Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sparrow Troubles

Last night I went to check on my sparrows (english) and instead of finding a dozen or so of the little buggers I found a hole in the netting I used to cover the front of the cage. Keeping sparrows this year has been a trial for me. Last season I had 6 of them in a cage in my basement and they did fine. I lost them trapping and as hawk food. This year I decided I needed more so I built a larger cage, a 3ft cube. I figure I can keep 30 or so sparrows in it no problem. Well I put the sparrows I had already trapped in and 3/4 of them promptly died. After talking to a friend I realized the cage needed to be much more enclosed so I covered 3 of the sides, leaving only the bottom and the front open. This worked out much better and everyone was happy, until the squirrel liberated the bunch. Then only the sparrows and squirrel were happy. I went out and covered the whole thing with 1/2in hardware cloth yesterday evening and now I am thinking about whether I want to keep starlings or sparrows. I want to hunt starlings this fall so I know I should have a bunch of them on hand, but I know merlins love sparrows as bait. After talking to another falconer I think I will try to keep a dozen or so starlings alive and the sparrows will go straight into the freezer. Of course I now need to build a starling trap, which should be fun. I have the plans for a 5ft x 6ft x 6ft tall V trap that is supposed to work very well. I plan on putting it out in the field where I am harvesting. I usually have a crowd of 50 or so starlings following the harvester.

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