Yet another sparrow question - any native?

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johncanfield
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Forgive me if this question has been beat to death. I've done quite a bit of searching and haven't found an answer. Are there any native sparrow species that I need to ID and treat differently than a house sparrow or are all sparrows basically the enemy of martins?

Thanks, John
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Yes there are lots of native sparrows and only the non native House Sparrow is a threat. All the others are "good guys." In my neck of the woods, the House Sparrow is the largest sparrow that we have here, so ID is easy. The only thing we have that's the same size and a little harder to ID is the female House Finch. The look somewhat similar at first glance to a female HOSP and are the same size.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
johncanfield
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Ah-so! Thanks Brad. We have lots of chipping sparrows and they are easy to spot, I thought they were native but wasn't sure.

John
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

I have never had a Native Sparrow show any interest in the purple martin house.
The only time I get to see Native Sparrows is when I feed them thistle in the winter when snow covers the ground. Which is only once or twice per winter here in the Memphis, TN area.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Whippy
Posts: 816
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature

Every Spring I have a pair of sparrows pop in and have a look around. The male has a very distinctive read coloring on his head, chest and wings whereas the female is more on the tan side with a hint of red. When I first saw them poking around I freaked out but noticing the red coloration, I decided to wait and see what they will do since I didn't have Martins yet.

They ultimately left and showed no interest in the gourds or Trio. I now see them every year but as the Martins arrive, I see them less and less frequently. As I type this, I realized I haven't seen them in the last two months. I didn't realize I had native sparrows until I saw these guys.

I haven't seen a European house sparrow since I moved into my house 9 years ago.

Coolwhips
2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
ToyinPA
Posts: 2149
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

New World (Americas) or Native Sparrows:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bro ... serellidae

European House Sparrow:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Sparrow/id

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2149
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Whippy wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:09 am
Every Spring I have a pair of sparrows pop in and have a look around. The male has a very distinctive read coloring on his head, chest and wings whereas the female is more on the tan side with a hint of red. When I first saw them poking around I freaked out but noticing the red coloration, I decided to wait and see what they will do since I didn't have Martins yet.

They ultimately left and showed no interest in the gourds or Trio. I now see them every year but as the Martins arrive, I see them less and less frequently. As I type this, I realized I haven't seen them in the last two months. I didn't realize I had native sparrows until I saw these guys.

I haven't seen a European house sparrow since I moved into my house 9 years ago.

Coolwhips
Sounds like a pair of House Finches: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Finch/id

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Whippy wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:09 am
Every Spring I have a pair of sparrows pop in and have a look around. The male has a very distinctive read coloring on his head, chest and wings whereas the female is more on the tan side with a hint of red. When I first saw them poking around I freaked out but noticing the red coloration, I decided to wait and see what they will do since I didn't have Martins yet.

They ultimately left and showed no interest in the gourds or Trio. I now see them every year but as the Martins arrive, I see them less and less frequently. As I type this, I realized I haven't seen them in the last two months. I didn't realize I had native sparrows until I saw these guys.

I haven't seen a European house sparrow since I moved into my house 9 years ago.

Coolwhips
Those are not Sparrows. Those are either House Finches, or Purple Finches.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
Black Jack
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

4th Gen Martin Fan wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 5:20 pm
I have never had a Native Sparrow show any interest in the purple martin house.
The only time I get to see Native Sparrows is when I feed them thistle in the winter when snow covers the ground. Which is only once or twice per winter here in the Memphis, TN area.
I have had problems last year and this year with house finches. I pr nested in a gourd last year and have attempted to try again. I have had to destroy the nest. Since then i have had no problems so far. I had a feeder up in my yard since the early 1980s and had to remove it on count of so many house finches taking over. I have not had any problems with house sparrows but i do have problems with starlings.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Black Jack,
It is true, I do not have a bird feeder near any of the purple martin houses. So that might explain why I never have any native Sparrows or Finches bother my martin houses.
All Bird Feeders did was bring in Squirrels which chewed holes in my house, get in the attic, and cause destruction and mayhem. No more.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Black Jack
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

4th Gen Martin Fan wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 8:15 am
Black Jack,
It is true, I do not have a bird feeder near any of the purple martin houses. So that might explain why I never have any native Sparrows or Finches bother my martin houses.
All Bird Feeders did was bring in Squirrels which chewed holes in my house, get in the attic, and cause destruction and mayhem. No more.
Oh yeah Mark i forgot all the rodents. They ate into my house also under the eves.
I have lots of wild fruit trees and berries like mullberries and pin cherries that the birds can survive on.

Regards
Whippy
Posts: 816
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature

Brad Biddle wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 6:26 am
Whippy wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:09 am
Every Spring I have a pair of sparrows pop in and have a look around. The male has a very distinctive read coloring on his head, chest and wings whereas the female is more on the tan side with a hint of red. When I first saw them poking around I freaked out but noticing the red coloration, I decided to wait and see what they will do since I didn't have Martins yet.

They ultimately left and showed no interest in the gourds or Trio. I now see them every year but as the Martins arrive, I see them less and less frequently. As I type this, I realized I haven't seen them in the last two months. I didn't realize I had native sparrows until I saw these guys.

I haven't seen a European house sparrow since I moved into my house 9 years ago.

Coolwhips
Those are not Sparrows. Those are either House Finches, or Purple Finches.

Figured as much. They are the same size and shape as a house sparrow and have the same behavior type. Short stubby beak etc. etc. If a landlord was 100% on the edge about sparrows and a bit trigger happy, these guys would have been whacked. Luckily for them I noticed the coloring differences.

Thanks.

Coolwhips
2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
Fuzzmeister
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:02 pm
Location: Saskatchewan Canada

It is really hard to believe when I put my houses up this spring about 2 weeks before the martins were supposed to arrive I never noticed much interest from house sparrows the odd one would poke his nose around the house, but since the martins have arrived it is a constant harrsement from the sparrows they are relentless! You can get rid of a pair one day and there will be another pair back the next day and this goes on and on, i am starting to notice broken egg shells on the ground now and I’m pretty sure the sparrows are going in and breaking the eggs when the martins leave to feed. It’s not hard to notice the difference between a native sparrow and a house sparrow native sparrows mind there own business, house sparrows have to stick there nose in all the other birds business!
johncanfield
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

We have several suet feeders (and hummy feeders) in front of the house and our martin gourds are about 75' behind the house. We have titmouse, finches, woodpeckers, the occasional orange tanager and painted bunting, lots of cardinals and chipping sparrows and probably several house sparrows. I was considering taking them down due to the house sparrows trying to nest in the gourds but I really want to support the native birds.

Rarely are squirrels a problem either with house damage or raiding the feeders. When they do become a problem I shoot them with a 22. At our last house in Florida squirrels were a huge and constant problem. They chewed through electrical wiring in our gazebo (Romex) and got into the attic of our house once. It was very annoying to hear them running around in the ceiling over our bed in the middle of the night. We bug bombed the attic and after an hour or two I covered up their entrance hole.

Just a month ago I found a squirrel nest under the hood of my tractor on the engine (now I have a wren nest in one of the loader arms so the Mrs says no tractor use until they leave.) That little SOB chewed through a corner of the air filter housing :x . I pulled the nest out complete with about three babies.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
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