We live in a residential subdivision of about 80 homes, with lot sizes of about 1/3 to 1/2 acre. The subdivision is bordered on the north by a corn field, on the south by a rural-residential area, to the east by a spacious town park and to the west by a golf course. My point is, even though it is a residential area, the surroundings are rural which means we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife. And, we encourage this wildlife to find sanctuary on our half acre. And, they do!
We’ve had three clutches of bluebirds successfully hatch and fledge within the past five years. Three years ago, after house sparrows killed a near-fledge nest box full of tree swallows (and their parents) and destroyed several bluebird eggs, we stopped putting our nest boxes out. We didn’t want to encourage them to nest in an area that was ultimately unsafe for their young.
In the April/May issue of Birds and Blooms magazine, a reader suggested a unique solution we hadn’t heard of previously.
We’ve always had a terrible time keeping bluebird nests because of the sparrows. We’ve tried everything to get rid of them, but nothing worked. Then someone told us to drill a 2-inch hole in the top of the bluebird house. They said sparrows don’t like the light, but it doesn’t bother the bluebirds.
It worked! Within a week, the sparrows were gone and the bluebirds were building a nest. I hope this helps others who are having the same problem. — Patty Davenport, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. *
We hadn’t seen many sparrows this spring and had been thinking of trying again anyway, so we decided to drill a hole in our house and give it a go! We mounted the house today, March 21, during an odd warm spell here in northwestern Indiana. It was warm enough to sit out on the patio in the evening. We watched as a pair of bluebirds circled the neighborhood. They were clearly chasing bugs and not necessarily looking for housing, but we have a hunch they saw the box!
* Birds and Blooms, April/May 2012, p. 8