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Tag Archives: House Sparrows

In the spring a pair of Eastern Bluebirds returned to the farm looking for a nesting house. I have two birdhouses, within 10 feet of each other, in my northern prairie and one in my eastern prairie. The two bluebirds picked a house in the northern prairie.

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After a couple of weeks the Tree Swallows returned and started battling the bluebirds for one of the houses. I thought the bluebirds had won but when I returned from a short trip the swallows had taken over the house and the bluebirds had moved to a house in the eastern prairie. This same process has repeated itself for the past several years.

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In the past, once the first batch of baby Blue Birds had fledged, the bluebirds moved into the unoccupied house in the northern prairie. Apparently Eastern Bluebirds do not use the same birdhouse for their second batch. Last year the swallows were still raising their young in one of the northern prairie birdhouses when the bluebirds moved into the second house about ten feet away. Both species seemed to live in harmony while raising their young in contrast to the battles they have when selecting a house in the spring.

Eastern Bluebird female

Eastern Bluebird female

This year a pair of House Sparrows moved into the second house in the northern prairie. Since House Sparrows raise both batches of their young in the same house I was concerned that the bluebirds would not have house to nest in for their second batch.

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While visiting some friends I notice they had a bluebird house just outside of their windows which made it easy to watch the bluebirds. When I came home I decided to purchase a couple of new birdhouses and put one of them up just outside of one of my windows. I thought this would make it easy to photograph the bluebirds should they decide to nest in the new house. Within an hour after I put the new house up the bluebirds from the eastern prairie house were checking it out. They appeared to lay claim to it while still raising their first batch of young at the eastern house.

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I was out of town when the first batch of bluebirds fledged and when I returned the bluebirds were nesting in the new house. One of the fledglings turned up and was sitting on the new house while the adult was in the house.

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This new house proved to be an ideal location to watch the bluebirds raise their young. The original plan was to photograph them from my window. However, I was surprised to find that the bluebirds didn’t mind if I watched them from my deck so I setup my camera on the deck.

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I spent a number of days reading and watching the bluebirds fee their young. During one three hour period the adult bluebirds brought food to the young on an average of every three minutes.

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At one point the male bluebird seemed to disappear but the female picked up the slack. When the male did return it was clear that he had taken time out for a quick bath at my birdbath.

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More bluebird photos can be found on my website. Just search for bluebird.

A couple of Grey Catbirds have been hanging around the feeders. They generally don’t feed except they do have a sweet tooth for the grape jelly I have out for the orioles. I’ve noticed they also have a problem with the occasional Blue Jays that come to the feeder. I can always tell if there is a Blue Jay around because of the posture of the Grey Catbirds.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Large numbers of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are currently at the feeders.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

There are a fair number of American Goldfinches around. This is a change from the spring when they all but disappeared from my feeders.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The House Sparrows continue to appear at my feeders. The past few weeks they had their young with them and now the young seem to be feeding on their own.

House Sparrows

House Sparrows

The orioles have started to return to the feeders. They were here in large numbers and then left to raise their young. Now that the young are getting ready to fledge they have started to return. I would expect that they will return with their young with the next couple of weeks.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

The Downy Woodpeckers are around feeding on my suet. I have regular suet out that I got from the butcher shop but they much prefer the more expensive peanut butter suet.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

I’ve been watching Eastern Bluebirds, House Sparrows and Tree Swallows as they built their nests this spring.

The female Eastern Bluebird seems to do the bulk of the nest building. She usually tries to bring large amounts of nesting material on each trip. Sometimes so much material that she has trouble getting into the nest.

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The Male Eastern Bluebirds doesn’t seem to do a lot of work. He watches the female and sometimes follows her to where she is gathering nesting material. I’ve yet to see the male bring any material to the nest. In fact, one day the male went into the nest and actually brought some material out.

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Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

The House Sparrows are different. Both the male and female participate in nest building. They are similar to the bluebirds in one respect, they seem to try and bring a lot of material on each trip.

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It’s hard to tell if both the male and female participated in nest building since I can’t tell them apart. I have noticed that they bring only small amounts of nesting material on any given trip.

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More Bird Photographs can be found on my Website.

A while back I posted a blog about the battle for nesting rights on a couple of my bird houses. The Eastern Bluebirds had taken up residence in one of two houses that are about 10 feet apart. When we returned from a short trip the Bluebirds were gone and a pair of House Sparrows was in one house and a pair of Tree Swallows in another house.

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In the past several years the house occupied by the House Sparrows has remained vacant until mid June when the Eastern Bluebirds returned to raise their second batch of young.

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The pair of Eastern Bluebirds moved to a nest to the east of the house and are currently raising the first batch of fledglings. They have already hatched and should fledge in a few weeks.

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Where are they going to go to raise their second batch this year. I suspected they would not return to the house occupied by the sparrows. As luck would have it I was having lunch at a friend’s house and noticed they had a bluebird house in the yard. When I returned home I decided to put up another house Just outside one of my windows. All of my other birdhouses are out in the prairie area the surrounds the yard. Within an hour the male bluebird was sitting on the house and as soon as the female could get off of the nest she came over and checked the house out. Now the male shows up in the morning to perch on the new house and the female joins him in the afternoon. I’m hoping they will use this house for their second batch.

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More Eastern Bluebird photos can be found on my website.

At last report a pair of Eastern Bluebirds had taken up residence in one of two bluebird houses I have in the back yard. They successfully fought off a pair of Tree Swallows that wanted one of the houses.

When we returned after a short trip we found the bluebirds were not in either house. The Tree Swallows had taken up residence in one of the houses.

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A pair of House Sparrows were living in the second one. This is the first pair of House sparrows I’ve had in one of my houses.

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At one point the female Eastern Bluebird sat on a perch near the houses and watched the goings on.

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More photos from Canadian Hill Farm can be found on my website.

We had, what has turned out to be, a rare snowfall earlier in the week. Unfortunately I was out getting a Measles shot because of some nut cases refuse to get their kids vaccinated. As a result I missed most of what was a beautiful snowfall consisting of large flakes drifting out of the sky. This brought the birds out in full force.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

House Sparrows

House Sparrows

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

 

As I mentioned in an earlier blog I had a family of House Sparrows show up this summer. Earlier this winter they brought all of their relatives and friends. At first they were feeding off of the ground which didn’t bother me too much but now they have moved to the feeders.

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I think I have my mother’s gene because she used to feed the birds and squirrels and then get mad when they ate too much. I feel this way about the House Sparrows.

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Since there isn’t much I can do about it I might as well make the most of it and try and get some good photos of them. I could probably become a Republican and remove all of the food from the feeders but that would just hurt the rest of the birds.

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I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I rarely have House Sparrows at my feeders. This past summer a pair of House Sparrows turned up at my feeder along with their young. This was quite a novelty and I enjoyed having them around. Unfortunately there can be too much of a good thing and this winter I have been overrun with House Sparrows. Fortunately most of them seem to be bottom feeders so they are cleaning up under the feeder. I hope it stays that way or I won’t be able to keep them in food.

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House Sparrows

House Sparrows