Saturday, December 08, 2012

Birdie Gras

Chickadees enjoying Mardi Gras

We have a terrible problem with House Sparrows, known here at Northview as Sassenachs. The come in hordes, eat all the sun flower seeds and drive away native birds like chickadees and gold finches.

I have tried various strategies over the years but nothing has kept them away for long. Then Cornell University ran an article on bird feeder halos.

Seeds 'n' Beads

I am not particularly handy at building stuff and the men are busy so I gave some thought to how I could come up with something similar all by my lone self. A search through the hutch revealed a treasure trove of Mardi Gras beads from Miss Alpert's French class (a wonderful lady who left our kids comfortable enough speaking French that Alan was able to give directions to tourists of that nationality down in NYC).

I cut them into strings, fastened them around the feeder with clothespins and haven't seen an English sparrow (that's what they were when we were kids) taking a seed since.

I don't know how long the effect will last, but now that I know the concept I think I can keep baffling them.

Thank you Project Feeder Watch for the solution to a problem that has had me not filling my feeders much this season. What a delight to watch song birds again instead of those devilish Sassenachs.


Ruth said...

I will have to keep that in mind. We don't usually have a HUGE House Sparrow problem here, but this year I've noticed several fairly large flocks decending on the feeders. They've not stayed long, and so haven't been an issue......course, if it keeps away House Sparrows, does it keep away other sparrows? I'd likely have never seen the Harris's if the House Sparrows hadn't been hanging around cause it was DEFINETLY hanging out with them.

Cathy said...

What's going on? Any theory as to why the sparrows are thwarted by the beads?

Rev. Paul said...

I miss songbirds; when I heard a cardinal while visiting Missouri in May, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad your "trick" worked.

Woodswalker said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this simple solution. Now it will be fun to watch how the squirrels figure out a way to dislodge the beads.

lisa said...

That is interesting, Matt has been complaining about the same thing. We will have to try that.

threecollie said...

Ruth, I think it will be okay with your exotic sparrows because they are mostly ground feeders. The beads just keep the pests off my tube feeder. Normally House Sparrows aren't big on tube feeders, preferring platforms or the ground, but we had one female years ago that figured out how to use ours and the others learned from her. So far they are still coming, but just eating the spilled seeds off the ground instead of emptying the whole feeder

Cathy, I am not sure that they really know why they don't like wires, beads, etc around the feeder, but boy, am i ever glad to learn about this. I can only buy just so much seed each winter so....

Rev. Paul, wow, I couldn't imagine living without them, although you have some really exciting birds up your way too. I get the ABA rare bird alert and Alaska is always full of really amazing ones.

WW, fortunately I don't have much of a squirrel problem. Very thankfully! lol

Lisa, I am so thrilled to find even a temporary solution to the darned pests. I can't afford to feed them and I am so hoping to see some of the northern finches that are turning up all over the place.

Terry and Linda said...

OH!!! We are also having droves and droves of those little birds...they are everywhere, in the barns, the sheds, and trying with all of their little might to get into the chicken house. So of course I don't have any song birds....just sparrows and the invasive ringnecked doves and the droves! They are driving me up the walls!


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