7.17.2012

My Pest Problems Continue...

Help!!! Ok, so I have been doing research into what kind of bird has invaded the yard. We have House Sparrows. They are in invasive species from Europe, and they will eat EVERYTHING. As evident. Anyhow, there is now way to get rid of them unless you remove their food source (chicken feed) and nesting source (neighbors tree.)

Is it OK to ask your neighbor whom you have never met to cut down his tree? Or ask if I can cut it down? Probably not... And honestly, I kind of like it. It provides some brief shade in the evening and some privacy from his house.

And the chickens. I do NOT want to get rid of the chickens. Although being able to sit in the back yard at the table and admire the garden without being surrounded by chicken poop would be rather nice. Hubby thinks we can go to feeding schedule to try and discourage the sparrows from eating the chicken feed, but I don't think that will work. I am willing to try it though. I also saw a guy online who hung old CD's in his trees and it discouraged the sparrows... I don't have any old movies I am willing to part with though....

And the other thing about these damn sparrows... This morning, I watered with water from the back rain barrels because they need to be emptied (we have to do a human error repair.) And what did I see coming out of my watering can holes? Little red worms! What the hell?!?!?! Not only am I spending a fortune on chicken feed, and cleaning up bird poo every damn day, but now I have worms in my water!!!! Can I put bleach in the rain barrels??? How much would be safe to still water the garden????

UGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

**Update** I have been doing some research and found out that the little worms are midge larvae, and they are harmless. They turn into mayflies, which all the birds around here eat in the spring, which would explain why they are coming from the sparrow poop. However, I do NOT want to give the sparrows yet another reason to stick around, so I will be going outside to add dish soap to my rain barrels. Using bleach freaks me the heck out!!!

17 comments:

  1. How feeder guppies in your rain barrels to keep larvae down? I get mine from the pet store and they are 13 cents each. I usually put 4 in a barrel. I even had one tough one actually live through the winter one year. It was amazing! They do a great job control mosquito larva and I imagine they would work on midge larva too.

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    1. I just finished reading about that... But honestly, with the lack of rain this year, I don't want to have to put water from the hose into my rain barrels just to keep the fish alive... Seems kind of like an oxymoron in that sense. And how do you get them out once they die? Our rain barrels are completely enclosed, with no way to get inside of them... Here is the link showing them...

      http://tinygardener.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-we-made-rain-barrels.html

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    2. I figure when they die they either come out with the water flow intact (probably not) or they decompose and come out in microscopic pieces. Gross, I know, but I figure they are rain barrels not cisterns for drinking. Also, I only put 3-4 little fish (smaller than goldfish) in it so there is no noticeable problem with dead fish.

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  2. Glad you found out about the larva....it was kind'a freaking me out wondering what it was. I don't think the CD's work after a while anyhow. Could you put something up in a bird feeder maybe cheaper, but BETTER tasting to the sparrows? I know, it would drive me nuts to feed stinking sparrows, but maybe it will cut down on them eating the chicken feed??

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    1. I did put up a feeder about a well ago. There are so many birds, they go through 10 pounds of bird seed in about 3 days, so I really don't know how beneficial it really is. I am wondering how many more sparrows out is attracting versus keeping them away...

      Yeah those larvae freaked me out!!! Hopefully my dish soap will work... I will report in a few days.

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  3. Do you have screen on your rain bareel openings? I've never had worms, but we're in a different area too....

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  4. Where is your chicken feed? I put together a really simple pvc feeder for my 4 girls and have it in the coop. I wonder if the sparrows would be brave enough to go into the coop knowing the chickens go in/out. Ruby, my Rhode Island Red, is very protective when it comes to wild birds trying to come into the pen. She raises a ruckus and chases them out.

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    1. The chicken feed is in the coop, and the sparrows are in there all the time. The chickens aren't even bothered by them.

      To add to my errors, now cats are invading the yard because the sparrows are an easier catch than the chickens. I caught 2 cats INSIDE the coop today. This is just getting worse by the minute...

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  5. Bleach is actually very safe to use in your water. It evaporates in less than 24 hours and it will kill the larva. It is very safe. I use one cup per ten gallons of water.

    As for the sparrows - build a trap. In the zoo world we trap the invasive ones to give the native sparrows a better chance. We can catch 20 - 30 in one day. The trap is simple and works great. I will try to find a link to one.

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    1. Thanks for the bleach tip! So what do I do with the sparrows after I trap them?

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    2. Sparrow Pye.
      You must have five dozen at least; lay betwixt every one a Bit of Bacon as you do when you roast them, and a Leaf of Sage and a little Force-meat at the Bottom of your Crust; put on some Butter a top and lid it; when bak’d for one Hour, which will be sufficient, make a little thicken’d Gravy, put in the Juice of a Lemon; season with Pepper and Salt, so serve it hot and quick. (Charles Carter’s “City and Country Cook … “ 1736)

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    3. Our city pound will take them and dispose of them but you could just drive really really far away and let them go.(I don't think they are restricted.) They may come back. In the Zoo World we gas them, bag them, and feed them to our animals.

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  6. http://www.wildlifecontrolsupplies.com

    Just run a search on this site. They have several different types of sparrow traps.

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  7. My former neighbor put out bird feeders, and the sparrows just annihilated my garden, especially peas and lettuce. It's better now that she's moved, and I plugged the holes in my bird houses so they couldn't nest there any more, but I still have at least one family living in my arborvitae. They left the peas alone this year, but I still have to grow my lettuce under bird netting. The quail used to do a lot of damage in the garden too, but the new neighbor removed their natural habitat so now they've moved somewhere else. I rather miss watching them, I put up with some damage just to watch their little ones in the garden.

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    1. Thankfully, I was able to harvest all of my lettuce and peas before the sparrows moved in. and I wouldn't know a quail if it slapped me in the face!

      I can't even enjoy the pretty songbirds because the damn sparrows scare everything away. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of feed I am going through.

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  8. what about hanging those disposable pie plates, the foil looking ones.. or maybe one of those plastic owls? are sparrows scard of owls?

    hmmm.. bastards

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  9. I don't think house sparrows are protected. They're classified as pests like rats or mice. Do you have a bbgun? That's what we use, especially when they're harassing the bluebirds!

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