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Birding/Winter roost and sparrows?

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Question
Hi Bob,
I have searched for the answer to my questions and was unable to find anything at all, so I am very happy to stumble across your page. I hope these aren't dumb inquiries, but...it is only House Sparrows that are a problem with bluebirds, or other sparrow species as well?  I have only seen the House Sparrow mentioned in my research.  I am hoping to  finally attract BB to my BB box, and I do have (now and then,)  White Throated, and Chipping Sparrows, and only an occasional HOSP. Next question... My BB house has sat in the yard for 10 years and nary a Bluebird to be seen.  Recently, to my surprise, 4 bluebirds visited the house in November and have been back a time or two presumably to check it out for a possible roosting in the winter.  I cleaned the box, but should I put anything in the box, such as wood chips or straw to try to insulate it from the cold?

Answer
Only the killer house sparrow enters a cavity. All of our good native sparrows make open nests and they do not bother Bluebirds or other species. The house sparrow is an alien bird from Europe and actually is a Weaver Finch, not a sparrow which is why it has that heavy killer bill. The Bluebirds nest in the spring and summer (March - August) depending on where you live. You can put some grass clippings in the box as Bluebirds and Downy Woodpackers may use it on cold nights. Also your box may not be in the best spot. If you have a big open yard it should be far back facing your lawn. You can do the same thing in front of your home so they can't see each other as they are territorial. It is best to have several boxes, at least 100 yards apart if possible If you don't have room use your neighbor's property or along the road to your home. (Roads are great, even high speed ones, as cars stir up and knock down insects and there are fewer snakes and four legged predators).

If you will send your mailing address to me at walshaw1@cox.net I will send you my free 20 page Bluebird book which will make you an expert. More than 3000 copies are out across the U. S. and Canada, and the next printing will be about January 15th. Good Luck! Bluebird Bob Walshaw.

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Bluebird Bob Walshaw

Expertise

I can answer almost any question on Eastern Bluebirds and small cavity nesters such as Chickadees, Titmice, Wrens, etc. Also general questions on other songbirds. No pet bird questions please. Send mailing address to me at walshaw1@cox.net for a free 20 page Bluebird book.

Experience

I have had a 100+ nestbox trail for more than 20 years, I do a lot of writing, public speaking and educational work in this field. My hands-on Bluebird talks include more than 1000 people each year.

Organizations
Oklahoma Bluebird Society, North American Bluebird Society, National Audubon Society, Oklahoma Audubon Society, Oklahoma Fur Bearers Alliance

Publications
Bluebird Magazine, Oklahoma Today, Fur-Fish-Game, Birds & Blooms, Nature Society News,Back Woodsman Magazine, Tulsa World, Broken Arrow ledger, Teaching Tolerance magazine,Trappers World, OK Hole Story, Birders World

Education/Credentials
Degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, Graduate of the Home Study Course in Bird Biology from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Oklahoma Master Naturalist. I am also a pofessional speaker and writer.

Awards and Honors
Chosen as a public speaker for the North American Bluebird Society, Bluebird trail accepted as part of the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail, Chosen as a panel speaker at the 2006 NABS Convention.

Past/Present Clients
Many

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