Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hard Dilemma

Until last year I had not seen bluebirds in the backyard. Have they just come to this area, or has my new practice of paying close attention revealed what has been here all along? Don't know the answer to that, but, as I wanted to learn more about attracting them, I sent for a free book online about bluebirding.

I learned more than I wanted to know from Bluebird Bob, namely that if you don't have the heart to trap and kill an English house sparrow, you should never install a bluebird box. Also that house wrens are a serious problem, and one should remove their early nesting sticks to prevent their setting up housekeeping in areas where bluebirds nest.

This is a classic case of being happier with less knowledge. NOW what do I do? Fortunately we don't have English sparrows here, at least I've not identified them, but what about the intense pleasure I got from observing and here chronicling my house wren families last spring from first nesting stick in April to last fledge in July?

True, I did observe the tiny bubbling but feisty house wren drive away a male bluebird twice his size. But also true, I doubt that I could ever interfere with the natural nesting habits of any bird in my yard. In defense of myself I put up the bird houses to attract wrens, nuthatches, titmice, and chickadees---never intending to attract bluebirds b/c I didn't know they were around. Does my prior ignorance relieve me of the present responsibility of preventing house wren nests? For more information, google Bluebird Bob.

Today my skybacked bluebird with the rusty breast is in and out of the box from which he was driven last summer. Here's hoping his earlier attempt at the same house this year will bring him triumph. Will see how the drama plays out when the house wrens begin nesting in April. dkm

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