October 13, 2005 – Sparrows and Moles

I’ve started to become a bit repulsed by all the piles of poo-poo from the growing population of house sparrows in the corn crib and barn. I started looking for info on trapping them and found that both the Bluebird and Purple Martin birding societies view them as mortal enemies of the Bluebird and Martin and other native birds since the sparrows will kill the young birds and even adult Bluebirds and Martins. So I ordered my trap to try to give the native birds a chance and help clean up the buildings. A few are fine, but when they start to make piles…

We also have a big influx of moles in the yard this fall – again, a few I can handle, but they seem to be everywhere in the yard – in the gardens, lawn, near the outbuildings bringing up dirt in front of doors. I tried an old style cheap trap – digging a hole under and active burrow and burying a canning jar, and replacing the dirt around it and covering it with a board – the theory being they will fall in and not be able to get out. It’s been in a day and no luck yet.

Of course this brings me to a bigger question – can I design a farm that sparrows and moles do not become pests? Are there layouts of plants and animals to help minimize them? Plant native grasses in the yard so I have some places for moles to live? Are there predators for the sparrows I could encourage – or since they are introduced species, am I the predator? Stay tuned…