June 15 Update

The parents of the clutch that was killed are bravely trying again! They have laid six eggs which are due to hatch around June 21. As we anxiously hope that they are more successful this time, it does bring the issue of invasive House Sparrows to the forefront.

We are exploring ways to prevent these birds from endangering the recovery effort. One issue that has come up is the prevalence of boxes that are attractive to House Sparrows but not monitored to keep them out. Many people with the admirable goal of supporting wild birds end up inadvertently creating higher numbers of House Sparrows which go on to attack native bird species. One approach we are looking into is providing a way to limit boxes to smaller species by reducing the hole size on boxes that are not intended for bluebirds or in areas that are too over-run by House Sparrows to be safe for bluebirds to nest. One of our volunteers, Ted Leischner, has created special plates to add to existing boxes for this purpose. Please let us know if you know some good candidates to receive these plates or if you have more ideas on how to tackle this challenge!

4 thoughts on “June 15 Update

  1. I solicited advice regarding house sparrows invading bluebird boxes from Ruthven Banding Station in Ontario where I’m a supporter of their efforts. For what it’s worth, herewith the response I received from the ‘Bander in Chief’… Hi Eva!
    Really nice to hear from you! Hope you guys are well.
    Pheww….that’s a tough one. If the boxes are close to housing you will have a perennial problem. If you can monitor the boxes then you can make a real effort to clean out any House Sparrow nests as they’re being made. Sometimes this causes the birds to move on to find a better place. Other than that….an air gun might work…..but that’s pretty harsh. We find that boxes that are more remote from human habitation are less likely to get used by the sparrows.
    Good luck (and let me know what happens).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Eva and Rick for sharing this. Cleaning out House Sparrow nests is very much a part of our regular trail monitoring though this year those efforts were somewhat hampered by the pandemic which may go some ways to explaining the increase this year. We will keep looking for nest box locations further from homes, this also helps with avoiding cats!


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