July 11, 2008 English House Sparrow Blues!

No, thank God I have NOT suffered any losses due to HOSP (House Sparrows) but the threat is ever present. All Martin Landlords or wanna-be landlords should know about the non native birds that threaten the existence of native cavity nesting birds. Though European Starlings AND English House Sparrows will kill eggs, young and adults, only the sparrow is small enough to thwart our attempts to block them from entering a nestbox. Thanks to the development of SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Holes) Native birds now have a fighting chance against the threat of Starlings. Unfortunately there is no such “easy fix” for HOSP.  Wood Ducks, Buffleheads, Northern Flickers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Gila Woodpeckers, Acorn Woodpeckers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Tree Swallows,  Eastern Bluebird and Purple Martins  can all be killed due to a HOSP attack. By their sheer numbers and prolificness they have single handedly caused significant declines to many of these birds. If you really want to see what a HOSP can do, I STRONGLY suggest going to this link to view what happens to our beloved Martins and other native birds, when such a ubiquitous bird attacks. I will warn you that the images ARE GRAPHIC. >link to HOSP attack: http://www.sialis.org/hospattacks.htm < 

The worse thing that can be done is to allow a HOSP to nest in one of your nest boxes. It may seem like a beautiful experience but with the hatching of the sparrows eggs and their subsequent fledging and flying out into the world, you have sealed the fate of some other cavity nesting bird somewhere. Through one act of inaction, it is possible to be responsible for over 2,000 birds in a few years.  Though the Purple Martin will only lay 1 clutch of eggs in a year, a HOSP will raise 2-5  clutches every year. Whereas the Purple Martin takes about 26 days to fledge(fly), a HOSP will fledge in about 14-16 days. A person may allow a HOSP to successfully nest because they have no native birds nesting, so why not…”What harm will it do? They’re so cute.” The fact that those 2,000 birds will disburse and spread and wreak havoc somewhere else is a heartbreak to Purple Martin Landlords, Bluebirders and TreeSwallow ‘Keepers’ everywhere.

Next posting will cover ways to control HOSP.

I Thank Sialis. org for there wonderful info and link.

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