Sparrows Vs. Purple Martins



Tonight was an interesting night when it involves birds and butterflies, and insects.

When I got home I noticed the backyard was rather quiet compared to normal.  I realized the normal flock of Martins were not flying above.  I then noticed several pesky Sparrows sitting on the Martin house.  Those birds drive me nuts as they are not easy to get rid of.

After shooing them off a few times, only to see the male return as soon as I closed the back door, I decided to take down the Martin house to see if they had started to build any nests.

The first nesting box we opened had 4 Purple Martin Babies.  They barely had their eyes open.

Four Purple Martin Babies In Nest

Four Purple Martin Babies In Nest

While continuing to check the other nests, we saw another nest that had 2 eggs.  These nests I’m looking at, and expect to see with the Purple Martin are like these.

Empty Purple Martin Nest

Empty Purple Martin Nest

Then the inevitable happened.  I opened up this nest.

Empty Sparrow Nest In Martin House

Empty Sparrow Nest In Martin House

The dreaded Sparrow nest.  Here’s my yearly dilemma.  I don’t have the heart to shoot, kill, or trap the sparrows. What I have done is start checking the nests daily, and if I see a Sparrow nest I instantly remove it.  Knowing the Sparrows, they’ll be back with another nest just like above, then I’ll remove that one.  That normally goes on for a week or two (seems to be their breaking point).

I’m guessing the Sparrows are rearing their ugly head because some of the Martins seemed to have migrated yesterday,  So now we begin the man vs nature ritual.

Cesar - Have you tried putting a Sparrow spooker after the Purple Martin first egg is laid? I heard it works pretty good in keeping the Sparrows from blue bird houses, it might work for Purple Martin houses as well. I think you can even make yourself.June 29, 2010 – 10:38 am

texdr - Haven’t tried that. I’d be a little nervous putting it up now since the martins are so used to the martin house as it is now. Even when I take the martin house down to look inside I have to line it up similar to the way it was, otherwise they start squawking (or at least that’s my perception). I may try that next season though.

Thanks for the suggestion!June 29, 2010 – 2:17 pm

Judy - I was just wondering what if the purple martin’s nest gets wet before the female has layed an egg. Do I remove the nest and replace it with dry pine needles?May 20, 2011 – 10:23 pm

texdr - Since I’m no expert, I’m going to take a guess and perhaps someone else reading will comment.

I would think it would partially depend on where you live. Here in Houston, if something is wet for 5 minutes give it 10, and it will be dry because it’s so hot here.

In thinking about it a bit, I would say just leave it alone. The female will likely bring new nest material, or I’m assuming she could remove the wet nest material as well.May 20, 2011 – 10:56 pm

rob - Kill them, that’s the only wayMay 19, 2014 – 9:42 pm

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