Since my last blog, much has happened out back with the little outhouse nest box.
The Chickadees have been working away on it, hauling wood chips out, bringing odds and sods of other nest material in. The latest being pieces of old Pussy Willow blooms. The green fluffy bits surely must be pillowy soft for a little bird.
And just like that, along comes a male House Sparrow and his mate, deciding they want the outhouse nest box. I somehow believe this to be the pair, or at the very least, the male House Sparrow from the previous year. He was rather persistent on obtaining this house from the Chickadees.
male House Sparrow waiting to lay a smackdown on one of the returning Chickadees
The first day of this all had me stuck at home for a number of reasons... until I had to go to work that is. The best I could do was continuously step outside and chase these little pesty birds away from the home of the Chickadees. The biggest problem of all though was that the entrance hole was large enough for the House Sparrows to get into. A much worse outcome was possible with the Sparrows having access to the interior of the nest box. Too early for babies, but if there were eggs inside, they would destroy those for starts and possibly kill the smaller Chickadee pair. And then build their own nest on top of whatever remained inside. These are the horrifics I have read about from other people with similar situations.
I asked a web forum for advice and got a few suggestions. I called my local feed store, Wild Birds Unlimited in Etobicoke, and they had exactly what I needed. Seems the entrance hole to the nestbox was one and a half inches; but I needed to reduce the size to one and one eighths which would stop the Sparrows from getting inside. It was an easy job of just screwing in what looked like a large washer over the hole to reduce the size of the "cavity entrance".
Great success as the Sparrows could not enter the house anymore. But the problem was not entirely solved at this point. The Sparrows could not get in but that didn't mean they weren't going to give up trying or just hang around the house and bully the heck out of the Chickadees. And that is what they did. Which still left me quite often stepping outside to shoo the Sparrows away.
I noticed a change in the Chickadees as well. They became much faster now with getting in and out of the house. A blink of an eye and you would miss them. And much of the time they were hiding in the lilac tree that overshadows this old birdhouse as the bullying Sparrows sat and waited for their return.
one of the Chickadees making a quick exit, I swear he was sitting at the entrance when I took the shot
The next couple days were trying. I was thankful the end of the week was coming and I had a 4 day weekend to look forward to. One of my main plans was to be home more and monitor this situation and if I had to spend much of my day outside being a bird bodyguard, so be it.
The Sparrow attacks became less frequent each day but even one attack was still one too many for me. Or having one sit at the entrance way blocking the Chickadees from access or exit to the house. A part of me wished I had a pellet gun to end this nonsense.
And then Sunday, we noticed the Sparrows took an interest in a new house I put up outside the backdoor. A Woodpecker nestbox.
The world surrounding the Chickadee house became peaceful as the Sparrow pair moved on to this house and have been working at a steady pace of bringing nest material to it. I have to mention also a lot of work in the process of creating a new family as well... if you get my drift.
a familiar sighting now as the Chickadees are less stressed and able to rest at their home
and the same goes for the Sparrows too as mother Sparrow seemingly mocks the Chickadee down the yard
I know House Sparrows are not a native species. And am well aware, even more so now, of how much of a pest bird they can be. But after all this, I am happy to let them do their thing right outside my back door. The fact we have two active nests in the backyard this Spring is pretty exciting. It's like having my own nature channel.
House Sparrows mating. What can I say? "Tis better to see love making than war making" about sums it up
And the fact I can sit in the comforts of my kitchen and watch through the window without a pair of binoculars is alright. Perhaps next Spring I will have a different opinion of those Sparrows? Especially if a Downy Woodpecker comes along and would like the "Downy House".