took 4 of them out of my trap and left one there to attacto others. My daughter is a animal lover and thinks I am cruel until I showed her the picture of the bluebird that had it's head taken off by a HOSP. Now she is all for me catching them but does not want me to leave them in the trap too long. So I took 4 out tonight.

I also checked my box and one of the 4 eggs has a pretty good scratch in it.
I hope this is not a problem and maybe scratched from mom turning the egg??
If anyone has seen this before and know's what it is let me know and if I need to take action.

Steve Murphy
Rochester, MN



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 6:33 PM
Subject: Escapeee

For the last two days I had two male HOSP's in my repeating sparrow trap.
This morning I put some food and water for them and again at 2:00pm and then headed to a wedding. When I got back there is only one HOSP in the trap.
How could of one gotten out? Has anyone seen or had this happen to them.
Now I am sure that HOSP I will never get again?

Steve Murphy
Rochester, mn



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 7:05 PM
Subject: RE: Escapeee

Steve,

Sorry about the escapee. I am sure Blaine will comment if he is not out on
the trails. I didn't think they could get out myself. Check the little flap
into the main part of the trap and make sure it is secure.

I have only caught two Cat Birds today. They must like bread since that is
all I have on the staging area and in the loading area. Dumb birds I guess.
My Van Ert traps were mailed today so that will hopefully help me to get a
decoy and get going again

Denise
Parkville, MD


From: Blaine Johnson [mailto:uncleblaine"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 11:19 PM
Subject: Re: Escapeee

Steve,

Denise is right to have you check the flap. It has only happened once that I am aware of, last year in Ohio. The HOSP manages to somehow grab the flap and get under, though more likely it is a tag team. When one is pulling the flap upward, the other gets under and into the elevator chamber. From there, he must get atop the elevator arm close enough to the entrance end to get it to drop, clearing access to the entrance.

Make sure the flap lies as flat as possible against the wall at the bottom. That makes it most difficult for him to get a good enough hold on it to pull it up far enough to matter. While they can always get a hold where the hole is behind the flap, that's high enough that they should be unable to open it enough to matter. Secondly, you can try adjusting the weight to a bit heavier setting, so that if one does get in the elevator chamber, he's less likely to get it to drop. Of course that can be a very fine adjustment since the elevator still has to drop with a sparrow's weight on the arm inside the elevator cage.

Blaine



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 11:16 PM
Subject: Successful Trapping

So far to date I have trapped 9 HOSP's. It has been a couple of days since I have seen a HOSP flying around or coming up to our deck but yet about every 12 hours I am still catching a HOSP. So I know they still are around.
I think in the past I just tried to hard. I am having the best luck just keeping the trap about 12" off the ground on a box and just using cracked corn. Not using any other stuff just the corn and doing well. But I know that even though I don't see any HOSP around they are still there to be caught.

Steve Murphy
Rochester, MN



From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Escapeee

Dear Blaine & Steve,

I have had this happen to me with DRST as well. Do not underestimate the intelligence of HOSP, I say. This happened to me a couple of times and I checked the flap. The bottom corner was slightly bent toward the holding chamber. I bent it back flat and have not had them escape since. I believe that escapees can be result of neighborhood children trying to help the decoys also.

What I learned from this incident has me employing a new technique. As soon as I capture a new HOSP decoy, whether it is trapped via Van Ert or DRST, I give it a wing trim. Trimming the primary flight feathers severely (about
halfway) insures that if it does escape for some reason, it will not be flying to any nestboxes. The trimming does not appear to hurt the bird in any way.

This has served me well because with 6 or 7 decoys in the DRST, they sometimes escape when I am changing their food and water. They are pretty easy to catch when they cannot fly.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio



From: Torrey [mailto:torrey_canyon"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: Escapeee

Paula was right when she said that wing trimming doesn't hurt the birds. Feathers are essentially like our hair -- Only the part attached to the skin is really "live".

Once the feather is fully grown, the blood supply only goes to the "root". People with large pet birds often trim their wings to prevent an accidental escape; each time the bird molts, the wings have to be trimmed again. A severe wing trim does not prevent the bird from fluttering but does prevent it from flying -- They lose the lift needed to support their weight.

Torrey Wenger
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Kalamazoo, MI



From: Barb Munson [mailto:strawberrymom"at"hughes.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 12:08 AM
Subject: Van Ert trap

I am new to bluebirding and have lots of questions but right now will ask only one. On the east side of my house I have one bluebird house and the west side of my house a hosp has a nest up next to the eave on top of a drain spout. I don't know if the hosp goes on the east side of the house or not but I am concerned. I don't understand what a Van Ert trap is. I looked it up on google and it looks like it attaches to a birdhouse. If that is correct I sure don't want to attach it to my bluebird house. It has
5 little blue eggs in it. I thought they would have hatched by now. Now for my question. Where do I sit up a Van Ert trap? Barb -Southern Illinois



From: Cher [mailto:bluelist"at"localnet.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 8:22 AM
Subject: Re: Van Ert trap

True - the Van Ert is always a handy thing to have on hand, and a second
box (I use an old, junky one) may appeal to a HOSP when he's looking for
nesting spots. It may or may not appeal to him right now, while he's in
the middle of a nesting cycle.

Cher



From: Cher [mailto:bluelist"at"localnet.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 6:32 AM
Subject: Re: Van Ert trap

Barb, the Van Ert is indeed an in-box trap. It is used to trap a single HOSP at a time that is entering or claiming a nestbox.

Your Bluebirds could very well be in danger from the HOSP, even though he nests on the other side of the house. Rather than set an in-box trap at this point, you should get a "sparrow spooker" on your Bluebird nestbox right away. See http://www.bluebirdnut.com/Competitors.htm#spooker for an explanation of what it is, and how to use it. You'll have to watch carefully for a little while to make sure the female bird re-enters the nest once the spooker is in place, but usually it only takes a few minutes for the Bluebirds to adapt.

You should also make sure that the HOSP nest meets with failure.
Removing his nest is probably not the best thing at this point - some HOSPs go on what some folks call "rampages" after having a nest destroyed. You could try addling the eggs or otherwise rendering them inviable.

You may also want to try a repeating trap such as the Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap. If there's one HOSP in the area, you can be sure there are more.

Cher



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:43 AM
Subject: RE: Van Ert trap

Barb,

You could only use the VanErt in another box. You may want to put out a second box for the HOSP and put the VanErt in there. That worked great for me. As far as your existing box, get a Sparrow Spooker over it right away.

Follow this link http://www.sialis.org/ and it talks about sparrow spookers and other things you can.

Steve Murphy
Rochester, mn



From: roy pischer [mailto:tlp4456"at"msn.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 9:23 AM
Subject: Re: Van Ert trap

Hi Barb and welcome to bluebirding! I had a similar with a HOSP nesting in the eaves of our tractor shed. I bought two Van Ert Traps that were already installed in EABL type boxes. We hung one Van Ert Trap way up high on a beam, in fact, right in front of the nest. That first summer, we trapped three female HOSP that way, but for the longest time, the male HOSP simply
refused to go in... until one fateful day he just couldn't resist. My
suggestion is that you hang the Van Ert Trap on the West side of your house as close to the eave and drain spout. Good luck!

Trudy Pischer
Willard, MO



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 6:38 PM
Subject: RE: Van Ert trap

Barb,

The Van Ert trap goes inside of a nest box. You could put it in the one on
the east side of the house where the BB's aren't using the nest box. Or you
can get a ground trap and get the HOSP that way

Denise
Parkville, MD


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 7:46 PM
Subject: Yeah three sparrows today

Well after a week of an empty repeating trap, I finally caught two today so now I have decoys and I am thrilled. I also got my Van Ert trap and put up a HOSP trapping box yesterday. today the HOSP had started a nest and I put the Van Ert trap in and within 10 minutes I had trapped a female. So now I have three in the repeating trap. There were two male HOSP on the nestbox I am using to get HOSP and though one has been back to check it out, he wont' go in. I could hear the snap inside my house on the second level so I think it spooked the male some. Hopefully he will go in by tonight.

I will transfer these three to my bird cage and use that to keep my decoys alive. YIppeee,, soon I hope to have a HOSP free yard

Denise
Parkville, MD



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 5:36 PM
Subject: HOSP, does it ever end?

I am up to about 20 HOSP now and am wondering when will it end? I don't see them like I use to but my trap seems to get one a day. I would have thought by about now it would tail off some. Or are the ones in my neighbors yards coming over now that I have thinned them out some in my yard? Don't know I guess I just have to keep the trap up.

Steve Murphy
Rochester, MN



From: Robert Barron [mailto:rebarron"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP, does it ever end?

Steve,

It will never end if you have a large population of HOSP nearby. I live in VA horse country and have been able to prevent HOSP takeovers of my nest boxes with Van Ert traps, a good pellet rifle, and lots of
22 shotshells.

I like to feed birds, but hadn't put up a feeder here in the two months that I live here. I wanted to test Linda Violet's theory that back yard bird feeding creates HOSP problems, so I put up a small feeder that holds about half a coffee can full of black-oil sunflower seeds. Initially, the HOSP rejected the black oil seed, but after two or three days, they became less picky and I could shoot 30 in an hour, males, females, and juveniles. The bird feeder didn't create the house sparrows, but it definitely attracted them to and concentrated them in my yard at the feeder. I would have to agree with Linda that there is no need to feed seed to birds, at least in the summer, unless you're using it as a bait station. Are you or your neighbors feeding the birds birdseed?

Good luck and keep us posted.

Rob Barron


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 9:40 PM
Subject: I am livid, someone freed my HOSP from the trap

Hello All,

I mentioned yesterday getting HOSP and using them as decoys in my repeating trap. Well last night when I put them in the garage, I used a tie to hold the elevator in the up position on the odd chance that they might figure a way to could get out or at the very least, let at least one out. This morning they were all fine and frisky and I put the trap back outside. I realized on my way to work that I had left the elevator tied in the up position and I wouldn't be catching any new ones today. No big deal. The food was eaten on the tray but of course the elevator didn't drop,, grrr. Well that isn't the worst of it. Someone came in to my yard today and freed the the decoys.. Yes, some butt-hole came into my yard and freed my 3 decoys. They opened the door and let them out. I am so infuriated I could scream and shoot someone. I am pi**ed beyond description and madder then a wet hen. So now I have to start all over again trying to get decoys..

I think it may have been my contractors that are building the deck and I have a call in to the head guy whom I will chastise to hell and back once he calls. So it turns out it is a good thing I did leave the elevator tied up since hopefully that means another damn HOSP may think it is ok to enter and will help me to start trapping again.

Also, there were two male HOSP on the nest box yesterday when the Van Ert trap went off trapping one of the female decoys that was set free today and sadly today no new nesting material,, grrrr. So they may be spooked off that nest box for now. I am so frustrated and mad I could scream. I cannot believe someone had the nerve to undo what I had done and since they don't pay my bills, stay out of my business, stay out of my yard and my stuff..

Sorry for the vent, but you guys are the only ones who would understand and now I am back at ground zero which truly has me PI**ED off to no end

Denise


From: Blaine Johnson [mailto:uncleblaine"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 9:38 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP, does it ever end?

Steve,

Last year I had a customer order a trap in mid May who said he figured he had 25-30 HOSP to take out. By mid August, his count was over 600. When you figure how many more those 600 would have produced, it isn't surprising that he has hardly seen any HOSP so far this year.

Blaine



From: Ruth Brinckman [mailto:r.r.brinc"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP, does it ever end?

Steve,
The HOSP problem will always be with us. I have them here every year especially in early spring during nesting season. I finally bought a Repeating Ground Sparrow Trap and I keep one or two live HOSP in it after I catch them with my in-box trap. I have caught and disposed of over 50 this early spring. I was able to keep my pair of Bluebirds here and they had a family of three. I also have black oil feeders in my backyard. I know that the HOSP will eat there, but I will not give into the HOSP and take my feeders down. I enjoy the other native birds that come to eat. The only thing to do is to keep after the HOSP during the nesting season and they will finally go away. I have none now. Keep up the good work.

Ruth, PA



From: Barb Munson [mailto: strawberrymom"at"hughes.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 9:18 PM
Subject: repeating trap

I bought a repeating trap. I have had it set up over 48 hours and have not caught a HOSP. I have it set up under where the female is setting on her nest. Should I have it set up in the sunlight or the shade. Should it be set on the ground or higher up? If it is to be set off the ground how far off the ground should I place it. My BB babies are now 4 days old. Sure hope they live.

Barb - So. IL



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 10:57 PM
Subject: RE: repeating trap

Barb,

If a female HOSP is sitting on her nest in a nest box, I would recommend getting a mesh laundry bag and try to put it over the box with her in it.
Then close off the open end, open the door and trap mom in the mesh bag.
Then put her in the repeating sparrow trap which will bring others to the trap. Getting the first HOSP in the trap can take a while but once you do get one, it is easier to get more.

I have my repeating trap sitting on a small plastic patio end table so I guess it is about 1.2 to 2 feet off the ground. It took me about a week to get my first one and then I got six more easily. Left town so had to dispatch of them and then it took me another week to get two more, which my contractor kindly freed for me (butt hole) and I finally got one more today so hopefully now that I have one, I will attract more and as they say, the more the merrier and the more you will catch.

To keep the trapped ones alive to attract more, you will need to make sure they have plenty of food and clean water. They dirty the water up quickly so it needs to be changed a few times a day. At night, take them into a garage, shed or the basement of your house and cover the trap with a towel. Bringing them in is necessary to keep night time predators from hurting them and covering the trap will help keep them calm.

Having one in the trap as a decoy helps a lot. Time and patients are needed but once you get going (Steve can attest to this) it works great.

Good Luck

Denise
Parkville, MD


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 1:02 PM
Subject: bluebirds house sparrows one quarter inch hole

Hi all. Have been away for work for a week, came back and found that my husband left the house sparrow (HOSP) decoy cage out overnight and a cat must have gotten to them. Then of course a male HOSP shows up, and apparently takes out a nest of tree swallow eggs that were about to hatch. I put a Van Ert inbox trap on the nestbox (a GilWOOD [not GilBERTSON PVC] box that HOSP seem to like), but also put out Floyd Van Erts Urban House Sparrow Trap, which is basically a mobile nestbox with a built-in Van Ert inbox trap. It has a 1.25” hole to exclude bluebirds. Guess what I caught about 20 minutes later? A male bluebird. Looked like a small one, but obviously he got into a 1.25” hole! Another reason why it’s so important to check inbox traps at least hourly. I do find the male bluebirds like to check out the local real estate (this pair just finished laying eggs in a box that is maybe 100 yards away.)

Bet from CT


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 1:52 PM
Subject: RE: bluebirds house sparrows one quarter inch hole - CORRECTION

Floyd’s website says the hole on the Urban Sparrow Trap is 1.25”, but I just measured it and it’s 1 3/8”. Maybe I have an older model?

Has anyone ever had a bluebird go in a 1.25” hole?

Bet from CT


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: bluebirds house sparrows one quarter inch hole - CORRECTION

I believe the Urban House Sparrow trap box from Floyd is made from sheet metal and birds can squeeze into smaller holes the thinner the door material is.

Dr. Zeleny I believe wrote that quite a few bluebirds in Maryland in the 70's or 80's (maybe that was 60's) could enter a 3/4" thick entrance with a 1&3/8" round hole when he was experimenting with hole sizes. Most of these had to struggle to go in and out and this caused excess wear and tear on their feathers BUT they could enter. You could add a wood hole restrictor to the urban trap exactly 1&1/4" round and see if you trap that small male bluebird again:-))

Seriously there is variation in weight and size in bird species.

Maybe Torrey or some of the other bird banders that weigh the birds they trap can add to this.

When trapping and weighing House Sparrows and then keeping them for decoys and weighing them if they died I found that a male or female House Sparrow could lose 25% of their body weight in a couple of days and still be active!

I used a scale to weight gunpowder for reloading ammo and weighed the sparrows in Grains (7,000 Grains to the pound.) You can place a sparrow in the foot or toe area of panty hose as this holds them snug and then deduct the weight of the hose. They remain more calm while weighing them when you place them on their backs. Keith Kridler



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 3:08 PM
Subject: RE: bluebirds house sparrows one quarter inch hole - CORRECTION

Thanks Keith. I was trying to figure out how to weigh this guy before releasing him, but didn’t figure out the pantyhose part! Darn.

I emailed Floyd, and he said I must have an earlier version of the Urban Sparrow Trap that didn’t have the sheet metal reducer that would have dropped the 1 3/8” hole down to 1 ¼”. He is sending me a reducer.

So anyway, for sure I can say the male bluebird entered the 1 3/8” hole (I didn’t see how much squeezing was involved), but am still wondering if anyone has had BLUEBIRDS go in a 1 ¼” hole.

THANKS!

Bet from CT



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 5:06 PM
Subject: RE: HOSP description and trapping question

Denise wrote: I have two male HOSP in my repeating trap along with two females. …The two males both
have the bibs but one is bigger bibbed and darker on the back and has much more prominent white
markings then the other male. I know at Sialis.org, Bet explains about the darker bib being more
prominent during breading but I found nothing about the white markings. Do I have a young male and
an older one? Also, will the two males attack each other ( just got the second male tonight). If
they will attack each other then I can separate them by putting one in a bird house and leaving the
other in the trap with the two females. Thoughts, suggestions welcome.

Denise – Juveniles have no bib (maybe a few faint dark feathers) and look pretty much like females -
but are more brown above and more buff-colored below, with pinkish bills, legs and feet.

The size and prominence of bibs on adult male HOSPs varies depending on the bird (and some studies
have been done suggesting that males with bigger blacker bibs are more likely to get the chicks) and
season (fades after breeding season is over.)

I have seen males with some white on a darker brown back (kind of pretty), if that's what you're
referring to. Until I got a look at their faces I wasn't even sure they were HOSP at first.

I do NOT keep multiple males together in a ground trap, as they may kill each other. My favorite
combo of decoys is to have one female and one male in a separate bird cage, or at the most 2 females
and one male, since they seem to be more content and calm, and I figure its company for them. I also
don't know which sex attracts which sex or whether juveniles are more attracted to males or females
(or if it makes a difference) so I figure this covers my bases. Juveniles are the best as they are
quite adaptable and hardy, although I have kept adults for months in a birdcage. Once I made the
mistake of introducing a new male into the birdcage that held a M/F pair I'd had for a while. The
new male almost immediately killed the female, which was weird.

I like the separate birdcage concept for a couple of reasons - more room for the birds to move
around in (thus they seem to live longer), easier to feed and water and clean, no worries about them
escaping when I remove other birds, and it's easier to put the garage at night to protect from
predation. I just put the birdcage right next to the ground trap. Sometimes I will leave one spare
bird in the ground trap for extra lure-age power.


From: bridget mcgann [mailto:lilbmcg"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP description and trapping question

hmmm this is interesting. Am I to understand that you trap and KEEP HOSPs as an alternative to killing them. This has never occurred to me. Can someone please elaborate on this method for me please?

Bridget
Granger, IN



From: Robert Barron [mailto:rebarron"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:26 PML
Subject: Re: HOSP description and trapping question

Bridget,
They are being kept as decoys to attract other HOSP into the trap.
Their cheep cheep is too annoying to keep them as pets and they kill
eachother if left togther for long.
Rob Barron



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:32 PM
Subject: RE: HOSP description and trapping question

Yes, sorry to not be more clear.

One person had suggested to me that I promote people keeping HOSP as pets as an alternative. When
you trap 30-300 a year, that's not a viable option. Plus these are wild birds and could transmit
disease.

Some folks practice wing trimming as an alternative to euthanasia - see
http://www.sialis.org/wingtrim.htm.

I donate all trapped HOSP (except those I retain as decoys) to a local raptor recovery center.

Bet from CT



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 11:23 AM
Subject: RE: HOSP - Nestbox Claiming

Paula wrote: I am now of the opinion that if you find a nest start and capture the male
before he attracts a female, the box is ready for a native bird. If you
come upon a completed nest that is packed to the rafters, he has attracted a
female (as she is the one who completes the nest) and she may bond
aggressively with the box as well. In such situations, I now reset trap
after catching the male and try to catch her as well. Has anyone else on the list noticed evidence
of strong female HOSP bonding with a nestbox?

Paula, that is very interesting. My HOSP population is so low now that I've only had one nest
attempt, so I'm having a hard time gathering additional info on HOSP! (this is a good thing)

This year, there was one HOSP nest but no eggs. I only caught the male and the female disappeared.
I think just about every time in the past when I have caught a male and didn't get the female before
or almost immediately afterwards, I seldom if ever got the female. However, I usually get them
before the egg laying stage.

I have one rogue male HOSP flying around right now doing damage - it appears he has taken out at
least one TRES nest full of eggs, and has removed 2 of the 3 titmouse eggs from my box that had the
nestcam (after it was apparently abandoned by the female - blog at
http://www.sialis.org/cam.htm#blog). Interestingly, he took 1 egg one day and 1 egg the next. The
third is still there. I always keep sparrow spookers on all bluebird nests so no trouble there. I
have the ground trap out but no decoys, so it's tough to catch him, as he has apparently not claimed
a nestbox on my trail.

Bet from CT



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:26 PM
Subject: RE: HOSP - Nestbox Claiming

Bet/Paula,

I have only had one HOSP in the box with the Van Ert trap,,, There were two females and a male on the box when she went in and set off the trap. The two males took off like a bat our heck and the box has been ignored ever since.
Not sure if this is typical, have you had this experience and if so what did you do to attract them back to the box. I have taken the trap out and has been out for 2 weeks now and still no HOSP are interested in the box.

I ma having better luck now with the DRST. I caught 3 over the weekend and I have gotten one each day this week except yesterday. I am going to remove the males tonight and just leave the females out. Hoping this will help attract more males.

Denise
Parkville, MD



From: roy pischer [mailto:tlp4456"at"msn.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:53 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP - Nestbox Claiming

Denise, I had the same experience! We switched an EABL nest box that a HOSP pair had claimed with the Van Ert Trap, and also moved the nest and HOSP eggs. The female immediately went into the trap. After we cleaned out the trap and replaced it, I kept thinking the male would start rebuilding the nest, but he never did. This was the nest box in the most remote corner of our farm.

Trudy Pischer
Willard, MO


From: Brucemac1"at"aol.com [mailto:Brucemac1"at"aol.com]
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: HOSP trapping question

Good Morning all.....

Trapping and saving HOSP, both male & female, is best accomplished with one of the repeating traps available today.

The idea is to trap, by whatever means, HOSP then place them in the retaining area available in most repeating traps. While in there, the captives will act as decoys and attract other HOSP of both sexes to your repeating trap.

To keep them alive and healthy, as long as possible, they must be kept fed and watered. I feed them white millet, a few sunflower seed chips, cracker crumbs. I also toss in a small handful of masonry sand for the birds to use as 'Grit' in their craws. Without the grit, they have a difficult time digesting their food.

I've had success keeping them alive for as long as three weeks. From time-to-time, I carefully remove the expired birds, taking care not to let the remaining HOSP escape.

If you're diligent about this trapping, you definitely will notice that HOSP will almost completely disappear from your yard.

Bruce Macdonald, SW Ontario, south of Detroit/Windsor



From: thcri"at"qwest.net [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP trapping question

So far this year I have caught about 35 HOSP's. And now for two weeks I have not seen a HOSP around. Do I have them all, nope I am sure not. So even though I have no HOSP's left in my repeating trap I still have it out there hoping to catch another decoy. I have been able to keep them under my deck, in the shade with plenty of water and sunflower seeds for two weeks.

Steve Murphy


From: Brucemac1"at"aol.com [mailto:Brucemac1"at"aol.com]
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 1:58 PM
Subject: Fwd: HOSP trapping question

In a message dated 6/23/2006 1:56:45 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Brucemac1 writes:
Hello again.....

Steve's note reminded me, ...protection from the direct sun is also important. I cover 75% of the top of my repeater with a piece of 1/4" plywood, held in place with a small brick. That seems to provide adequate shade from the Summer sun and allows me to keep the HOSP out in the open and visible.
Bruce Macdonald SW Ontario


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:35 PM
Subject: RE: Two Barn Swallow Babies Thrown on the Ground

Gail,

I would suggest getting an inbox trap, Van Ert, throwing up a cheap nest box of some design and see if you can't trap that male that way.

My trapping is going pretty well. I have dispatched 7 sparrows and I have 7 decoys. Three of the decoys are in a bird cage by the trap and 4 are in the trap. I just caught the fourth one today. I am thinking of pulling the males and dispatching them to see if the remaining females will attract more males.

have you ever gotten a dove in your trap? I had one today and he is injured and I have him in a crate with food and water. I would like to take him to The rehabber but we have had torrential rain for the last four days and right now we are in a flash flood warning and told not to go out unless it is an emergency. I feel awful but hopefully he will heal and fly off in a couple of days. The wing is NOT broken since he can flap it, he somehow rubbed it raw trying to escape. He got stuck in the elevator compartment.

Denise



From: T LINEHAN [mailto:gtlinehan"at"msn.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:03 PM
Subject: Re: Two Barn Swallow Babies Thrown on the Ground

Denise,

Thanks for the advise. However, I did buy the Van Ert trap (4 of them) and have trap many HOSP with them. I currently have 4 empty nest boxes. They have looked at them but do not enter because some of their mates got caught and the one female or male that didn't get caught has become trap smart and won't go in the nest box. That's why I bought the ground trap. The two barn swallow babies on the ground did not have their head/eyes peck at. It got really hot here (100 degrees) could they have jumped out due to the heat? But, then I wonder what happened to the remaining unhatched eggs?

Do you have more luck with a male or female as a decoy? Right now I have a male, had to disposed the female she beat herself up pretty bad in the cage. They keep banging themselves in the cage.

No I haven't caught a dove. Hope he heals and your able to release him.

Gail
Grants Pass, OR



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:09 AM
Subject: Did I screw UP!

Last night the HOSP there were two male HOSP flying around and on my deck.
I also noticed they were flying around the two Peterson Boxs. I did not actually see them go in the boxes but checked the boxes for contents.
Pretty much all kind of trash in each on being built out of the heads of rye grass. I put my VanErts in last night and checked them before I went to bed but nothing in them. I don't know why but I left them in all night. This morning my original box that did fledge three had my male blue bird in it.
Man I am sick, it is ok and it fly away with no problems. But now have I scared it away from not coming back to the box and building or will he come around again???

Steve Murphy



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: Did I screw UP!

Steve, just chalk this up as a lesson learned the hard way. I learned some like that myself. They really stay with you too.

Be thankful that your Bluebird is safe and alive. Had he been in there all day long, he might not have been in as good a shape. I know down here in the heat where I am, he would not have been in too good a shape shut up all day in a nestbox.

This shows that checking the box diligently when inbox traps are there is of utmost importance and never to leave one in there unattended.

Don't beat yourself up and you may be surprised. Bluebirds are very tolerant and he might come back.

When a snake came and ate 4 of my babies and was curled up in the box when I opened it, I was certain that was the end of any nesting there for the season. However, after we cleaned all the grease out that the snake had gotten on his body going to the nestbox, in two days she was back building another nest. She gave me hope and encouragement as I was really beating myself up. BTW, a Kingston stovepipe guard went up immediately.

Good luck and hang in there.

Evelyn



From: thcri"at"qwest.net [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: Did I screw UP!

I think the thing that messed me up the most was the nest. I am not experienced but the nest did not look at all like it would be a Blue's nest. So I will watch from the deck tonight and see if anything is going in or out. My daughter did say the dad came up and ate meal worms so I am sure he it sticking around.

Steve Murphy


From: Colin Dykes [mailto:colindykes"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 3:03 AM
Subject: Re: BLUEBIRD-L digest 1570

Steve (Murphy).

I'm no expert but have used in-box traps (VanErts) to reduce the local HOSP population. I was equally shocked when one morning I found that I'd trapped a male Blue-bird. No harm done - it flew away (I then removed the trap) and later brought back a female who laid 6 eggs, which were subsequently tossed out of the nest by a male HOSP - all dead. As a novice blue-birder, I understand that you can buy "Blue-Bird excluders", if you want to set up a decoy trap.

I intend to buy one myself - i..e put up a dummy nesting box in an attractive location that HOSPs can get into, but is too small for BlueBirds. Put your in-nest trap in that one and you shouldn't inconvenience the bluebirds.

I also have a "repeater" HOSP trap, which, in the first month, caught only a male Oriole and then a female house finch (both promptly released without any apparent ill-effects).

Then yesterday, I woke up to find TEN House Sparrows in the trap. I left a male and a female in the trap, with shade, millet seeds and lots of water, as decoys, and disposed of the rest. No more HOSPs have shown up since - but at least I have the 4th weekend to monitor everything, and it looks as if we have a new pair of bluebirds defending the box.

I also have a meal-worm feeder which the BBs ignored for about two months, but finally twigged after I left it under the nesting box for a few days. Jeez, BBs don't appear to be anywhere near as bright as the chickadees, HOSPs, grackles or red-winged blackbirds. But once they figure it out, a "Jail-type" Meal-worm feeder is a lot of fun to watch. Yesterday the new female spent about 20 minutes in our bird-bath, getting completely soaked, and occasionally popping up into the feeder to snack on a meal worm, before heading back to the nest.

I'm still not sure if I should dispose of the old nest (abandoned just a week ago) and let the newcomers build a new one - is nest building an essential part of bonding and mating? or will pairs occupy an old nest?

Colin



From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 7:25 PM
Subject: Confused

The other day I caught the male blue bird in his original brood nest. I thought it was a HOSP because of the tall grass with the tops on them. That is why I put the VanErt in. But I am still thinking it is a HOSP that is in there. I see no one going in the nest but now I have three boxes of the same material. Should I go and take them out before mom and dad move on or if this actually is mom and dad's nest taking it out will they move on also?

Steve Murphy



From: Robert Barron [mailto:rebarron"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 8:54 PM
Subject: Re: Pictures Confused

Hi Steve,

What state are you in? I'm stumped. They don't look like Bluebird or Tree Swallow nests, but I've never seen a House Sparrow nest without feathers, garbage and other crap, and they usually look more woven and often have a woven entrance hole to the nest, but not always.

If there are no eggs and nothing has been using any of them for more than a week or two, I would remove all of them and see who tries to take the box. What does everyone else think? Did you send the pictures to Bet or Keith or one of the sages here?

Thanks,
Rob Barron



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 7:43 AM
Subject: catching bluebirds and House Sparrows

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
If you set enough sparrow traps in nestboxes with active House Sparrow nests you will catch some other species of birds. I have caught male bluebirds in active House Sparrow nests even when the sparrows had eggs and occasionally when there were baby sparrows in the nests. Reset the traps and caught the House Sparrows.

Each individual bird may react differently. I set up a brand new four trap/compartment box I intended to use for trapping Starlings one year and within minutes I trapped a male bluebird. I went out and released him and was raising the trap box back up to about 9 feet and while I was standing there pinning the telescoping pole the male bluebird DARTED back into a compartment and I had to release him again. I do not feed my bluebirds or spend much time with them so it was NOT like this bird was tame. I trapped him again that morning, removed all of the traps and after they built a nest in the box I reduced the entrance on that one compartment and trapped starlings in the other three holes/compartments when I had a few hours in the mornings to watch.

There are quite a few bird banders trapping adult bluebirds at nest boxes now. Again it depends on the individual bird AND the individual bird bander as to whether or not these birds will ever come back again to the same nestbox. I watched Harry Krueger trap male and female bluebirds in boxes and he had a female that he trapped for 6 years in the same box she had been born in.

Harry only used 60 nestboxes all during his banding years and he was in really poor bluebird habitat with many nestboxes in a tiny clearing in woods or the nestboxes mounted along utility lines/cleared right of ways but most of his boxes were mounted along road right of ways with heavy woods on either side of the road. He fledged upwards of 500 new baby bluebirds a year so there was intense pressure for nestboxes and he normally had 54>59 of his nestboxes in use during peak nesting months. These birds had no other nestboxes to move to and for him many of these birds nested in the same boxes year after year. Harry banded his birds in parts of three East Texas counties and found that these birds do not migrate out of his area BUT this was dense woodlands around Lake-O-the Pines a huge flood control lake at that time. This lake can in emergencies back water up into my county 35 miles away from the normal lake level. His bluebird pairs often stayed together over multiple years.

BUT as with any research like this he also had some birds he banded at a nestbox and after the young fledged they never showed up in any of his nestboxes again. Did Harry frighten them too much handling them, were they killed by predators, would these have returned IF he had not banded them?
Too many variables to be sure.

Rudy mentions the bird bander on the web who after only banding or capturing
18 female bluebirds that they have already come up with a conclusion that females leave the original nestsite.......Did they also capture the males to see if the male is still with the nestbox? How did they capture the female?
How long did it take them to capture, band and release each female. How did they handle the females and were they rough or gentle handling each bird.
How many adults have they banded and over how many years. How many other empty nestboxes are there around each original nestbox?

The problem with bluebird research is that some people want to put up a few nestboxes, observe for a few months and write a conclusion that same nesting season. You can spend a lifetime opening up nestboxes and watching bluebirds EVERY day and still learn something new every WEEK. I read things you all see and report to this list that I have NEVER actually seen ANY of my bluebirds do. That is why this hobby never gets old because the ending is never quite the same for any of these pairs of birds. KK


From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: HOSP attacks

Pam,

You are an awesome sentry, watching that box so close. Your observations are interesting too and in line with what I often see. Having an empty box in your yard is good practice because the HOSP may (hopefully) "try" to use it, but definitely not always. There are some intent on destroying the young and/or adults of an active nest. That is why the Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap (DRST) is the most powerful tool I have at home in backyard bluebirding. Although I use Van Ert inbox traps on my trails all the time (covert), I cannot use the DRST there (too overt). What works very well is I capture live HOSP on trail and take them home to the DRST where he/she goes to work. Last week, I put a mature male HOSP in the DRST and captured
9 juvenile females in 2 days. He may have been the Cary Grant of HOSP...
not sure.

The DRST works well with rogue HOSP attacks because a HOSP intent on nesting sees another male in his territory (in the DRST) or sees a prospective mate
(female) and finds his way in quickly. Once he is near the trap, that white bread bait calls to him and he takes a little ride in the elevator to join his buddies. I lent a DRST to the gentleman adjacent to one of my trails earlier this summer. I went to his house to claim it back, but when he told me he lost track of his HOSP trapping numbers after he captured 70 of them, I decided he should hold on to it a little longer.

I have easily captured HOSP in PUMA rigs, nesting high in house eaves, or nesting/roosting in pine trees. In the situations where I cannot reach, plopping a DRST with live decoys near the site invariably captures the birds I am after.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio


From: Steve and Cindy Groene [mailto:hausgroene"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 4:39 PM
Subject: Cowbirds

UGH!  If I had a dollar for every cowbird I”ve managed to trap in my repeating ground trap, I’d be rich by now!  However, the good news is I caught my first and second sparrow (both females) today!  I got the trap back in July but only managed to trap cowbirds and female redwinged blackbirds.  Then went on vacation, then the heatwave.  Got the trap out again two days ago, getting nothing but cowbirds until today.  Also caught a male house finch today.  So pretty!  I am overran w/ sparrows (as well as cowbirds) but they are wily creatures.

Cindy Groene

South Lyon, MI


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 10:37 PM
Subject: RE: Cowbirds

Congrats Cindy and now with a couple of decoys you should be able to get more. I have 8 females in my trap right now as I dispatch of the males almost immediately. I never seem to get a second male if I have a male but when I remove one, I seem to get them faster. I think I have trapped about 25 so far and I am seeing fewer and fewer HOSP whereas I used to see 20-30 a day.
 

Denise


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz "at"charter.net]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 9:01 AM
Subject: Warning on storing ground traps

When storing the trap in an outdoor shed etc., do not leave any food in it, and use a twist tie or cable tie to wire it open. That way if a creature (mouse, native bird) goes in it, it will not die inside. 

I just heard of someone who went to pull their trap out of an open garage and was horrified to find two starved mice and a dead carolina wren inside.  The trap had a little bit of cracked corn in it, but no water.  

Bet from CT


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz "at"charter.net]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 9:44 AM
Subject: Training bluebirds to eat suet

Hi Cher, yes thanks, I am trying that after I read your tip in your Bluebird Nut newsletter.

I have rearranged my home office so I can look out the window all day (another way to reduce my already dismal productivity) but can't tell whether the bluebirds are just selecting the worms, or are also eating the suet. The suet on top of the feeder disappears, but it may be the titmice or other birds taking it.

I do see a lot of berry poop on the boxes. I let pokeweed grow everywhere this year. It also looks like its going to be a great winterberry crop, although I don't know when those berries are ready for eating.

Bet from CT


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper "at"bayou.com]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 11:16 AM
Subject: RE: Training bluebirds to eat suet

I never did start feeding mealworms to my bluebirds and have never had a problem with them eating the raisins. They love the chunky peanut butter ball with oats too. It was 83% here yesterday and I saw some sort of yellow jacket buzzing over the raisins when a Bluebird was on the feeder and he chased it away.

My backyard blues love the raisins so much, they come for a snack during the summer!

Evelyn
Delhi, LA


From: Susan Wenzel [mailto:siouxzieq_0"at"cox.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:25 AM
Subject: Duel

A Bluebird pair has been checking out the bird house in my backyard (we fledged three babies from it last year). And, we have another house in the front yard that we put up to distract the HOSP that seem to be around (we addled their eggs last year). But, recently, the HOSP, a Chickadee pair and the Bluebird pair have also been looking at the same front house. I am not sure who is going to win in his situation but know if either the blues or the Chickadees move in, something will have to be done about the HOSP. I have a trap but don't want to install it in that house in case I accidentally get the wrong bird in it. Any ideas?

Susan (Virginia Beach)


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:51 AM
Subject: RE: Duel

Could you put up another box somewhere in the front yard as another deterrent with the trap in it? You still might get a native cavity nester, but you can always turn it loose. If you use a mesh laundry bag, you can see what you have very easily.

Usual stories are that the HOSP's win if no action is taken. I wouldn't want to take chances.

Evelyn
Delhi, LA


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:55 AM
Subject: Re: Duel

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

You would need to install a nestbox with a 1&3/16" or 1&1/8" round entrance hole for the chickadee as this will stop the sparrows and bluebirds from entering. The chickadee will not stand a chance even against the bluebird.

You can install a nestbox with a 1&3/8" entrance hole that would allow the chickadee and House Sparrow to enter and hope that the chickadee accepts the special box and the house sparrow accepts this new box and the bluebird only guards the regular "bluebird" box. You could then trap the sparrow in what ever box it chooses.

I would guess if you do nothing you still have a 50-50 chance of the Bluebirds winning and building a nest. KK


From: Maynard Sumner [mailto:m-r-sumner"at"juno.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: Duel

Susan,

One time I had a box that the Hosp and Bluebird were trying for.
I put the trap in and the Bluebird got in the trap. I went back out and let him out. By the time I got back in the house he was back in the trap. Before I let him out, I told him the trap was to get rid of the HOSP and for him to not get into it. I got back in the house and saw him setting on top of the box. The HOSP did go in the trap and the Bluebird used the box that year. Now, your Bluebirds may not be the same way. All Bluebirds are not the same.

Maynard Sumner
Flint, MI


From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:00 PM
Subject: RE: Duel

Susan,
You always run the risk of trapping the wrong bird when using a trap. This is why you must be able to monitor the trap closely. If you catch the wrong bird, you simply release it.
In my experience, HOSP will always win, one way or another, if not dealt with in a timely fashion.
I've never known them to leave the other birds alone, even if they're given there"own space".
Sorry. I wish it tweren't true.
DR


From: Susan Wenzel [mailto:siouxzieq_0"at"cox.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: Duel

Thank you everyone for the advice. I bought a Chickadee/Wren house toady at Wildbirds Unlimited. We'll see who actually uses it not - hopefully the Chickadees. Funny, I never considered the HOSP to be so malevolent prior to attracting Bluebirds...at least there only seems to be one male around...not flocks of them.

Susan


From: Kathleen Arnold [mailto:koscharn"at"suddenlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:18 PM
Subject: Trapping Sparrows in Martin Houses

I don't (yet) have a martin house, but I know some people have had good luck by fastening a nestbox to the pole and setting a trap in it. When the martins harass the house sparrow trying to drive him away, he often goes down for safety and tries the house on the pole.

Like the nuthatches mentioned earlier, a lot of birds start high and move down when they see it's safe. When I used a repeating trap with decoys to catch house sparrows, I had the best luck if they could sit on something higher nearby, then hop down to the trap after they decided it was safe.

Kate Arnold
Paris, Texas


From: Tree Greenwood [mailto:doctree"at"crosslink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:39 PM
Subject: Re: Trapping Sparrows in Martin Houses

Hi, Kate, Paula and all,

The very BEST sparrow trap (and in a larger size, Starling trap) is the 'tipping can' style. If you're handy, see: http://www.abirdshome.com/pm/spartrap.htm

Some sparrows get caught in the larger traps that are intended for Starlings but frightened House Sparrows flutter up in the larger trap causing the can to rise back up and let them escape out the entry hole. To get sparrows, the trap needs to react fast with just the weight of the HOSP but reset slowly.

Whenever possible, I trap all the EUST and HOSP that I can. Unfortunately, the traps aren't set most of the time because of my work hours. Traps have to be closely monitored because native birds do go into them to check things out. Can't leave a Bluebird trapped with a bunch of PO'ed sparrows!
Last year, a Tree Swallow went into a nestbox with a Van Ert trap so many times that I eventually took the trap out and let him have the box. He found a mate and fledged five from that trap box.
He was the tamest and least protective TRES that I've ever hosted.

I also have a couple of air rifles with scopes for S&S that I can't trap. Now I need a bit of time to re-zero the scopes so I can consistently hit HOSP rather than the houses and gourds {grumble}.

Take care,

R J 'Tree' Greenwood
Catlett VA


From: bluebirder2838 [mailto:bluebirder2838"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:50 PM
Subject: Van Ert PVC Universal House Sparrow Trap

Hi All--

I just learned that Floyd Van Ert has invented a universal house sparrow trap made for PVC nestboxes. 
Four years ago I wrote to the List asking for advice in placing a universal trap for house sparrows in my Van Ert PVC box and the group consensus was that there was not a universal trap made for a PVC box.  I don’t know when Floyd designed it, but I just looked at his website and found the trap.  Here is the URL:  http://vanerttraps.com/pvc.htm

My Van Ert PVC box has been used for the past four years by chickadees.  I love that nestbox!  I am adding a Gilbertson PVC box to my trail this year, along with a Gilwood wooden box.

I still recommend a horizontal box as it is still a hugely popular box on my trail. 

I just put a hole restrictor on one of my NABS style boxes in the hopes of letting white breasted nuthatches have a good chance of keeping their favorite box.  You may remember that they have successfully nested in that box on my land for several years.  One year they were nearly wiped out by a rogue house sparrow (HOSP killed three and three survived a vicious pecking because of a rehabber), and last year they abandoned because bumblebees moved into their partially finished nest. 

If I am so fortunate as to have them use that nestbox again this year, I promise to take photos of the nest and the eggs for Bet’s website.

Donna in Marlborough, CT


From: Ruth [mailto:r.r.brinc"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 11:10 AM
Subject: HOSP Overwhelming Again!

I have seen Bluebirds here as early as January and a pair has been checking out one of my four boxes.  As usual we have many HOSP again and one pair is building a nest in one of the boxes.  Will wait a while and destroy it.  In the meantime, we are trapping the HOSP in the DELUXE REPEATING SPARROW TRAP made by Blaine Johnson.  We caught four HOSP in two days.  This is a great sparrow trap and we caught so many last year that we were able to have two successful EABL, Chickadee and Tree Swallow fledglings.  This trap is a must have if you want success with Bluebirds. To see information on this trap go to www.sparrowtraps.net.
 
Ruth Brinckman
Souderton,  E. PA
25 miles north of Phila.

From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 11:57 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP Overwhelming Again!

Ruth,

It is great that you are having success with DRST. I do not destroy HOSP nests until I catch the male and I usually catch them within minutes with a Van Ert Universal inbox trap. During nesting season, I catch many more HOSP with the inbox traps than I do with the DRST. That is because I monitor a lot of boxes and set the traps as soon as I see a HOSP nest start. All my nestboxes are fitted with mounting screws for Van Erts so I can just slide them in within seconds.

I approach my trails with eyes and ears open. If I hear one "CHEEP"ing, I know he is excited about one of my boxes. If I catch the female first, I reset the trap and catch the male. Once the male is gone, I empty the box of nesting material.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio


From: wensuz"at"isp.com [mailto:wensuz"at"isp.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 12:53 PM
Subject: Interesting HOSP trap

Hi Gang, I just happened upon this web page in the midst of my
browsing: http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/per/spar1.htm. It shows a pretty ingenuous HOSP trap on a nest box. I still like my Mel Bolt
trap, however. -Wendy-N Central OH


From: Robert Barron [mailto:rebarron"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 8:32 AM
Subject: Re: Those dang HOSP

I've had good luck sneaking up to the box in the dark with a fishing net to catch them when they fly out.  I've also covered the entrance with clear packing tape while they were away and it kept them occupied long enough to get a bead on them.
 
Rob Barron
From: T LINEHAN [mailto:gtlinehan"at"msn.com]
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: Those dang HOSP

Autumn:
 
We have put many Van Ert trap's in a side opening nest box. At dusk we remove nest and eggs when the HOSP leave to roost, I use a short handled phillips head screw driver. The HOSP's usually return early in the morning around 6:30 AM-7:00 AM. All of our nest boxes have the mounting screws ready for the Van Ert traps if needed, just loosen them enough to slide the trap up and down.
 
Tom Linehan

Grants Pass, OR


Subject: Re: Those dang HOSP
From: "Paula Ziebarth" <paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 10:37:48 -0400

Autumn,

No problem. You need a short, stubby phillip's head screwdriver (about 2-3"
long). Merely remove the entire nest and set aside. I set the Van Ert in
the box the way I would want it when it is sprung shut - hold it up there
and use it as a guide. I slide it up or down a little so my top screw will
fit nicely into one of the kerfs. Screw it in with the stubby screw
driver - pretty tight, but so you can slide trap out again. With trap still
in box, set your second lower guide screw and screw it in. I leave this one
looser than top screw. Set your trap. Replace top part only of nest,
making sure that the trap can spring shut without getting hooked up on
nesting material. Close box and leave strand of grass sticking out the
hole. You can scatter some of the remaining nesting material in front of
box if you like to entice him to add it to the nest. You should have him or
her quickly. The size of the nest implies that there is a female involved
also, so reset immediately. The male is the worst and the one who really
"bonds" with the box, but I have seen females kill adult TRES in boxes and
have had them bond with a box as well - best to catch both if you can.
Female often abandons nest after male is caught so you can empty everything
out if you haven't caught her within a few hours.

Trapping at night works well. It is extremely easy and before I had a sack
full of Van Ert traps, during the spring I would make "night runs" on the
trail, simply stuffing small rags into the holes of boxes that were known to
be occupied by HOSP (kind of a poor man's Van Ert trap). It is very
effective if you have HOSP roosting in boxes at night.

For foolproof catching them once they are trapped in box, I like to use a
mesh laundry bag and cinch it tightly over box and around pole before I open
up the box. They will often hunker down and remain still, but know that if
your Van Ert is sprung, you have one in there. I shake box of tap on it and
they usually fly into the bag. (If they do not, I carefully reach under and
grab them in the box.) You can grap him through the mesh with one hand,
reach in with other and grab him for removal. Hold on tight.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio


From: Hamilton63"at"aol.com [mailto:Hamilton63"at"aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 4:42 PM
Subject: repeating ground trap white throated sparrows

I am catching more white throated sparrows than HOSP.  It is a full time job to catch the WTS
 to release them.  Guess there's no way to prevent this.  We have a small farm and there are many HOSP....lots of other cavity dwellers also.  It is for the latter I trap the HOSP.   This is the first year I have had all these white throated sparrows...(with small yellow dot at eye) go into the trap.   Originally, I was quite relieved that the birds to enter the trap most WERE HOSP..(and some female house finches to release.)   If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate.  (I have cracked corn in the trap, as this is what the HOSP like in the chicken coop.)

Thank you, Christie


From: Cher [mailto:bluelist"at"localnet.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 5:53 PM
Subject: Re: repeating ground trap white throated sparrows

Christie,

You can try switching your bait. Try white millet, white bread, or even such odd things as dry cat food or popped popcorn - you may have to experiment a bit to find something that doesn't appeal to the WTS and still appeals to the HOSP. Now, during nesting season, you can try feathers, or bits of nesting material hot glued to a bottle cap placed in the bait compartment.

Moving your trap may help also. Is it directly on the ground? Try elevating it just a little bit - on top of an old picnic bench, on an inverted plastic bin, or astride a couple of big planters.

Some people have had success moving the trap into an open shed or barn, if one is available.

If you've caught HOSP, leave one inside as a decoy. It may discourage natives from going in, although it won't prevent it.

Those are a few ideas you can try.

Cher ~ Finger Lakes region, NY State


From: Shari Kastner [mailto:smk"at"teamv.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 10:04 PM
Subject: HOSP caught, but then escaped

We had a warmer day today and my blues are finally back, but this afternoon I saw a male and female HOSP in the box where the blues have started to build a nest.  So I took out my new Van Ert trap and installed it on the screws I had put in the box earlier.  Soon after I walked away, the trap was tripped.  My husband and I put a mesh laundry bag over the whole front of the box then opened the door (we will always cover the complete box from now on).  While we were trying to get a grip on the female HOSP fluttering about in the bag, she escaped! 

 
1. Will that couple come back to the same box after being caught once?
 
2. All the commotion made quite a mess of the blue's nest.  Will they just start over or try to repair the damage?
 
Thanks,
 
Shari Kastner

New Berlin, WI


From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 7:15 PM
Subject: RE: repeating ground trap white throated sparrows

Christine,
Think of more junk food as bait. Like hamburger buns, popcorn,etc.
Also use chicken feathers, bits of paper, string,etc.
Good Luck!
DR


From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 7:27 PM
Subject: RE: HOSP caught, but then escaped

Shari,
A: 1. Most will. Some won't.
A: 2. They will probably just repair the damage.
Good Luck!
DR



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:56 PM
Subject: RE: repeating ground trap white throated sparrows

Hi Christie,
 
You could try raising the trap up about 6 - 12 inches. that may help. I have mine raised about 8-10 inches with legs I just screwed into the corners. Works well for me.
 
 
Denise Farmer
Parkville, MD
From: Shari Kastner [mailto:smk"at"teamv.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 9:55 AM
Subject: HOSP incident and Weather

As I am looking out the window, I see the EABLs are rebuilding their nest today.  I have not seen them remove any of their nest that I stuffed back in their box after the HOSP incident, nor have I seen the HOSP back at their box.  I did see some EUST there yesterday that Mr. Blue took down to the ground for about 10 seconds. ....
 
Shari Kastner

New Berlin, WI


From: Bob
> Walshaw
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 8:50 PM
> Subject: Re: House Sparrows
>
> Thanks. They are the rats of the bird world, and real friends of our
> Bluebirds and small cavity nesters will trap and eliminate them as
> well as educating other bluebirders and helping them to do the same. I
> have found it helpful in working with women to show them how to catch
> a trapped house sparrow in a large clear plastic bag and then to swing
> the bag forcefully against a solid object to instantly and humanely
> kill the house sparrow.
> Then the dead sparrow can be dumped out of the bag without having to
> be touched. Bluebird Bob, NE OK.


Subject: House Sparrow Elimination : (
From: "bluebirder2838"
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 21:05:32 -0400
...

B.Bob, and List,

I had a rogue HOSP male escape on me once (after he'd rampaged through a
nestbox of white breasted nuthatch nestlings; boy was I more than ready to
catch him) because I used a dry cleaning bag to catch him with. He ripped
the dry cleaning bag open with his raptor-like beak and was gone before I
knew it.

I DO NOT recommend using dry cleaning gauge bags on HOSPs. I've switched to
mesh bags for strength, and I can still positively ID the bird. I know
clear garbage bags are sold and I wonder if they are of a sufficiently thick
gauge to contain HOSP. I've never tried them. Comments invited!

Donna in Marlborough, CT



From: Autumn L. Kruer [mailto:autumnk"at"iglou.com]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 8:20 AM
Subject: capture bags

Well, since I make historic clothing, I have endless yards of tulle and netting.   That’s what my bags are being made of. ...


From: bluebirder2838 [mailto:bluebirder2838"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 8:26 AM
Subject: RE: capture bags

Bluebirds are building a nest in the newest nestbox I installed on my trail—a Gilwood---glad they waited to start

Autumn,
Have you considered making bags that others could purchase?  Maybe you could team up with Floyd Van Ert and sell them via his website that sells his Van Ert universal traps, and Uncle Blaine’s website that sells the DRSTs. 

I would buy several.

Donna in Marlborough, CT


From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: House Sparrow Elimination : (

Donna,

Mesh laundry bag with drawstring closure is in the backpack I carry on the trail. It is one of my best "tools". I love it. I've never tried clear plastic garbage bag. I have used regular garbage bag, but too unwieldy.
Laundry bag is MUCH better IMHO.

paula z
Powell (Central) Ohio


From: bluebirder2838 [mailto:bluebirder2838"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 9:59 AM
Subject: RE: House Sparrow Elimination : (

Paula,

I agree that a mesh laundry bag is the best. Bluebird Bob had suggested the use of a "clear plastic bag" and I wanted to warn against using dry cleaner bags. When my HOSP emergency occurred, I had not armed myself with a mesh bag and didn't own clear garbage bags (I use the white ones). So, of course, when I successfully trapped the HOSP, I grabbed the only clear item large enough, which was a dry cleaner clothes cover....and sorrowfully, that male HOSP broke out of the bag, flew away to possibly claim other victims, AND educated about Van Ert traps due to my bungling.

I want the List folk to learn from my newbie mistake!

I don't own a mesh laundry bag that is large enough to completely cover a nestbox. That is why I was asking Autumn to consider making them and selling them to interested folk (me). In the meantime, will anyone post a source for LARGE mesh laundry bags? I've looked in Target, Linens&Things, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lowe's, Home Depot (I refuse to shop at Wal Mart for activist reasons).

Donna in Marlborough, CT


From: Vicki Butler [mailto:butlerrowe"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 11:40 AM
Subject: RE: House Sparrow Elimination mesh sack source

Hi Paula:
 
I purchased a large mesh bag at REI Recreational Equipment Incorporated.  REI.com
It is tough enough to hold EUST so I imagine it will hold a HOSP.  Go to REI and then do a search for nylon mesh storage sack.
 

Vicki B


From: wensuz"at"isp.com [mailto:wensuz"at"isp.com]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: House Sparrow Elimination : (

> 60s today and sunny after a record breaking Nor'easter starting on
> Sunday;
> 5+ inches of rain fell in my area
>
> B.Bob, and List,
>
> I had a rogue HOSP male escape on me once (after he'd rampaged through
> a nestbox of white breasted nuthatch nestlings; boy was I more than
> ready to catch him) because I used a dry cleaning bag to catch him
> with. He ripped the dry cleaning bag open with his raptor-like beak
> and was gone before I knew it.
>
> I DO NOT recommend using dry cleaning gauge bags on HOSPs. I've
> switched to mesh bags for strength, and I can still positively ID the
> bird. I know clear garbage bags are sold and I wonder if they are of
> a sufficiently thick gauge to contain HOSP. I've never tried them.
> Comments invited!
>
> Donna in Marlborough, CT


From: <wensuz"at"isp.com>
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 5:05 PM
> Subject: Re: House Sparrows
>

I use the Mel Bolt in-box traps, and I've always reached into the cage trap to grasp the HOSP and remove it in order to dispatch it. But I may now consider using a bag of some sort as well, because it would be a lot better not to have to touch the scourge in the first place (less
messy, too). I would also like to know what would work best.
-Wendy,NCentral,OH


From: Kathleen Arnold [mailto:koscharn"at"suddenlink.net]
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 6:19 PM
Subject: RE: House Sparrow Elimination : (

Clear plastic drum liners are heavy enough--I use them all the time.

Kate Arnold
Paris, Texas


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2007 1:10 PM
Subject: RE: House Sparrow Elimination : (

I prefer the mesh laundry bags. I have the large and medium sized for two different sized boxes

Denise Farmer
Parkville, MD


From: Autumn L. Kruer [mailto:autumnk"at"iglou.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 10:55 PM
Subject: RE: Before it's too late

Actually, between my husband and I, we have had complete success with shotguns and HOSP for many years.  We get one or two HOSP show up each year.  This is the first year we haven’t gotten them with a shotgun, which is my fault because I missed him by a hair the first shot and he’s now wary anytime he sees us at all.  Plus the cold spell kept me inside where I couldn’t see them taking over a box until they were well attached to it (during nesting season I usually move my work station on the porch to guard).  I really don’t have an extra $50 for a repeating trap right now but did buy an extra box today to put the Van Ert in.  I’ll be placing it right next to HOSP box (and which will replace the HOSP box for next year).   It’s too hard to place the trap in the occupied box now – the HOSP have the box filled to the very top with junk and it’s a side-opening box.  

There are four eggs in the bluebird box and we fashioned a sparrow spooker today with a tobacco stick that my husband drilled a hole through, then put a wire hanger shaped in a triangle through it, secured the triangle upright with a hose clamp, dropped it in the pole and secured it with a screw, then hung the blue and silver mylar.  The bluebirds were back in the box within minutes.  No TRES eggs yet.  They haven’t even built up a nest, but keep going in and out of the box paired with the one the HOSP is in.  So I didn’t put a spooker up for the TRES (since the sites I’ve read about them said not to unless there’s an egg).  I really want to get rid of these HOSP as soon as possible before the TRES give up and go elsewhere.

Question about repeating sparrow traps:   Do other birds ever get caught in them?  I was curious what would happen if a bluebird and a HOSP were trapped in one at the same time and the visual is ugly.

Autumn in Kentucky


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 9:41 PM
Subject: Re: HOSP Infested Trails

Just start trapping early (house sparrows start nesting and the males start claiming boxes well before the Bluebirds do) and keep at it whenever they start a nest in a box and you will be able to create a nearly house sparrow free oasis for our native birds. Bluebird Bob, NE OK.


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 10:02 PM
Subject: Re: Before it's too late

Just a comment on your "box filled to the top comment."

You can always remove enough of the house sparrow nest to make room for a trap. Leave a feather or some grass sticking out and they will be sure to come back. Good luck! Bluebird Bob, NE OK


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:38 AM
Subject: Trapping HOSP and box design

I'm still behind on emails, but noticed yesterday's exchange on HOSP. 

As I've indicated before, trapping on the trail around my house has worked extremely well for me.  I use a Van Ert nestbox trap as soon as a HOSP tries to claim a box, and ground trap using the DRST during active nesting season.   I humanely euthanize trapped birds and donate them to a raptor recovery center.  I find this is a permanent solution that immediately frees up nestboxes for use by native birds.  After years of continuous trapping, controlling what I feed and using a Magic Halo on feeders, HOSP have gone from being predominant to nearly non-existent. 

I remain vigilant to deal with birds that may be breeding 1.24 to 5 miles away and moving into the area of my trail.  By using trapping in conjunction with fishing line (to deter HOSP before they claim a box) and sparrow spookers (to keep HOSP away once an egg has been laid), I've never yet lost any adult bird, or any bluebird nestlings or bluebird eggs to HOSP.  (I did lose a nesting of TRES in the first year.)  Last year I had an aggressive male that was difficult to trap that might have taken out one nest of TRES eggs (they successfully re-nested) and some TUTI eggs from an abandoned nest. 

So basically HOSP have gone from being my number 1 problem to pretty much a non-problem, far behind House Wren egg attacks and Paper Wasps.  But if anyone had seen the HOSP population in my area when I started, many probably would have advised me not even to try to put up a bluebird box. But I didn't know any better, and now have bluebirds everywhere and a lot of thrilled neighbors.

I have another trail at the closed landfill that is farther away from houses and farms.  (My rural town is pretty big - 62 square miles).  Saw one pair of HOSP there for a few days, put a sparrow spooker, haven't seen another since in 3 years.

As I've posted, on a third small HOSP-infested trail (abandoned by someone else and adopted by me) I’m trying out Linda's two-hole boxes.  Trapping is not for everyone!   As we know, there are boatloads of people out there who put a box up and forget about it. If there really is a box design that deters HOSP or allows bluebirds to successfully nest despite HOSP in the area, I'M ALL FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW, I have not noticed ANY deterrent effect with the Gilwood box.  On the other hand, I have not had a HOSP attempt in a Gilbertson box.  Keith made a good point about the slot boxes.  I only have one, and House Wrens seem to like it, but that's also a location issue.

I guess my bottom line is that if you have HOSP, there ARE options and you CAN have bluebirds if you're serious about it.

Bet from CT
HOSP control options: http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:04 AM
Subject: RE: Trapping HOSP and box design

Bet, you are a shining example of how determination and using all the skills you can find to make a situation better.

What I am talking about and also, I think Paul is, means if a person tries for several years in an area and finds the percentage rate still going down, that is a red flag. This is the case with the person I have told about with trying to raise Bluebirds in a snake infested area.

In my experience with people, most of them, especially as beginners, think they just hang up the box and like magic, the rest takes care of itself.

Evelyn
Delhi, LA


From: Cher [mailto:thebbnut"at"hughes.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: Trapping HOSP and box design

Bet, re: your comment on never having a HOSP attempt in a Gilbertson box.

I have four boxes on my property - two Gilbertson, two basic wood boxes.
Although I've never had a *nesting* attempt by a HOSP in a Gilbertson box, I've seen plenty of HOSP attempts to "claim" these boxes - in fact both earlier in the spring and again last week, it was the Gilbertson box that attracted the HOSP and allowed me to trap them with the Van Ert PVC box trap. Because they never get any further than going into the box for a look-see, I can't say for certain whether they would or wouldn't attempt to nest there.

HOSP may not prefer to *nest* in PVC boxes, but that doesn't stop them from claiming, invading, or destroying Bluebird nests in them. Using them shouldn't lull anyone into a false sense of security. HOSP control will still be necessary.

Cher ~ Finger Lakes region, NY State


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: Re: HOSP Infested Trails

Our bluebird trail over the years averages fledging 4 bluebirds per nesting attempt up through about May 7. This is normally a little more time than the very first nesting attempts. Then the May 7>July7 we will average about 3 bluebirds per nesting attempt. Then the July 7 >Sept. 7 time frame will average 2 bluebirds per nesting attempt. (A really bad/extreme weather month can drop one whole bird from any of these totals.)
 
For us a nesting attempt is when the bluebirds lay at least one egg in a nestbox..Sometimes they abandon nestboxes before the clutch is complete but this would still be an attempt.
 
The early season is when we normally get the largest clutches of eggs on average. Later in the year bluebirds often lay one less egg in their clutch by mid summer and on into the heat of summer.
 
Over all, hot weather is the biggest problem we face later in the summer as birds will often abandon nests with eggs late in the summer.
 
Predators also take a few more nests later in the spring when they have young to feed. Snakes are more active when nights stay above 70*F.
 
We always lose a few nestboxes with eggs or babies when land owners begin mowing fields with tractors or they bull doze entire fence lines to clear out brush and trees or remove old fence lines.
 
We have nestboxes spread out over about 180 miles of roads. We often lose entire trails when a section of highway is widened.
 
We move nestboxes from trails when predation or landowners change the use of the land. We often remove nestboxes from a location for a year or two before returning boxes to that spot. We shift boxes 1/4 mile or so depending on the situation.
 
Sunday we checked the 120 nestboxes or so that we have in the city limits of Mt. Pleasant. We trapped 17 House Sparrows out of 10 different nestboxes. We only had 2 pairs of Starlings where three years ago we had 9 pairs and last year 7 pairs of starlings. (We have up quite a few flicker nestboxes and boxes that woodpeckers enlarged the holes which we don't repair until June or so.) It has been two years since we lost a pair of bluebirds in these boxes to House Sparrows. There are about 12 more of my nestboxes that appear to have House Sparrows staking claim to them. We have more chickadees and titmice this year in town than bluebirds in my nestboxes. Although within 8 blocks of my house we have located four more pairs of bluebirds nesting in other peoples nestboxes in side or back yards.
 
We have up a LOT of empty nestboxes and surprisingly we only had wasps in two nestboxes, bumble bees in a couple of others. Out in the country at my retired Game Wardens house he has up two of my "perfect" bluebird nestboxes. Both have been empty all spring. BUT he showed me his pair of bluebirds that are nesting in the top of his tractor shed, up on a ledge. Last year they nested in his mailbox. KK

From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 9:25 AM
Subject: RE: Trapping HOSP and box design

Excellent points Cher. Wendell had a great photo of a HOSP pair in a Gilbertson. I have a nice shot of HOSP using a slot box here:
http://www.sialis.org/picture0801hosp.htm

I haven't had a HOSP attempt to nest in a Gibertson, but I also don't have hardly any HOSP any more.... The one pair that tried to claim a box last year and one male this year both went for Gilwoods (small interior, upside down mouse hole entrance.)

Bet


From: Autumn L. Kruer [mailto:autumnk"at"iglou.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 6:48 PM
Subject: Well, I caught something - a bluebird

Geeze, I set the second box about 2 from the HOSP box with the trap, thinking theyd have to investigate, and caught a male bluebird.  The double-tulle bag worked well and he fluttered out when I let the bottom loose. 

Autumn, still hunting the HOSP


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: Trapping HOSP and box design

Thanks Bet. My experience has been similar. I rarely lose birds to House sparrows but I work hard to stay ahead of them. One point of disagreement - I would not use a box that was totally house sparrow proof. I prefer to trap them as I know that this saves other birds lives in natural cavities. Bluebird Bob, NE OK


From: Autumn L. Kruer [mailto:autumnk"at"iglou.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 2:17 AM
Subject: RE: capture bags

You can’t purchase them but I’ll make them for you for free (well, maybe postage, if too many people want them).  I have about 20 yards of tulle right now.  I doubled it to sew a “capture bag” that HOSP can‘t easy peck through.  E-mail me your snail mail and I’ll make you a few of them.

Autumn in Kentucky


From: DrDodson"at"aol.com [mailto:DrDodson"at"aol.com]
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 9:43 AM
Subject: Bluebird and male house sparrow in same trap

Over the last week I have had house sparrows appear and start eating my mealworms.     I have a two compartment trap designed for martin house poles.   There is a picture of it here...   http://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/RTProduct.asp?SKU=NH-ST-1
It is designed so that the sparrow triggers the trap and then can move to a central holding area.   I baited it with millet and placed it near the meal worms, but after a week no action.   Out of frustration I baited it with mealworms, set it on top of my mealworm feeder and hoped to catch a sparrow.   I would only leave the trap set when I was home to watch it (which is unfortunately only early morning and mid to late evening during the week).   This morning, I caught a male house sparrow in one side of the trap and as I was heading out to deal with him a male eastern bluebird got caught in the other side of the trap.   Neither bird moved to the central holding area and I was right there to release the bluebird unharmed, but if I had not been, I worry that they could have both ended up in the central area and I am assuming the sparrow would have killed the bluebird. 

I post this as a warning to anyone else using this or similar types of traps and to see if others had advice or similar stories.

I also was curious if others have house sparrows eating mealworms.  

Jack Dodson
Jefferson City, Missouri

From: Cher [mailto:thebbnut"at"hughes.net]
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Bluebird and male house sparrow in same trap

I know that HOSP will eat mealworms with relish if given the opportunity. I wouldn't ever bait a trap with mealies - too much temptation for the natives. If white millet isn't working, try white bread instead, or the junky type of nesting material HOSP like, or try putting a little mirror in the bait area of the trap. Elevate the trap off the ground a little bit - place it on top of an upturned planter, or a little unused bench or table (washable, of course). You might also try putting the trap inside an open garden shed or garage or barn. HOSP love that, the natives, not so much.

Cher ~ Finger Lakes region, NY State


From: DrDodson"at"aol.com [mailto:DrDodson"at"aol.com]
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: Bluebird and male house sparrow in same trap

I was very reluctant to use the mealworms as bait as I knew it would increase the risk of trapping a native bird.    I want to stress that the trap was set only when I could keep an eye on it.   It was interesting to me that the titmice and black capped chickadees were able to land on the trip for the trap without triggering it.    The male house sparrow was obviously very wary of the trap and only went in after seeing the smaller birds going in and out safely and watching all of the meal worms disappearing.  

It was also interesting to me that the bluebirds and the house sparrows would eat any mealworms that fell to the ground and be doing this within a foot of each other without any obvious discord.  

One person wrote me off list that she only had house sparrows eating mealworms when they were feeding young.    There have been no house sparrow nests in any of my nestboxes this year and only one in my martin house last year.   If they have nests with young they are not in any of my boxes.   I also watch my barn for any house sparrow activity there.   If there is any, I have not been able to detect it.  

Jack Dodson
Jefferson City, Missouri

From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:04 AM
Subject: HOSP trying to take over TRES nest

Well first there is not sign of my blu's returning. The males were here about 4 weeks ago for about a week and I have not seen them since. Others in our area have the nesting already. I have one box that was very successful last year and no one is touching it, even HOSP. So I am starting to think I won't have my first family this year maybe a second one.

But I do have TRES all over the place. I have a set in the back yard, I have a set on the side, and one set in my neighbors. One of the boxes has a nest in it already. This morning I watched about 6 TRES and a sparrow go at it. The sparrow is now in the box. I did put a trap in there and am watching. However, when ever I catch a HOSP in the box with a trap they poop all over the place inside there. It will mess up that nest. Do I remover the nest and hope the TRES will rebuild?

Steve Murphy


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: HOSP trying to take over TRES nest

A little bird poop would not make those Tree Swallows abandon their nestbox.
They would normally repair any damage the sparrow will do while trapped and continue on with their nest.

Sounds like you need to add about another dozen or so nestboxes on your street or nearby. I think all of the people living on your street would enjoy the birds a little more if you installed and checked some nestboxes in their yards:-)) By the end of summer you can have all of them trained on how to monitor the boxes, they can share your sparrow traps and then next year you can move on to the next street or another mile down the road in each direction.

Right now I have Eastern Bluebirds nesting in my four compartment starling trap box mounted nine feet off the ground. They have babies about 9 days old. Nesting right next to them I have a pair of House Sparrows that also selected this trap box, built a nest and have been incubating eggs for about a week. House Sparrows have been busy guarding their entrance hole and coming and going for a couple of weeks while the bluebirds are busy feeding their young. The bluebirds are using an east facing entrance hole the House Sparrows the south facing entrance hole.

Email me privately if you want a couple of photos of this nestbox and interior shot of the bluebirds and sparrow nests. KK


From: Steve Murphy Home [mailto:thcri"at"qwest.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:47 AM
Subject: RE: HOSP trying to take over TRES nest

Well it worked out about as good as it could. I went out and put the trap in and then went into the house to watch. I only saw the female on top of the box and every so often she would try to go in but could not. I went back out there and sure enough I got the male. He is now in my repeating trap. I am still watching to see what the female does or if she will move on. The TRES have not come back but normally only in the morning do I see them anyway. Nest is dinged up pretty good but I think the TRES will remodel.

Steve Murphy


From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: Bluebird and male house sparrow in same trap

Jack,

My HOSP love mealworms. Many birds do. I would never bait a trap with mealworms because of the obvious problem of catching a native bird that loves them too. I am glad you were there to intervene quickly - no harm done. This time of year, I use white bread and/or HOSP nesting material in the trap. I have a trap just like yours. I also transfer (after a wing
trim) HOSP caught with Van Ert's in nestboxes and put them in central holding chamber (always with food and water) to entice others to join them.
The decoys work especially well and dissuade other native birds from coming near the trap.

Now, have I ever caught a native bird in a trap? Yes. My most interesting capture was with the ST-1 trap you have. I baited it with the top of a hamburger bun and caught a female Baltimore Oriole. That perplexed me until I looked at the bun more closely and realized the egg bun (color and shape) resembled an orange half. I had been setting out cut oranges for them and she thought this was one of those. She was immediately released and gave me a painful little nip to let me know she was not pleased at all with that fake orange. Now, all my bun bait is shredded so that won't happen again.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio
South Bass Island (northern) Ohio


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 5:58 PM
Subject: RE: HOSP trying to take over TRES nest

I would just remove say the top layer so the TRES don't have to start all over. Hope you get him

Denise Farmer
Parkville, MD


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: Hole Reducers / Titmice

Just a comment about the possibility of trapping Bluebirds. In catching those 47 house sparrows so far this year using the Huber type trap I have caught only one Carolina Chickadee (which was released unharmed) and no Bluebirds. I believe that the reason for this is that I never set a trap until the house sparrows have built a nest.
Bluebird Bob.


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:14 PM
Subject: RE: Hole Reducers / Titmice

I just find that bluebirds snoop in all boxes in their territory - even a HOSP-claimed box. I've had a TRES go into a box that a HOSP was nesting in also. Maybe the bluebirds here are snoopier than most :-)

Bet


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: Hole Reducers / Titmice

It does happen, but catching and eliminating house sparrows far outweighs that risk, and if you monitor your traps a few hours after they are set the "good" bird can quickly be released unharmed and a bit smarter. Bluebird Bob.


From: Pamela Ford [mailto:jpford"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 9:47 PM
Subject: Question about using DRST in nesting season

A question for the many of you who have experience using the Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap.  

I received one for Christmas and placed it out all winter  taking into consideration all the tips discussed here; how to position it elevated, where to place the seed, etc.  I rarely see HOSP in the winter.  I don’t feed millet and my neighbors don’t feed.  I didn’t catch anything but one wren (within 10 minutes of putting it outside while still on the deck before I could carry it to the yard!)

However, Monday of last week, I noticed that HOSP had taken over a nestbox in my backyard that the TRES were just starting to build a nest in.  The TRES don’t protect the box mid-day during this period of nesting (I wonder where they go, build in the morning, disappear most of the day, perch on the box late day).  Using a universal sparrow trap in the box, I quickly caught both female and male HOSP and rather than dispatching them, decided to place them in the DRST as decoys. 

Since that day I have been trapping between 4 and 6 additional HOSP each day!  Male and female!  I empty all but one male and female each evening (I’ve had to release 2 chipping sparrows and one Carolina wren) but keep catching more and more.  While ecstatic that I may be removing future HOSP problems with the nesting season just started here, I am also wondering if perhaps I am drawing too many HOSP to the yard.  I usually only see a few during the nesting season.

Do you think that they have been around all along without me seeing them, our could they be attracted by the other HOSP (they are not being vocal)?

Am I causing danger to the nesting TRES and EABL?

Pamela Ford


From: Steve and Cindy Groene [mailto:hausgroene"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:08 PM
Subject: RE: Question about using DRST in nesting season

I’ll let others weigh in on whether you are attracting them or not.  I’m not sure that is a bad thing, if you are attracting them to your trap.  My story is I ordered a DSRT last summer after I had my very first BB’s nest in my nestbox.  I had tons of HOSP.  I do have bird feeders w/ millet.  I have a variety of native sparrows that come to my feeders and I like it.  Last summer, between June and Oct, I trapped more than 50 HOSP.  I stopped counting at 50.  Its too cold in winter here, so I stopped trapping.  Saw sparrows off and on during the winter.  I hadn’t seen a single HOSP for several months until about a week ago.  A lone male came to my feeders.  I put my trap out but he hasn’t been back since.  I suspect I’ll get more HOSP after the first fledging occurs.  My DRST is waiting.

Cindy Groene

South Lyon, MI


From: Pamela Ford [mailto:jpford"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:16 PM
Subject: RE: Question about using DRST in nesting season

Thanks for the reply Cindy.

I guess I should have added that although I am trapping so many, I am seeing 2 or 3 each day just hanging out beside the trap.  I don’t know if I am trapping as many as I am drawing in.

Pam in Harford County, MD


From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 11:44 PM
Subject: RE: Question about using DRST in nesting season

Pam,
 
I don't think your DRST is attracting more HOSP,, they have  probably always been there. I trap year round and rarely catch much anymore. If I could get my stupid neighbor to stop feeding millet, I think I would be totally free of them by now. If I were you I would keep just females in the DRST because on the rare occasion you catch something other then a HOSP, the males may get aggressive and kill it. Sadly, they did that once in my DRST to a house finch. I was heartbroken and it happened so fast I couldn't stop it in time. Since then, I have only kept females and have had no problems with death in the DRST. The decoys do draw them to the trap, but I think they were around and since your trapping is going so well, I would keep it up.
 
Also, this year my two BB boxes have remained empty since I trapped the first male in the box. In all previous years, I had HOSP in them every day, so I think that helps to keep them from the yard completely. 
 
Denise Farmer
Parkville, MD
From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1"at"cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:49 PM
Subject: Re: Question about using DRST in nesting season

I sincerely believe that the more house sparrows that you can take out of circulation the better. Not everyone agrees with me, but I find that by trapping early and diligently, every time that they start a nest (and I deliberately place nestboxes where I know that they are most active, which is a bit like you are doing) I am able to create an oasis where Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters are mostly safe during their nesting seasons. I know that I will have to do it all over again next spring as nature abhors a vacuum and they will come in from untrapped areas, but this works for me. Bluebird Bob.-----
From: Paula Ziebarth [mailto:paulaz"at"columbus.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 12:05 AM
Subject: Re: Question about using DRST in nesting season

Pam,

This is the beauty of the DRST. The decoys do attract other HOSP to the trap, but I do not believe the HOSP could be attracted unless they were in the vicinity to begin with. Look at it this way. A HOSP is flying over Pam's place and he sees a nestbox, but wait, something better - a HOSP party
with free food! Would you prefer he check out the DRST or the nestbox?

I believe we don't see many of the birds that occupy our little corner of the world, especially if we don't have birdfeeders out. Bet's recent posting of all the birds checking out her trap box with the birdcam was a real testimony to that.

I use my DRST during nesting season with EABL nesting just a few yards away.
I view it as a safety insurance policy - has worked well for past few years.
The EABL always nest in my yard and the HOSP never bother them (at least not that I have seen). I have not caught many HOSP in the DRST this spring and do not hear any on the street right now.

Paula Z
Powell (Central) Ohio


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:58 AM
Subject: Trapping Question about using DRST in nesting season

Pam, adult HOSP generally remain within 1.24 - 3.8 miles of where they were hatched. Flocks of juveniles and non-breeding adults may move 3.8-5 miles to new feeding areas. I do think the DRST with decoys probably does draw some HOSP to the trap vicinity, but agree with others that they are probably near by already.

I leave my trap out with decoys even when I don't hear any HOSP and am often surprised when I trap one. By doing this last year, I had only one HOSP attempt in 60+ boxes (and that pair was trapped in minutes with a Van Ert insert trap.) Of course I monitor the trap regularly.

I keep a pair of HOSP in a large birdcage I got at the "take it or leave it"
shed (also known as the "Crap Shack") at the landfill. They have food and water, a little hanging birdhouse inside to get out of the rain (picked up for a few bucks at a craft store and weatherproofed), and I don't have to worry about letting them lose when removing trapped birds. I've had the same pair for about 5 months now.

It seems I don't even have to put food in the trap when I have HOSP decoys inside it or by it. That probably decreases catch of native birds.
However, it is NOT true that other birds will ALWAYS avoid a trap that has HOSP in it. You can't leave native birds in there with HOSP, as an aggressive one might kill it, and anyway they are not as hardy as HOSP and may not survive longer entrapment.

I always trim the wings of HOSP decoys just in case they get out, so they will not breed for at least one season. They are FAST and will scoot out an open door in no time if you don't cover it with your hand!

I understand that trapping is not for everyone! It does work for me.

On the Hill Trail where I am testing Linda's 2-hole mansions, I agreed not to trap, and am just removing nests and eggs. BTW, I have one HOSP there that uses cigarette filters in every nest built. Linda noted that WEBLs sometimes use filters in their nests - I haven't seen one in an EABL nest so far.

Bet from CT

http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm - HOSP Control Options http://www.sialis.org/wingtrim.htm - wing trimming


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 11:23 AM
Subject: NPR on birds and House Sparrow Trapping

Blaine sent me a link to a story on NPR, Birds of Spring Fill Ohio Skies After Cold Snap - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9963159. Julie Zickefoose of Whipple Ohio, author of a nice little booklet, Enjoying Bluebirds More, and a new book called Letters from Eden is interviewed.

At one point, the interviewer asks her about nesting bluebirds she had on her property. She indicates that House Sparrows got into the nest and "removed the babies." She then indicates that she has started using an inbox insert trap, and says

Zickefoose: "Then I am free to do whatever I want with that House Sparrow."

Interviewer: I Should I ask what that is?

Zickefoose: I'd rather you didn't.

Interviewer: I've called you a bird lover Julie, on National Public Radio!

Zickefoose: I am a bigoted bird lover. I discriminate against House Sparrows because they are an exotic species and they are very very hard on native cavity-nesting birds. They go into the cavity, peck the incubating female to death, pierce the eggs, throw them out. They kill bluebirds and tree swallows on the nest.

Bet from CT

Books on bluebirding: http://www.sialis.org/books.htm Bluebird quotes: http://www.sialis.org/quotes.htm (I've added hers)


From: Bob Walshaw [mailto:walshaw1 "at"cox.net]
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 2:15 AM
Subject: Re: Sparrow troubles

The most positive way to go is to use the Huber type trap in the nestbox after the house sparrows have started a nest. Then you put a large clear strong plastic bag over the house, let the killer sparrow out into the bag and then dispose of it. You may have to remove some material or mash it down to make room for the trap. These traps and the cage traps as well as starling traps are available from the Martin Marketplace. Call 814-833-7656 for a free catalog. Bluebird Bob.
From: wensuz "at"isp.com [mailto:wensuz "at"isp.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: Sparrow troubles

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Ribes60 "at"aol.com
> To: walshaw1 "at"cox.net
> Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2007 8:26 PM
> Subject: Sparrow troubles
>
>
> Thanks, I had no problems with House Sparrows last year, now they
> are everywhere. I have a pellet gun and will use it to settle some of
> the disputes but they are smart and shy.
>
> I would like to get a couple of the Bolt traps by Huber, the ones
> that contain them in a cage, so there will be no chance of them
> getting away from me. Do you know where I can get them. I sent an
> Email to Jennabird but got no reply.
>
>
>
> Ed Mashburn
> 707 Front Street
> Northumberland, PA 17857
***

Ed; I have 2 of the Mel Bolt in-box traps with the hardware cloth cage, and I too have been wanting to get a few more.
I like the fact that they contain the HOSP so there is no chance of escape(unless I open the bottom door without paying attention and have it fly out, that only happened once). But Jennabird no longer exists, and I found the supposed address to Mel Bolt here in Ohio, to order directly from him, but my letter was returned as undeliverable. Mel Bolt does have his blueprint/specs of the trap that anyone can build themself, on an Audubon website. The drawings are a bit hard to read though, so I have not attempted to make any myself. If you are interested in having a go at it, I can send you the web address, but other than that, I am at a loss as to where to
get them, sorry. -Wendy-N Central,OH

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 10:51 PM
Subject: Box opening sizes that house sparrows can get through

I know that there has been a lot of research and discussion on this subject, but I found out when first trapping house sparrows that they can escape through a slot that is wider than 1/2 inch. The ventilation on my boxes is a slot across the top of the front panel, and in the manufacturing these slots vary from 3/8" to 3/4". If I don't put duct tape over any of these slots that are 1/2"and more the house sparrows escape when trapped. Bluebird Bob.


From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett "at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 9:44 AM
Subject: Re: Box opening sizes that house sparrows can get through

Bob, do you cover the ventilation holes only when you are trapping House Sparrows to prevent them from fleeing?
Or do you also cover the vents during the nesting season so House Sparrows can't enter and procreate?
In other words, do you feel House Sparrows will enter the same size opening from which they will flee if trapped?
 
On 5/7, Keith said  "To me a bird exiting through a hole is just entering it from the opposite side:-)) The sex drive of these birds and the urge to procreate and carry on their genes are just as strong as the urge to flee. I feel they will push into smaller entrance holes, investigate cavities that they have NO intention of actually building a nest in!" 
 
Linda Violett

Yorba Linda, Calif


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz "at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:34 AM
Subject: Trapping house sparrows

Maria, I don't know if you are doing inbox trapping of HOSP. If so, it's actually easier to trap them with the nest in the box, as long as the nest doesn't interfere with the trigger mechanism. They are more likely to re-enter a box with a nest in it. Sometimes with the Van Ert, you need to remove the bottom part of the nest to get it out of the way.

Male HOSP seldom go away - they usually bond with a box and will usually hang with it even if they lose the female.

If a bluebird had been attacked by a HOSP, you would know it. Adults attacked by HOSP usually (but not always) have visible evidence of pecking on the top of the head and in the eyes.

Sometimes I think birds want a box just because another bird is in it - maybe it triggers a territorial response or makes the box look more appealing.

Bet from CT


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BEST OF BLUEBIRD_L CLASSIFIEDS HOME | Audubon Society of Omaha | The Bluebird Box | Bluebird FAQs | Search | Contact me
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