Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters


Tree Swallows Killed by House Sparrows

Also see House Sparrow Control, and more accounts of House Sparrow Attacks

Tree swallow killed by HOSP. Photo by Paula Ziebarth

This is one of the worst photos I have seen of a bird killed by a House Sparrow (HOSP). The Tree Swallow (TRES) head is not completely missing, but is defeathered, with the skull exposed and the brain pecked out. A red-banded male HOSP was seen on and in the nestbox where this TRES was killed.

These photos were taken on an experimental trail where HOSP eggs and/or nests are being removed on a weekly basis, but HOSP are not being trapped but are being banded. Four Tree Swallows were attacked a month after the experiment began. Of those; three died (photo below) and one was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator. (Note: All of these boxes are mounted on poles with raccoon baffles.)

Tree Swallows killed by HOSP. Photo by Paula Ziebarth
HOSP kills occurred in three separate boxes. In addition to the bird pictured at the top, two TRES were attacked in one box (seen in the photo below). The male died, the female was badly injured. She was taken to a wildlife rehabber but died the next day. A pair of banded HOSP were seen in the vicinity; that HOSP pair had a nest with two HOSP eggs in it which was removed 7 days prior to the attack on the TRES.
Tree Swallow killed by House Sparrow.  Photo by Paula Ziebarth

House sparrows will reward your kindness by killing your bluebirds
- Bob Orthwien

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