The first predator I need to worry about is the English (or) otherwise known as the House Sparrow (HOSP). Here is a drawing of the male and female HOSP. They may look “cute”, but they are destructive and nasty birds. They take away cavities from our protected native birds. Source: www. Sialis.org. Thanks to Bet for a terrific site for our bluebirds!
These non-native invaders need to passively or aggressively be deterred from killing our native bluebirds and other native cavity nesters! As much as I love all birds, this particular species bird is overpopulated and out of control...an experiment gone terribly wrong. It's indeed unfortunate we bird lovers have to deal with this pest.
Here is a HOSP nest found in one of my boxes on March 9, 2009. This is the first nest in all my boxes for the season. Note the pieces of cloth used in this nest, picked off from a grave nearby in the cemetary where a craft decoration was placed. Many times, HOSP use paper trash…really anything they can find to incorporate “stuff” into their nests. They are aggressive killer birds that need to be controlled for the conservation of our native bluebirds and other cavity nesters.
This is a 5-day old HOSP nest. Part of being a monitor is learning what kind of bird is occupying bluebird boxes. If it's a HOSP, this nest should be removed. It is not a protected bird since it isn't a native bird in the USA, so it is legal as a bluebird conservation monitor for me to do this. Then I need to do whatever I can to keep this happening again. It's a challenge to all bluebirders dealing with the House Sparrow. All other sparrow species in the USA are decent, gentle birds, such as the Chipping Sparrow, for example.
History of the House Sparrow can be found here on the Sialis bluebird site. This is very educational reading!