Nasty English Sparrows
March 8, 2005 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Could you give me any ideas for ridding my horse barn of English Sparrows. Their population has reached plague proportion. They have driven away the barn swallows, phoebes and robins that used to nest in the barn. we would prefer a live trap as we would like to keep our native birds and bats, but we are frustrated enough with the sparrows’ mess, that we wouldn't be fussy about what traps we set during the winter.
posted by Daddest to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Best answer: I have seen these traps used successfully. Advantages: Catch more, easy release of desirables, and I don't think they would catch bats. I keep meaning to build one for my barn. Plans to build your own can be purchased here (scroll down to "Troyer V-top Trap Plans").
posted by bricoleur at 5:49 AM on March 8, 2005

Addendum: In case you're wondering about disposal of the birds captured in these traps, I've been told that barn cats quickly figure out how to get into the trap. So you have to monitor it, letting the cat out as soon as it's killed the birds, and letting deirable birds out before the cat gets them. And for those of you who think this sounds cruel, weigh the sparrows' momentary suffering against all the havoc they create amongst native species. (Captured sparrows should not be released in someone else's backyard.)
posted by bricoleur at 5:57 AM on March 8, 2005

Can't you bring a boom box in there and play a recording of a hawk's or falcon's cry on a looping tape to scare them away? Mightn't that work?
posted by planetkyoto at 6:24 AM on March 8, 2005

I suggest deportation, but here is one person's method of trapping them (and feeding them to cats or falcons).

And here (pdf) is an interesting piece of history concerning The English Sparrow Problem. It begins:
The English Sparrow (Passer domesticus), was introduced into the United States in the fall of 1850. The first few pairs were liberated at Brooklyn, N.Y. In the few years then following, many others were liberated at different cities in the United States, so that by 1875, they had spread over practically the whole area east of the Mississippi. From the time of its introduction, there was a storm of protest from the practical naturalists who foresaw the result of its introduction, from its behavior in other countries. They knew its record in countries where it had been a longer resident. The people who introduced the sparrow believed that it would be an insectivorous bird, and would take care of the canker worm which was then troubling the people very much.
posted by pracowity at 6:48 AM on March 8, 2005

Two words: pellet gun.
posted by electroboy at 7:15 AM on March 8, 2005

you've got spuggies? my mum was complaining that they seem to be dying off in the uk. sounds more like they've all got cheap tickets with virgin. please leave a few! ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:20 AM on March 8, 2005

I'd just like to say that the phrase "ridding my horse barn of English Sparrows" is beautiful. Sounds like a fine title for a Cocteau Twins record.
posted by davebush at 4:24 PM on March 8, 2005

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