Bully House Sparrow

I think the House Sparrows are taking over all my birdhouses this year. The Eastern Bluebirds are putting up a great fight but it’s not looking good.

House Sparrow In My Birdhouse

House Sparrow-130312-9749

House Sparrow In By Backyard-130311-0359

Note: One of the above photos was taken with the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Can you tell which one?

Males take up nesting sites before the breeding season, by frequently calling beside them. Unmated males start nest construction and call particularly frequently to attract females. When a female approaches a male during this period, the male displays by moving up and down while drooping and shivering his wings, pushing up his head, raising and spreading his tail, and showing his bib.

Nest sites are varied, though cavities are preferred. Nests are most frequently built in the eaves and other crevices of houses. Holes in cliffs and banks, or in tree hollows are also used. It sometimes excavates its own nests in sandy banks or rotten branches, but more frequently uses the nests of other birds such as those of swallows in banks and cliffs, and old tree cavity nests. It usually uses deserted nests, though sometimes it usurps active ones. Tree hollows are more commonly used in North America than in Europe, putting the sparrows in competition with bluebirds and other North American cavity nesters, and thereby contributing to their population declines. (Wikipedia)

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12 Comments

  1. Noel Pennington March 15, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Always enjoy your photos and stories. I think I feed 1/3 of the house sparrow in the US at my feeders! I would say the 3rd photo is taken with the Powershot!

  2. Liz March 15, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    The Bluebirds compete with Tree Swallows at our place! It’s been some time since I last saw a house sparrow. I’m thinking the 3rd photo was taken with your Powershot.

  3. Barbara Selkirk March 15, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Steve the house sparrows will kill the bluebirds and the bluebird babies if they get the chance to actually nest… I’ve seen what they’ve done to tree swallows – not pretty… I’ve set my blue bird nest boxes quite far from where the house sparrows hang out now… and the tree swallows are so aggressive they fend off the house sparrows. Unfortunately the house sparrows are probably my least favourite bird – being an import and also being so so so aggressive.

    On the other hand your photos are great. Though I’m not good with camera ID – is it the second one that’s taken with the Powershot?

  4. Alan March 15, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Most folks do not know this, but it is legal to kill english sparrows year round. And i would not hesitate to wack one if it’s getting in to my Blue Bird Box.. Great photos…

  5. Steve Creek March 15, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    The problem I have is that I am leaving for the summer for a photo trip out west and I want be here to oversee the birds. I have a house sitter but I don’t expect them to deal with it. I have 3 bird houses on my property and they are not close to each other. The house sparrows have taken over 2 of them.

  6. Nancy Castillo March 15, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Steve, keep up the good fight removing those house sparrow nests religiously. If the boxes are at all close to woods or structures and you’re able to move them more in the wide open, try that. Good luck!

  7. Gladys March 15, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Nice photo’s. I think the first photo of the bird peaking out of the nesting box is the one shot with the Powershot. I just purchased one and can’t decide if I like it or not. I have a terrible time holding it still when it is zoomed all the way out. It does take pretty good photo’s though, especially for someone with a steady hand.

  8. cindy March 15, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Hi Steve.. Ah, another trip planned, wonderful..So the house sparrows are on their own..As for which is Power Shot, I really can’t tell..but I don’t think it’s number 2..

  9. Steve Creek March 15, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Thanks Nancy! I am keeping the nest material out that they are putting in. I’m leaving so I’m not able to move them. Maybe I can get my house sitter to keep them cleaned out.

  10. Steve Creek March 15, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    The last photo is the Canon PowerShot.

  11. Mia McPherson March 16, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    I had guessed the third photo too before I viewed the comments.

    I hope I’ll get to meet you while you are out west Steve.

  12. Steve Creek March 16, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    The same here Mia! I’m excited to get started on this adventure.

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