QUESTION: My first nesting just finished fledging.  Sparrows immediately moved in.  I have now trapped two and disposed of them.  I did see a bluebird hanging around.  Should I still expect to see sparrows try to enter the box or will there only be those first few "brave" ones?  

If I end up setting the trap and get a bluebird (and release it from the bag), will it become "shy" to come back?

ANSWER: When I trap the killer house sparrows in a nestbox I like to wait until they have built a nest and laid an egg or two. This way they are bonded to the box and it is easier to get both the male and female and there is less chance of catching a "good bird" - although it still happens. It sounds like you know what you are doing. I recommend having more than one box - 100 yards apart as they are very territorial. You can put one box in front of your home and one in back so thay can't see each other, or use neighbor's property or along the roads to your home - even high speed ones. Cars stir up and knock down insects and there are fewer predators.

If you will send your mailing address to me at I will send you my free Bluebird book that will make you an expert. Good Luck, Bob Walshaw, NE OK.

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QUESTION: Thanks, but none of those are doable.  Will I get the same bluebird back or is he gone?  At this time, will I get another bluebird?  I have to just wait, I guess.  If I see another sparrow going into the box, I have to set my trap again.  I know of no other way.  No, I will not allow a sparrow to finish building a nest.  Not going to happen under my watch.

Yes, wait and see. And the reason for letting them build a nest is not necessary, but it insures that you catch both of the pair and no "good birds". Also it keeps them occupied and not raiding other nests - usually. I no longer am able by shanks mare to do the extra walking that trapping requires so this year I am letting the several on my line build nests and lay eggs. I remove all but one egg and mark that. The females keep laying eggs and I have had no attacks on Bluebirds. And do I have your mailing address for the free book?


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Bluebird Bob Walshaw


Questions about setting up and monitoring Eastern Bluebird houses. This includes where and how to put up houses, trouble shooting, fighting predators, especially the killer house sparrows and helping other small cavity nesters such as Chickadees, Titmice, Carolina Wrens, etc. Send mailing address to me at for a free 20 page Bluebird book.


20 years with a 100+ box Bluebird trail which has been accepted as part of the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail. Talks on Bluebirds to many organizations.

North American Bluebird Society, Audubon Society local and national, Oklahoma Bluebird Society, OK Furbearers Alliance

Bluebird Magazine, Birds and Blooms, Oklahoma Today and many other publications.

BS, MBA, Cornell University Bird Biology course

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Blue Cross Ageless Hero, Red Cross Everyday Hero, North American Bluebird Society Awards, Oklahoma Bluebird Society Lifetime Award.

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