These are purple martins. They are awesome little birds. They make pretty sounds, they zip around low to the ground, scarfing up flying insects for food. They are totally comfortable around humans, and will actually buzz your head if you are out working in the yard.
I want lots of these guys on my property. But first, we must go to war. More on that in a moment.
Laughable how it is, as we age, we start finding ourselves pursuing hobbies that are more properly suited to octogenarians shuffling around with canes.
Yet, this is where I stand. I am a bird nerd.
Here's the backstory. Last year, I was told by my landscaper to order a purple martin house. He espoused the captivating flight patterns, colors, and song of this rare migratory bird. He told me about how they actually come north from Central America every spring, and will somehow FIND the same birdhouses they successfully raised their young in the year before.
Sounded like total bullshit to me, but I said, okay, why not.
Sure enough I got a few of the lovely purple martins last year, and they immediately began a spat with some local house sparrows over living quarters in the 12 room house I had erected.
I had read briefly, how the house sparrow nests must be removed by the martin house "landlord" (me) diligently to prevent them from ousting and harassing the martins.
I was also told, by the literature that came with the house, that it was legal to "shoot or trap" sparrows.
I tore out the houses, but not too religiously. I bought a Crossman Remington Summitt 22 pellet gun, and took some potshots at the sparrows, but never actually bagged one.
The martins eventually disappeared sometime in August, and I didn't think twice about it. Then the fall and winter came, and that was that for the season.
So this year, I decided to buy two bluebird houses, AND another 16 room purple martin house to try to give everyone a nice place to live.
That's when I read about so-called Sparrow Revenge Syndrome. Here's your key paragraph:
From my experiences, frequent house sparrow nest removal, without permanent removal of the house sparrows, is NOT a viable house sparrow control method. Such a method may create more aggressive, "vindictive" house sparrows because their nest cycle is broken and yet they still have a powerful desire to procreate. They will just look elsewhere in the martin house/gourd cluster for another nest site to breed. That nest site may just be an active martin nest. Remember: the male house sparrow selects the territory and nothing short of death will usually force to completely abandon the site.
Wow. I never knew that sparrows were such complete avian assholes! But then I read some more, and more, and more.
Then, I ordered this trap.
It is war, folks. Plain and simple.
Especially since I was overjoyed to see at least 4 martin pairs flying around the new house, and hopefully scoping out a new home.
If I don't aggressively eliminate the sparrows around my house, then these awesome purple martins will never nest or breed.
So all counting, I bet I am in for at least $200 worth of bird houses, and now sparrow traps.
But when I go all in, I go "all in."
I turn 42 in June. What a freakin' nerd. But at least Tony Soprano had his little affection with those stupid ducks in his pool.