Sparrow Trap

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I bought a sparrow trap over at Martinfest Friday, for 20.00 dollars... Set it out this morning and caught 8 sparrows or wrens.. dont know which one, cant tell them apart.. I took them about 3 miles away and let them go.. They probably got back home before i did..... But anyway im really happy with it....

:shock: :cry: Johnny, I wish I had known who you were at Martinfest. I would have told you the proper way to "dispose" of your House Sparrows and Starlings. You DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT set them free ! The point of catching them is to kill them. If you don't, they will kill yours or someone elses Martins and/or Bluebirds. It's the same as taking your trash and dumping it inyour neighbors yard. PLEASE ! PLEASE! PLEASE! Do not release House Sparrows or Starlings. They are non native species, so it is perfectly legal do destroy them. If you don't or can't, donate them to the nearest wiildlife re-habilitator, who can use them to feed wounded birds of prey. If you have ever gone to check a nestbox, only to find a Sparrow nest built on top of a dead brooding mother Bluebird, you will have no qualms about placing your trapped House Sparrows in a plastic bag and sending them to sleep....forever. Or worse, check a box that had five BB chicks ready to fledge, only to see a male HOSP leave the box, you open it, and all five chicks have been pecked to death. When you release these vermin, you are not part of the solution. You are part of the problem. So I beg you to do what the native species cannot do for themselves. They are not geneticly engineered to defend themselves against an invasive species. That is why we must help them, or loose them. The choice is yours.

drbirdsong4.... The reason i didnt dispose of them was that i didnt know if they were sparrows or wrens. if they were wrens i didnt want to kill them..

I had a couple of people to tell me they were sparrows and some said the were wrens.. So the next ones i catch will be history.... But they are raising in a house i got up and a couple of pair have nested in some of the gourds. ive had no problem with them and the martins...
Thanks for the reply.. Johnny
CUL Lou~Mich

Johnny. Awe man, I just got home from MF 2005. Sure wish I could have met you. Personally, I think you did the correct thing. If one is not 100% positive of their captives, then they should NOT ever, ever kill them. Personally, I have a hard time IDing the female house sparrow, so if one is in my traps, I release them. I only go after one. The Male English House Sparrow. The male has a big black bib on his chest. He's also the one who sits around going Cheep, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep, all day long. Don't seem to know but two things. Cheep, Cheep, and make more babies. I hate them. BUT, they are the only ones I kill. The male. If you have a problem IDing them, please do a search. Use Bird Identification for a keyword. Then go to "Old world sparrows" OR just put in Sparrow. It should show you the good guys (Several native sparrows) also the bad guy. (The Cheep, Cheep character.) Personally, I think you did great. Don't kill them unless you know for sure. Sorry I missed ya at Victors. CUL Lou

Ok Ok . I was upset about you letting what might be HOSP free , I forgot that you weren't sure. It's hard for me to imagine someone not being able to ID them . But yes be sure they are. Do your research first. However, I don't discriminate between the sexes. All the experts I know personally and all I've read never says not to eliminate females. Did you pick up any literature at Martinfest ? If not, you should have. If so, you should read it. Especially the Ten Commandments of Martin Landlords and Bluebird Landlords.
I am new to this forum and being a Martin landlord. I have been surprized that so many who are,seem to know so little about birds in general. I'm no Roger Tory Peterson, don't get me wrong, But it was my love and interest in all birds that led me to want to be a Martin landlord. When I decided to make the commitment, I did alot of research first, before I ever put up a house or a single gourd. It was my experience as a Bluebird trail monitor, that taught me, there's more to it than simply putting up a house and letting nature do the rest. So I say once again. A Hosp control program is a MUST ! Males need females to copulate and populate and vice versa. If you let the females go, they just go "do it" somewhere else. What has been accomplished ? Nothing. Good luck.You'll need it. I will now exit the soap box. Thank you and please don't take it personally. I'm still learning too. We all should.
Louise Chambers
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Location: Corpus Christi, TX

There are photos of House Sparrows and native birds on the main PMCA web site - don't forget that lots of the info you might need is there. Here is a link:

On that page (martin biology) scroll down a few paras to Competition, then click on House Sparrow to see photos of male and female along with a sound link. There are also links for starlings and some native species that will nest in martin housing. You don't need to learn all the native sparrows - just be 100% sure that you are dealing with male, female, or juvenile House Sparrow before going further.

CUL Lou,, I think i done the right thing, they are such little birds i cant tell them apart to good.. i havent done any research on the difference in them, but i will....

drbirdsong4,, no, i didnt think anything of it, not mad or anything.. i just didnt know which was which.. going to look them up and tell more about the sparrows and wrens... I have a bluebird box up and these little brown devils took it over.. What does a wren nest look like??? The nest thats in my bluebird box is packed full of stuff with a tunnel down to the bottom...Im pretty sure they are sparrows...

Louise, Thanks for the link.. I dont have any trouble with the starlings since i changed over to cresent holes this year.... Dont really have any trouble with these brown devils, which ever they may be, but i have found 3 babies that have been throwed out of there nest.. Thanks Johnny

A House Wren nest is usually small sticks packed tightly in the box. They will fill every box with sticks until the female chooses which box she want to lay in. They can be a nuisance, because they will peck tiny holes in the other birds eggs that are nesting in their territory. The best way to keep them from taking over is to put a Wren guard on the box. This is basically a piece of wood that is placed in front of the hole blocking the hole from veiw, but leaves enough space for Bluebirds, Chickadees,Titmice,etc. to get in. The research shows that if the House Wren cannot see the entrance hole from where they are, then it doesn't exsist. Kinda weird, but it works. Carolina Wrens are not a nuisance at all and should be encouraged to use your boxes. Learn the difference by either buying a good feild guide or going to google , to images, and type in House Wren and then check out Carolina Wren. House Wrens are kind of dull mousy brown, where as Carolina Wrens are a tannish brown with a noticeable white stripe above the eye. All of this info is available on lone through different links and forums. The folks over at The Bluebirding Forum are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. We are always glad to help newbies and the like with questions, empathy,etc. . Check it out.
Sounds like the nest you described is a HOSP nest. If it is trashy, with feathers and paper, with bluish/greenish eggs that have brown spoltches, that is a House Sparrow nest. If it has eggs and you don't want to throw them out, shaking them will cause them to become unfertile. The female will be none the wiser, and continue to brood them until she gives up. Some people remove the eggs, but leave the nest. This causes the pair to continue mating and laying over and over until eventually they move on. Sometimes they move on right into a Bluebird nest.The rest is history. The best thing to do is , "nip it in the bud". When they start building a nest, just be as persistant removing it. Make sure it is in fact House Sparrows first, because sometimes Tree Swallows nest can fool you. They also use feathers in their nests. So make sure it's not Tree Swallows. If it is , consider yourself lucky. They are a great bird to have nesting at your place.
I hope this has been some help to you.

Johnny - You are right in that if you can't positively ID the bird, you shouldn't kill it. However, I would bet money that you are seeing a HOSP nest in your bluebird box, and also that you trapped HOSP in your $20 trap. House sparrows are not true sparrows, but members of the weaver finch family, and make a big, messy nest like you describe, filled with feathers and trash, and with a tunnel into the center of it.

Tree swallows will also use feathers, as drbirdsong mentions, but these are neat, rounded nest cups of dry grass, with the feathers artfully placed. Wren nests are lots of little sticks filling up the box.

HOSP are atttracted to seed like millet, white bread, etc., spread on the ground. That is why you can trap them so easily. Wrens are insect eaters, and are not likely to be trapped in such numbers in a bait trap.

When trying to ID any bird, start with the bill. It is a clue to what the bird eats, thus helping you with your identification. Wrens have little pointy bills, HOSP have large, heavy, finch-type bills. Wrens will also sit with their tails cocked up in the air; sparrows, including HOSP, don't.

In another thread, Mary Dawnsong posted a terrific link to IDing all the LBB (Little Brown Birds) that you might confuse with HOSP. I will try to find it again for you here. Actually, the male HOSP is quite easy to recognize, with his sooty black bib. That is why many people target him - hard to mix him up with the good birds. The female is trickier, and some people decline to shoot, or release a trapped bird, if they aren't sure it is a female HOSP.

PS: Here's that link from Mary's reply to another post: ... arrow.html It's a good one to bookmark for future reference.

The more i look at the pictures of them, they look like sparrows..

Dr. Kathi, I put some bread in the trap to catch them, so im asuming that they are sparrows.. I have a digital camara, im going to take pics of them, but i dont know if i can get them on the computer or not.. I have lost my program to put them on... Thanks for the replies.. Johnny

Johnny - You can a tell a wren because their tail sticks UP, not down or out like a HOSP. Also, the wren has a very loud chirp or whistle like bird noise. They are definitely louder than sparrows. But once again, the tail is a real good clue.


Barnmomg.. Im positive they are hosp now... And your right there tails are down and about... They been nesting in my 14 room house i got up, its about 50 feet from my gourd racks.. they havent bothered my gourds till this year, so im going to eliminate them .....hopefully...

Thanks Johnny
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