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June 2005

VTBIRD@LIST.UVM.EDU

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Subject:
From:
"Lawrence, Miriam" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 1 Jun 2005 10:12:58 -0400
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While most of our nestboxes are, at the moment, happily inhabited by tree
swallows and one bluebird nest (with 5 eggs as of this morning), I
discovered this morning that one box contained a new house sparrow nest and
two eggs (presumably laying was still ongoing).

I am not of a mind to trap and kill either adult or baby sparrows (I know
the ethical debate rages over this one) but I have no problem with other
forms of both passive and active management, including spookers, nest
removal, and rendering eggs infertile. In this case I removed the nest and
the eggs, which are now in the refrigerator, but I have read that males bond
with the box and will likely just keep on rebuilding there at a rapid clip.
I can keep removing the nest material if that's the case. I've read that
perhaps a better approach is rendering eggs infertile and leaving them in
the nest so that the female will keep incubating them for a few weeks and
get nowhere, and finally abandon the nest -- meanwhile she hasn't sought out
a home elsewhere, and there's less chance the male will get aggressive as a
result of the nest removal and go around mauling other birds (apparently
some folks claim this can happen).

My main concerns at this point is preventing the sparrows from making more
sparrows, and making sure that the swallows and bluebirds using our other
boxes dont' get injured or killed.  I'm willing to sacrifice one box to an
infertile sparrow couple if that's the best route to accomplishing those
primary goals.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with management methods other than
trapping or killing, and if so, what you've found works the best.  Is it
better to remove the nest altogether or to render eggs infertile and replace
them in the nest?  Any other suggestions?

By the way, we do not have any feeders out right now, nor do we have any
barns or sheds on our property, so we're not doing anything to encourage the
sparrows' general presence here.  That's probably why we don't have a huge
problem -- yet. I'd like to keep it that way.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Miriam Lawrence
Monkton

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