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Home Invasion....!!

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Old Monday 25th September 2017, 13:20   #1
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Home Invasion....!!

Have you ever had birds invade your home?

I was visiting with a friend this summer, someone I see once or twice a year. In short order, the conversation turned to birding; feeders, yard birds, unusual sightings, events.

He got to telling me a story about a House Sparrow nest he cleaned out of his father-in-law's attic. He said the birds enlarged a hole in the soffit, breeding in the attic for years. Told me the nest was 5 feet tall..!!!...wedged between a stud and a nailer which formed a perfect shaft for the nest. He said he found nest after nest, layered on top of each other with an occasional dead chick and unhatched egg.

That tale jarred my memory, I started to tell him about my own home invasion from a few years back.

It was late winter not quite spring. Still early, no bugs, I had my doors and windows open, no screens on the windows. I was in the kitchen fixin' a sandwich, just about to toast the bread in the toaster oven. I had the door to the oven open, the bread was still in the bag on the counter when the phone rang.

I left the room to answer the phone, talked for awhile and returned to the kitchen.

Opened the bread bag, started to put 2 slices in when a House Sparrow flew out of the toaster oven...!! She circled the kitchen and flew out the window. It startled me but thinking about it, after coming in the open window, the bird was simply foraging for food finding toasted bread crumbs in the bottom of the oven.

I went back to fixin' my meal, put the bread in the oven and set the toaster on Dark. After a few minutes I smelled something burning. I open the oven door, took the bread out, removed the wire grate, and found a dead House Sparrow laying on the crumb tray.

I still find it hard to believe.....sad but true.

Last edited by SanAngelo : Monday 25th September 2017 at 13:51. Reason: Droped an 'r' on your
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Old Monday 25th September 2017, 13:53   #2
Paul Chapman
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House Sparrows are terrific learners in respect of food sources. I had repeated instances of them 'breaking in' to my moth trap. Essentially, they had learned to push up the Perspex in order to gain entry. It only ended when I started taping down the Perspex to prevent it happening.

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I've decided to start a self-find list as self-help to reduce my level of self-harm.
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 04:36   #3
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Neighbors of mine have a Purple Martin house. They have a devoted group of Martins returning yearly like clock work. What I've noticed from watching them; they have no inclination to take on the HOSPs who invade their nesting space. They're docile by effect of the HOSP aggression and numbers. They voice displeasure but that's it.

I bring this up because recently I was reading a reprint of The Audubon Magazine vol 1 no 6 (Jul 1887) titled The Purple Martin where the observation was just the opposite from mine.

“...the Martin is not a quarrelsome fellow at all. He is just a sturdy hardworking citizen of the bird world, who is determined to stand up for what he considers his own rights, and who is afraid of nothing that flies. Sometimes when he arrives from the south in April, he finds that the home in which he reared his brood last summer has been taken possession of by a pair of bluebirds or perhaps by English sparrows. If this is the case, he prepares without loss of time to eject the usurpers, and he usually succeeds in doing this very easily. Then he pulls out and throws to the ground all the material that has been brought into the chamber by previous occupants. And goes calmly ahead with his own housekeeping arrangements. It is rather an amusing spectacle to see a conquering Martin, perched in the entrance of his home, chattering threateningly at a lot of sparrows, who sit about abusing him with all the strength of their small lungs, but quite powerless to do anything to help themselves.”

I've been watching my neighbor's Martins for years, never have I seen them clean out their box once a HOSP laid claim. I don't know if they've conditioned to surrender to the HOSP or conditioned to repetitive disposal of the HOSP nesting material by my neighbor, which he does on a weekly basis. No matter, their behavior changed from 1887.

It's interesting to note, about this time, 1887, Michigan established a bounty on HOSPs with Illinois following about 4 years thereafter. In December, January, and February of 1892 Illinois paid out $8000.00 at 2 cents a head for about 450,000 birds. From their introduction in 1851-2, this was too little, too late.

I could be wrong but it appears the HOSPs have change the landscape, figurative and literally, more that any other invasive species. At least from my readings, no other American bird is talked about or written about with such disdain.

My op was done with hopes of garnishing embellishing stories of bird home encounters; hummingbird CPR from window encounters, woodpeckers in the rafters, or.....?? I figured they'd be a good read. My awareness on the subject is limited to HOSPs and a one-off Bewick's Wren nesting in my garden hose reel. The sparrow bashing was unintended although rightfully deserved, imo.

Last edited by SanAngelo : Tuesday 26th September 2017 at 04:45. Reason: s in place of a t
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 21:21   #4
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House Sparrows

I never heard a story like the house sparrow invasion. Although like most people, I live around house sparrows and understand that they can nest in crevices around the house.

I looked it up and the Humane Society even talks about it. Just in case anyone might be interested.

Dryer and stove vents
Vents with nests inside may not function properly. This can be inconvenient or, in some cases, unsafe. The nesting material may need to be removed immediately.

Birds using vents make noise that the vent itself tends to amplify. Act right away if you hear scratching and shuffling. If eggs or young are already in the nest, can this vent be left unused until they fledge? If so, treat this nest like a nest in a building crevice.

If young are present in the vent and there is no option to leave them there until they fledge, the parents can still raise their young in an alternate nest.
Make a substitute nest from a wicker basket, a plastic gallon jug, or a small birdhouse.

Cut an U shape opening in the plastic jug and flip the “door” up to keep rain out.

Attach the substitute nest as close as possible to the original nest, but in as much shade as possible.

Carefully remove nesting material and nestlings, and place in substitute nest.
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