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Old Tuesday 26th April 2011, 13:26   #1
Amy5
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Need some help, House Sparrows vs Tree Swallows

Hi All -

This is my 1st spring with bird houses up and when I placed my bird house right next to our house, I did not realize I was putting out the welcome mat for the house sparrows. After doing research online and talking to local birders, they told me to NEVER let house sparrows nest in your houses. So I ran the fishing line on top of the house and around the entrance. And have been removing the nest when house sparrows still move in.... Then yesterday I was so thrilled to see a pair of Tree Swallows claiming the house as theirs. But after doing some research, I read that House Sparrows will actually go into the box and kill the Tree Swallow babies and maybe even trap and kill the adults in there. So my question is, has anyone had any problems with house sparrows doing this? I live in a small suburban yard and I am shocked at all to even see Tree Swallows here. If I leave the house up, am I just asking for trouble? Or would it be better to give the Tree Swallows a chance and keep the house where it is? Some of the web sites I saw even said to go as far as trapping and killing House Sparrows, do I really have to go that far???

Just as I was writing this the Tree Swallow flew into the bird house to check it out. They are so pretty!
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Old Tuesday 26th April 2011, 15:36   #2
fugl
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I wouldn’t worry about it too much. In spite of their gentle appearance, Tree Sparrows are themselves fierce competitors for nest sites--they’ve been known to kill nestling bluebirds for example--& might or might not be able to hold their own against your House Sparrows. Do you have House Wrens in your yard by any chance? If so the swallows might be in for trouble from that quarter as well, since the House Wren’s reputation for aggression towards rival hole nesters is at least as bad as that of the House Sparrow.

Last edited by fugl : Tuesday 26th April 2011 at 15:52.
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Old Tuesday 26th April 2011, 17:36   #3
Lonny
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Hi Amy,

I'm a purple martin landlord. I have two gourd racks up with a total of 32 gourds. Sparrows are a problem everywhere. To be successful, i think you will have to try and eliminate the sparrows. I would set out traps if i were you. There are many places online where you can buy traps or plans on how to build one.
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Old Tuesday 26th April 2011, 21:05   #4
Amy5
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Hi everyone -

To fugl, no I have not seen any House Wren’s around my yard. And infact I did see the Tree Swallow chase away the house sparrow today... but that was outside the bird house.

To Lonny, what exactly do you do with the sparrows you catch in a trap?

Last edited by Amy5 : Tuesday 26th April 2011 at 21:22.
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Old Wednesday 27th April 2011, 11:56   #5
Lonny
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Hi Amy,

I'm afraid my answer is not the one you are looking for. But here it is anyway, humanely destroy them. Catching and releasing them someplace else, will onlybe someone else's problem. They may even come back if not released very far away. I wish i had a better answer for you, but i don't. The english house sparrow and european starling are two very problematic birds, both being cavity nesting birds. I'm a purple martin landlord. I used to have gourds with the round entrance holes. Starlings were horrible. I gotrid of all the round hole gourds and replaced them with starling resistant holes, which works excellent. The sparrow is slightly smaller than the martin, so they are still a problem. I have quite a few pair of martins this year, and will say "there is strength in numbers".

If you can't bring yourself to destroy the sparrows, and you can access the nest safely, then do a weekly nest check and tear the sparrow nests out. I still do weekly nests checks and tear out any sparrow nest i see. In one week a sparrow can build a complete nest and lay as many as three eggs (maybe more). There eggs will be a tanish earth tone color with darker speckles. I'm pretty sure your tree swallows eggs are the samecolor as my martins which are pure white.

Whatever you do i wish you nothing but success and good luck. If you have any questions please feel free to PM me or even email me.

Best,
Lonny
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Old Wednesday 27th April 2011, 15:15   #6
fugl
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Indeed, killing’s the only answer, probably before you’re done a lot of killing since well-established House Sparrow populations aren’t necessarily that easy to eradicate. In view of this, if it were me, I’d just let it go. House Sparrows have had a long association with human beings in the old world & in that sense are “native” to your backyard in a way that many indigenous species--like Tree Swallows--will never be. So why not just enjoy the sparrows? They’re not demons after all, but just birds like any other.
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Old Wednesday 27th April 2011, 16:11   #7
fugl
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And see this (there’s no specific mention of House Sparrows in the article, but I bet they’re big brained)--http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9468000/9468306.stm
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Old Monday 2nd May 2011, 20:34   #8
Amy5
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I've been watching my tree swallows for days now and so far they have not allowed the house sparrows to get into the house. I also am trying to scare the house sparrows away when I see them, the tree swallows do not seem to be scared of me so it's been working so far.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 02:05   #9
Gary Polliard
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Just ran into the same problem here in Pa. A House sparrow was nesting and a group of green tree swallows came to look at the house. I helped matters a little by removing the house sparrow nest and the tree swallows came back the next day, it looked as though they may take over the box. Now the box is empty, no sparrows and the tree swallows have not been seen for two days. I was hoping for some pictures of them.
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Old Wednesday 18th May 2011, 22:59   #10
Amy5
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I've been in luck so far. My tree swallows moved in and she even laid the 1st egg this morning. But after reading about the damage a house sparrow can do I did buy and install the "sparrow spooker." But I've also not seen my tree swallow go back into the box all day. It might keep any and all birds away.

Gary, did your swallows come back? I hope so. It's been a real joy to get to know mine.
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Old Thursday 19th May 2011, 11:12   #11
Amy5
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Great news, I woke up this morning to see Mommy flying in and out of the house as normal. No house sparrows yet, so far this "spooker" is working.
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Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 03:01   #12
Gary Polliard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy5 View Post
I've been in luck so far. My tree swallows moved in and she even laid the 1st egg this morning. But after reading about the damage a house sparrow can do I did buy and install the "sparrow spooker." But I've also not seen my tree swallow go back into the box all day. It might keep any and all birds away.

Gary, did your swallows come back? I hope so. It's been a real joy to get to know mine.
Yes they came back and if you look on the my post from "my five acres" under "your birding day" you can see the pic along with the post of the male tree swallow on the outside of the box. They are nesting and soon if not already starting to feed the chicks. they are nesting in a box which is on a pole two feet off the shoreline of my pond. Thier food source is right at thier doorstop.
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