Bluebirds are back
A couple of weeks ago, when February was more like April I noticed bluebirds in the neighborhood and we put up the nest boxes. They didn't get a nest built before the weather turned back to January. This morning they were back checking out the boxes and a battle ensued between the bluebirds and the house sparrows, truly the "deplorables" of the bird world. Not only were the bluebirds defending the boxes aggressively from these pests there were cardinals, chickadees, juncos, blue jays and even a woodpecker fighting them off. The swooping, charging and chattering was impressive. Finally the sparrows got the message that they are not welcome but also gone were the bluebirds. Hopefully they will return. We were so happy to have a pair produce a family in our yard last year and would love to see them again.
If you are not familiar with the problem that house sparrows present for the native songbirds read this article by the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/managing-house-sparrows-and-european-starlings/ House sparrows (only house sparrows, not all the other types of sparrows) and starlings are considered non-native, invasive species. They are pests and a true danger to our native song birds. They are of no value to the environment nor do they provide any beneficial service. We have starlings around but they are not such a threat to the bluebirds because they cannot fit in a bluebird nest box or cavity but the house sparrows sure can and will. They will injure and destroy native birds, especially bluebirds. Please do not feed them and if they start nesting remove the nests to force them elsewhere. This article from Columbia University give some history of the invasion. http://www.columbia.edu/invasion_Passer_domesticus.htm and this is a good site as well http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm#nestboxlocation
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