View Full Version : Sparrow Spookers
03-26-2008, 12:40 PM
Tell us about what you know about Sparrow Spookers (http://www.sialis.org/images/spookerpam.jpg) and how effective they are in the war against sparrows. How do bluebirds take to them?
03-26-2008, 12:52 PM
Well, I am happy to say first of all that I do not have any House Sparrows and have only had one in the entire 11 years of my monitoring. Lucky and blessed am I!
The Sparrow Spooker is a wonderful little gadget to use to help you with keeping the House Sparrows (HOSP) away after the first egg is laid. It gives you some protection and a little help while you are working on or figuring out a plan to get rid of them on our trail or yard for good if you can.
You can order them made or you can make your own.
I am working with a brand new LBBS member from Oak Ridge, LA who is on his first year of monitoring a 10 box trail. He was walking his trail a few weeks ago and came up on a box that he heard some scuffling in. When he got there a HOSP flew out and he opened the box and there was the beautiful male Bluebird with his head half pecked off and bleeding and dying. He got on his cell phone to me and his heart was crushed.
He already had out one ground trap, but he ordered two more and 8 Van Ert inbox traps. He has made much progress trapping both ways since that incident.
I told him that he needed to get some Sparrow Spookers as nest building was beginning. When he got the first egg in the nests built on his trial, he installed the Sparrow Spookers. He told me they are working beautifully.
You are to leave them until after the babies fledge, then remove them as you do not want the HOSP's to get used to them. When the next cycle comes, you repeat the same procedure.
I think we have to use all the tools available when it comes to House Sparrows and the site Terry has recommended has some wonderful information about all you need to get the upper hand on this awful predator that we have to deal with.
03-26-2008, 01:01 PM
P.S. To answer the question on how Bluebirds take to them, from all accounts I've read, they have no problem with them. The recommendations is to wait until after the first egg is laid as the female is more committed to the nest and egg and less chance of abandonment.
Isn't it strange the little HOSP is so leery of the little wavy shiny spookers!
03-26-2008, 02:07 PM
Thank you for the very informative note. I had bluebirds nest in one of my boxes in the 2006 season. I am looking forward to a return this year--hopefully.
03-27-2008, 07:02 PM
I just got off the phone with our LBBS member in Oak Ridge that has had House Sparrow infestion on his trail established this year. He was so happy to report that he has babies in the first nest that had eggs laid. He says the Sparrow Spooker is working great. He is having great success also with his ground traps. He told me that when he catches a female, he puts her in the other traps he has for a decoy and it helps to lure the male into that trap. I felt so proud for him and what he has accomplished already. He has also had some luck with the rifle! He says all the hard work he has put into it is absolutely worth it!!!
04-12-2008, 06:35 PM
I can definitely vouch for the effectiveness of sparrow spookers. My first year bluebirding, I had no idea that HOSPs were capable of such violence and destruction. I came home one afternoon from work to see a HOSP sitting on top of my occupied BB box (that I knew had five, one-day-old BB hatchlings inside). I thought that was strange, so I went over to investigate. To my horror, I found three dead babies and two missing. I crawled around in the grass on my hands and knees until I found the two survivors. I put them back in the box and stood guard while I planned what to do next. I ended up calling my brother to come over and watch the box while I got online. That is when I learned about spookers. Since it was an emergency, I made my own using rulers and a mylar birthday banner. It wasn't pretty, but it worked!
Those two baby blues went on to fledge succesfully. This year, I bought Uncle Blaine's spookers. I haven't had a chance to use them yet--no eggs laid--but I think they're a wonderful addition to any bluebird landlord's HOSP management plan.
I am also actively trapping this year with a DRST. So far, I've caught 20 HOSPs, and I'd estimate I have about 15 more to go. I also have a self-contained, "mobile" nest box trap. I've caught a few in that, too. Now I need to order an in-box trap pronto because I see HOSPs trying to claim some of my existing BB boxes.
I'm beginning to feel desperate because I know one particular HOSP has chased away the nesting BB pair I had last year in my front yard. If it takes me all summer--and even if that pair has found another location--I WILL get rid of him. Maybe I can enjoy BBs there again next year if it's too late this year.
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