How The War (or, at least the latest battle…) Of The Birdhouse Was Won

The poor tree swallows put up a valiant fight. I drove off the sparrow several times in an hour and the swallows watched from afar. Then they took over bothering the sparrow until it took flight and then with their superior speed and agility they drove it to the ground several times and off the plantation. That was yesterday. Today the sparrow held close to the house using the branches of the nearby Green Ash to block the swallows.

I was mad as Hell and wouldn’t take it any longer. I will build more birdhouses to meet demand but in the short term I decided to move the damned birdhouse. I chose a location out in the open where the swallows would have the high ground and 50% further distance from the house where house sparrows find food and shelter. I used a crowbar to punch a hole in a cleared strip of land in summerfallow and wiggled the steel pole on which was affixed the birdhouse until it could be lifted. I then transplanted the pole to the new location with birdhouse attached.

This caused much consternation. My swallows flew in circles, lost. They checked out the wren houses which are much too small and then roosted, sullen that their champion had taken away their house. The sparrow returned to “claim” the Green Ash… In about five minutes one swallow went on a tour of the yard and spotted the beloved birdhouse. He checked it out and flew back to inform his mate. They both shot over to reclaim the birdhouse in its new location. Shortly, another pair of swallows made a passing attempt to move in. They were driven off but are further proof that I should put the rainy day forecast to good use putting up another birdhouse. I have some scrap plywood. I have a power nailer and a saw. I can do this…

Well, it remains to be seen whether the sparrow is more attached to the tree or the birdhouse and whether the swallows can convince him it’s not worth getting dive-bombed by fighter jets. We will see. On another note, I did check whether sparrows are a protected species. It seems some of them are… Killing the bad ones may not be legal here. The problem is that sparrows are both native and introduced but no sparrow is classified as exotic/kill on sight in my province. I suppose I could live trap them and take them for a ride but under the wildlife act, that’s also a no-no because they do migrate, a little, and it’s quite possible mine did fly across the 49th parallel.

To be continued…

UPDATE I did make another birdhouse. This one has a larger box and a slightly smaller opening. I installed it on a pole slightly closer to the ground than the first. I hope to have two swallow families settle in for a productive summer. A day of rain arrived so I have not seen much bird activity so far.

UPDATE Ha! The sparrow is out of the picture… However, the new smaller opening proved too small. I went out this morning to hack it out to about 1.25 inch diameter. It’s ugly because I could not get the hole-saw working but a hacksaw blade in gloved hand did the trick. Now we need a warm summer day to get the swallows and the bugs active again. Won’t it be grand to have two families of swallows guzzling flying insects? Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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