This letter is in response to Curtis W. Naumann’s April 24 letter: Be weary of house sparrows.
My family has been feeding the birds at our Minneapolis northside home for 70 years and yes, we do get a few house sparrows from time to time (which are not actually sparrows, but rather, weaver finches). We also get mourning doves, bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, red-winged blackbirds, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, yellow-shafted flickers, slate-colored juncos, cardinals, blue jays, gold finches, robins and on and on and on. We even are visited by short-shinned hawks and other raptors due to such an abundance of available prey.
Mr. Naumann reports that the property next door to his has 14 sparrow nests, speculating that they will produce 300 new sparrows by summer’s end. That makes sense. He also indicated that letters written to the property owner and several government agencies yielded no results. That is not surprising; I wrote to Mayor Hodges twice about blood splattered on the sidewalk the entire length of my street due to a shooting last January, forcing elementary school children to walk on blood en route to their bus stop, but never heard back from either the Mayor or her staff. Typical of government, but I digress.
So here is a suggestion to remedy Mr. Naumann’s problem. Instead of writing letters, buy two bird feeders. Fill one with equal parts of whole corn and oil sunflower seeds. Fill the other with nut & fruit bird seed. Refill as needed in order to keep both feeders from going empty. Over time, the birds that the feeders attract will crowd out the sparrows. Some of those birds will even kill and eat them. The only down side to this remedy is what to do with all of those pesky squirrels!