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astroalex

House Sparrows out front but never in the backyard

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I currently have two feeders out; one really expensive squirrel blocking one (the kind that drops when there's too much weight on the perch) in the backyard and one really cheap-y tube feeder out front; they have the same exact seeds in them, except the one out front is completely Invaded by house sparrows and the occasional song sparrow, while the one out back (that I put by some thistle-y type bushes) brings in goldfinches (predictably), cardinals, house finches and chickadees mainly; I don't think I've ever seen a house sparrow in the back. I really want to stop putting out the feeder in the front if the HOSPs are just going to chow down so quickly on it, and put a bunch more in the back, but I'm worried they will just move back there instead and I'll never see much of anything else

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How long has each feeder been in place?  Are these behaviors long-running, or are the feeders new and the birds are still exploring their options?

Any chance the one in front is in an open area, and the one in back has trees and shrubs close to it?

Does the front feeder have longer perches?

Is one the sun more hours of the day than the other?

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21 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

How long has each feeder been in place?  Are these behaviors long-running, or are the feeders new and the birds are still exploring their options?

Any chance the one in front is in an open area, and the one in back has trees and shrubs close to it?

Does the front feeder have longer perches?

Is one the sun more hours of the day than the other?

1- Oh not very long, about a week haha. I have put out different feeders in the front and back in the past, and still the front mainly brought in hundreds of house sparrows while the back attracted the types of birds I wanted 

2- The one out front is hanging from a pole right next to a small bush (the house sparrows just jump from the bush to the feeder whenever a perch opens up), but the majority of the yard is just clear grass, while the one out back has a ton of trees (and a gigantic beechnut, that attracts the chickadees and tons of woodpeckers) as while as what i assume must be thistle-y type bushes as the gold finches go crazy for the little shrubs in the back (I put the feeder out back by those bushes). 

3- The front feeder is a tube feeder, while the one out back doesn't have perches like that. It's like this - http://www.lecs.me/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/crow-proof-bird-feeder-out-witting-squirrels-and-blackbirds-squirrel-and-crow-proof-bird-feeders.jpg '

4- The one out front is in pretty direct sunlight a good percentage of the day, while the one out back has that gigantic beechnut tree creating shade. 

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I'm guessing the house sparrows prefer one or more of those environmental factors (probably the openness), and that they'll likely not go around back as long as there's food available up front.

If you've never seen any in the back,  I'd take the front one down and see what happens.  If they do move to the back, I again guessing it won't be in the same numbers you get out front.  I'm also guessing that if they move to the back in unmanageable numbers, you can put the front one back out and they'll return to their preferred location.  Let it get empty and don't refill it until they remember / rediscover the back yard.  Then fill it again and repeat.

I don't know if they'll eat milo but if they will then I'd use that cheap stuff for them.  It ought to be good for something...

 

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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I'm guessing the house sparrows prefer one or more of those environmental factors (probably the openness), and that they'll likely not go around back as long as there's food available up front.

If you've never seen any in the back,  I'd take the front one down and see what happens.  If they do move to the back, I again guessing it won't be in the same numbers you get out front.  I'm also guessing that if they move to the back in unmanageable numbers, you can put the front one back out and they'll return to their preferred location.  Let it get empty and don't refill it until they remember / rediscover the back yard.  Then fill it again and repeat.

I don't know if they'll eat milo but if they will then I'd use that cheap stuff for them.  It ought to be good for something...

 

Alright, sounds like a plan, thanks! 

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23 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Hey, @astroalex!  Did anything come of this?  :blink:

Well, after a few days, the house sparrows definitely dispelled a ton in the front yard, and so far I can go a good two weeks without having to fill the majority of the feeders. Now we get a good variety of different birds out front-there's one or two house finches that like it there, the house sparrows occasionally will munch, but mostly we get lots of chickadees and titmice, which barely eat much. I love those guys. Today we're getting a two day long snow storm that's attracting all types of birds to my feeders now- cardinals (which I wasn't expecting since a sharpie stopped by yesterday morning and demolished one- the poor girls feathers are still out there), dark eyed juncos (a yard bird for me!), white throated and song sparrows (which we had before, but I still find them cool), and even a carolina wren, another yard bird!! I have a bunch of feeders out front right now since the house sparrows have calmed down+I really don't feel like having to go all the way to the back in this weather. I've been putting feeders that I know will attract birds that are relatively okay with my presence in the front, while trying to attract the more shy birds out back, but since it's so hard to monitor from that distance I set up my bird cam at those feeders. I think I'm getting into a nice schedule and plan. When the weather get's better I'll probably be moving a lot more feeders to the back. Still super happy about that wren!!! 

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On 1/4/2018 at 10:26 AM, astroalex said:

Well, after a few days, the house sparrows definitely dispelled a ton in the front yard, and so far I can go a good two weeks without having to fill the majority of the feeders. Now we get a good variety of different birds out front-there's one or two house finches that like it there, the house sparrows occasionally will munch, but mostly we get lots of chickadees and titmice, which barely eat much. I love those guys. Today we're getting a two day long snow storm that's attracting all types of birds to my feeders now- cardinals (which I wasn't expecting since a sharpie stopped by yesterday morning and demolished one- the poor girls feathers are still out there), dark eyed juncos (a yard bird for me!), white throated and song sparrows (which we had before, but I still find them cool), and even a carolina wren, another yard bird!! I have a bunch of feeders out front right now since the house sparrows have calmed down+I really don't feel like having to go all the way to the back in this weather. I've been putting feeders that I know will attract birds that are relatively okay with my presence in the front, while trying to attract the more shy birds out back, but since it's so hard to monitor from that distance I set up my bird cam at those feeders. I think I'm getting into a nice schedule and plan. When the weather get's better I'll probably be moving a lot more feeders to the back. Still super happy about that wren!!! 

Carolina Wrens are one of my favorite songbirds!  They're so curious.  And keep a watch, because they will build a nest in anything available.  Their habitat (trees with holes/cavities) is really shrinking and minimal due to humans.  Wreaths hanging on the front door or other exterior wall is one of their favorites.  When we moved into this house, our contractor left the door open while he was working and the male Carolina Wren tried to build a nest in our hanging ceiling fan that has  the opening of the light cover pointing upward like a bowl. lol  We're thinking of putting up a nest box for them this year, but we're not sure if that's a good idea due to all the hawks in our area (we live on a bluff).

As for the House Sparrows, like others said.. it's likely the wide open space type environment you have that's really attracting them.  This is one reason they are such a danger to bluebirds, because they require the same type of environment.  If your backyard is shrubby, has a lot of trees instead of wide open spaces.. that might not really attract them.  Depends on how desperate for food they are, too.

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