Today, FOSS volunteers Bruce, Stefan and Terry carried out the annual cleaning, sanitizing and repairing of the Tree Swallow boxes in the Swallow Field.
Some boxes “disappeared” this winter. They will be replaced by the end of next week. Some additional ones will be installed as well.
The birds will start arriving in the next couple of weeks.
Last year, we had a problem with non-native House Sparrows. Box occupancy by HOSPs was higher than it had been in previous years so we employed some new strategies. We put “scarers” (tinsel, fishing line etc.) around the entrance holes and we also numbered the boxes with yellow tags for easily shared identification when evictions were required.
We had some success, but, this year, our visit today showed that they are back in force. Quite a large number of the boxes were already occupied and nest building had begun in some of them.
After cleaning out the boxes, we put cardboard covers over the entrance holes.
Given that HOSPs are larger, heavier and more aggressive that Tree Swallows, the thinking is that, as soon as the swallows arrive, and they arrive in large numbers at about the same time, we will remove the covers. Hopefully, this will give the swallows a fighting chance against the sparrows who will not be defending already established nests with, quite probably, eggs in them.
It’s an experiment that may work. We have researched this common problem extensively and discovered that there is no definitive answer.
We will monitor the situation daily.
If anyone has any T bar fence posts in
their garage that they would like to donate to increase the capacity of the Swallow Field, please contact Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org
|T BAR FENCE POST|
(By the way, the T bars in the field are almost all "wonky". The reason for this is that the soil is only a few inches deep with demolition rubble underneath. This is a lake-fill site. No matter how hard we try to put them in straight, metal and rock have their own way of doing things!)