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Trimming HOSP

HOSP is the HOuse SParrow (Passer Domesticus.)  It is a very common bird we see it every time we go to a fast food outlet.  These birds are actually not sparrows, rather they are closer to finches, weaver finches.  They can weave a nest in the open, and they can use cavities.  This bird is not native to the US, though it has grown in population throughout the North American Continent.  It was imported in the mid 19th century by Europeans who wanted to see their "old" birds from back home.  It was sometimes called "English Sparrow."  The picture shows the male HOSP.

The HOSP is a very small, smart, adaptive bird.  It has a powerful beak typical of finches.  Mostly it eats seeds, corn, bread and other food people throw out or offer.  It is usually found where people live and rarely in the unpopulated countryside.  HOSP will compete with the Bluebird for cavities to nest in.  The beak of the HOSP is much more powerful than that of the Bluebird, and in a duel, the Bluebird usually loses the fight and abandons the nest.  Worse yet, the Bluebird may be killed by the HOSP.  For this reason many bluebirders will capture and kill the HOSP.  (It is legal to kill the HOSP, though many people like myself prefer to use other methods.)

It is our responsibility to monitor Bluebird boxes for two reasons.  First to check that the Bluebirds are not in trouble, and to remedy such trouble if we see it, and second to make sure that no HOSP is using the box and to prevent it from breeding more HOSP.  Once a male HOSP claims a box, it will not leave it on its own.  The male will attract a female, they will make a nest and start to lay eggs.  It is essential to act at this point if not sooner.  First one can remove the eggs, but afterwards the female will lay more eggs.  Rarely, the couple may leave.  If not, then some other solution is needed.  One could pair boxes, then render the HOSP eggs infertile.  This way the Bluebird can have one box, the HOSP the other, yet no HOSP babies will result.  Ways to make eggs infertile include a tiny puncture with a pin (on the larger end into an internal air pocket without puncturing the sac.)  Some people immerse the egg in oil thus closing the pores preventing oxygen from reaching the cells inside.  My approach is to capture the HOSP and trim some of its wing feathers.  To learn more about this, go to the link "Trimming HOSP."

In cases where the Bluebird has already built a nest (with eggs or babies,) and suddenly a HOSP appears, the second method "Mono Filament" can be used.


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Please feel free to send me, Fawzi Emad, any corrections, observations, comments or questions.  Thank you!  (The tail feather on the left is from Koko, our Blue-Front Amazon Parrot.)