Saturday, July 28, 2007

Update on House Sparrows and Bird Feeders

About a month ago, a reader asked for ways to discourage house sparrows from wasting the seed at her bird feeders. Several readers responded with suggestions. On Thursday, Laura in NWDC wrote an update on her situation:

I built my own "magic halo" a couple of weeks ago out of two wooden rings (about 4 inches wider in diameter than the feeder) and fishing line. I attached long pieces of fishing line to the first ring at 3-4 inch intervals, and then attached the other end of each piece to the second ring, making a cylinder. I hung the cylinder from the hook the feeder is on so the cylinder surrounds the feeder. That was after removing the feeder from the yard for about a week and washing it thoroughly.

It took a week or so for the birds to rediscover the feeder, but this morning vindication arrived. Finches, nuthatches, chickadees and juvenile cardinals all enjoyed the bounty, darting right in through the fishing lines. The house sparrows swarmed the feeder like usual, but backed up in the air as soon as they saw the fishing line. They were terrified! They watched the other birds jealously but couldn't bring themselves to breech that fishing line barrier. I don't know WHY, but as long as it works, I'm happy!
Thanks to all the readers who commented with suggestions!