Tony Carita captured this unusual footage with a nestbox cam in Tennessee in February 2002. House Sparrows had been destroying bluebird eggs. The aggressor in the video is clearly a House Sparrow. It’s difficult to identify the other bird, but MAY another House Sparrow, as it is about the same size and the tails are the same length. (See Frame 100.) Several other viewers thought it might be a bluebird, or maybe a chickadee. House Sparrows, chickadees and bluebirds had all been going in this Peterson box prior to this attack. There was no nest in the box when this video was taken.
House Sparrows are very aggressive. They will harrass other cavity-nesting birds, peck eggs, and kill nestlings and toss them from the nestbox. They will also kill adults, usually by trapping them inside the box and pecking their heads, sometimes decapitating them. You can see how difficult it would be for another bird to escape this strong, crushing beak. These non-native birds pose a real threat to native species like bluebirds, Purple Martins, chickadees and others.
PS It’s POSSIBLE this is actually two House Sparrows mating – but in any case, it looks pretty brutal.
More Information about House Sparrows:
- House Sparrow Control (passive and active methods)
- All About House Sparrows
- House Sparrow Attacks (warning, graphic photos)
- Predator/Problem ID and Solutions
Nature is NOT putting up boxes for the birds to nest in. Putting up a box is interfering with nature. With that intervention comes responsibility.
Nicholas A. Zbiciak, Bluebird_L, 2000