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House Sparrows

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  • cmbb@sk.sympatico.ca
    Bob, We can t keep meeting like this. Academic hair-splitting time has arrived: The overriding object of the time series analyses that I did on HOSP and other
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 1, 2001
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      Bob,

      We can't keep meeting like this.

      Academic hair-splitting time has arrived:

      The overriding object of the time series analyses that I did on HOSP and
      other birds was to follow trends. If the numbers that I used were either
      overcounts or undercounts was not nearly as important as the consistency of
      the counting. Because the vast majority of so-called scientific studies
      done by those who use Latin names for birds are unaudited by outside
      independent sources, from GAAP (generally accepted accounting procedures)
      these studies would be considered trash. From the perspective of those
      using large sample sizes, a million or more subjects (Statistics Canada),
      they think in terms of cost benefit. How much did it cost to get the level
      of accuracy that they theoretically did. As a rule of thumb, the larger the
      sample the closer it will get to reality regardless of the skills of those
      collecting the data.

      Yes, there is serious problems in my data analysis that was published in
      Birding, Vol. XXIX, No. 1, 1997. However, as an indicator of general
      trends, I still stick by that study. It is a distillation of thousands of
      people, with varying skills, gathering data over fifty years.

      Martin
    • Bob Luterbach
      Martin I ve been told never to debate statistics with an expert Statistician. The odds are not in your favor ! I know that an argument can be made that
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 1, 2001
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        Martin
        I've been told never to debate statistics with an expert Statistician. The
        odds are not in your favor !

        I know that an argument can be made that differences in the quality of the
        data can be overcome by the sheer quantity or volume of the data. You may
        say that the differences or variances can become factored or averaged within
        this framework.

        My point is that the data itself is very inconsistent because of the
        variance in procedures used during the Counts. Sometimes Sparrows may be
        counted with passion and other times that they are largely ignored. Their
        numbers may be both exaggerated and underestimated,simultaneously.

        You will probably say that these factors can be overcome with statistical
        procedures.

        What are your theories for the cycles that you have detected for this
        species ? Regular cyclical patterns should have a somewhat consistent cause!

        Take care
        Bob
      • cmbb@sk.sympatico.ca
        Bob, Modesty will get you nowhere. I unfortunately have not been able to look at more recent HOSP data since I have moved into a Windows environment. My
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 1, 2001
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          Bob,

          Modesty will get you nowhere.

          I unfortunately have not been able to look at more recent HOSP data since I
          have moved into a Windows environment.

          My feelings are that urban based HOSP are being "pushed back" by more
          competition in the same physical area. House Finches and Merlins.

          Martin
        • Liis Veelma
          Hello, Saskbirders! This is not statistical evidence, of course. When I moved to Winnipeg in February 1995, I had counts of 25 to 30 HOSPs or more regularly
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 1, 2001
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            Hello, Saskbirders!

            This is not statistical evidence, of course. When I moved to Winnipeg in
            February 1995, I had counts of 25 to 30 HOSPs or more regularly at my
            feeders. The hedges along the street held lots of twitterers. Two years
            ago I started the winter with 17 and the numbers have plummeted since then.
            These days, I may have three or so every once in a while at the feeders,
            and a couple here and there along the street. However, the semi-regular
            House Finches have increased to four, but the only time I saw the local
            Merlin with prey last year, it was dining on Mourning Dove, and my
            neighbour had one taken in his yard the year before. I did see some
            headless sparrows on the sidewalk last summer, though.

            Liis Veelma
            Winnipeg, Manitoba
            lveelma@...
          • Val
            When Ron menioned the many house sparrows , I was wondering if anyone has noticed there seem to be more around now than at the same time last year. We had
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 14, 2006
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              When Ron menioned the 'many house sparrows', I was wondering if anyone
              has noticed there seem to be more around now than at the same time
              last year. We had perhaps 20 last year and right now there are easily
              100 constantly checking out the feed, even though we're not tossing
              mixed seed out for them anymore. We also had two gals checking the
              nests and taking the fledglings this summer to monitor west nile.
              Somewhere some must have hatched! :-).

              Val Thomas - McTaggart
            • Dan
              The house sparrow s seem to be doing as well as ever on the farm. My farm, and any other I visit, seem over run with sparrows- as usual. I m not so sure the
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 30, 2008
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                "The house sparrow's seem to be doing as well as ever on the farm. My
                farm, and any other I visit, seem over run with sparrows- as usual.
                I'm not so sure the grain elevators disappearing removes much of their
                food source... every farm has more than enough spilled grain around to
                support many hundreds. A few hundred grain elevators disappeared, but
                there are still tens of thousands of farms left, with lots of spilled
                grain around."

                As far as the Kyle area is concerned, I would agree that the House
                Sparrow population is healthy here - this year we had the highest
                count of HOSPs in the last four years of CBCs.
                However, I have to disagree a little with the above opinion. HOSPs
                were abundant at every mixed farm we visited during the CBC, but I
                can't think of a single straight grain farm we visited where there was
                spilled grain in any meaningful amount (few HOSPs too)- not surprising
                with today's grain prices. And, certainly not enough spilled grain to
                keep even a few sparrows alive, especially if they all eat like the
                ones that having been visiting my feeders the last few days. The fifty
                or so HOSPs(plus a HASP, two WCSPs, 2 DEJUs and seven or eight COREs)
                will eat an ice cream pail of canaryseed a day if I'll give it to
                them. At today's canaryseed price (durum would be the same and canola
                perhaps higher), that kind of consumption could cost a farmer $200 a
                month if he was supplying spilled grain to a typical flock of House
                Sparrows (100-250) that hangs around cattle sheds at mixed farms here.
                I don't know many straight grain farmers willing to do that, at least
                not in this area,leaving alone the problems that that much spilled
                grain could cause.
                Anyway, I'm with Sig Jordheim as far as House Sparrows are
                concerned. I admire any bird that will share winter with us and in the
                growing season HOSPs eat tremendous numbers of grasshoppers, other
                insects and weed seeds that do us a net benefit.

                I do have a question about water dishes for birds in the winter. I was
                going to buy a heated dog dish to supply open water for the birds
                visiting my feeders, but now I find that a neighbour has one -
                complete with rock in the middle - and he has never had a bird use it.
                Sig says the sparrows use his cheap, but heated bird bath even on the
                coldest of days. What are the dos and don'ts of bird baths in the
                winter? Thanks.

                Dan
                Matador, Sk
              • Schopff
                Hi everyone Say did any of you catch the news tonight about that goose......with his wing froze to the ice..............they rescued him and now he is in
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 30, 2008
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                  Hi everyone
                  Say did any of you catch the news tonight about that goose......with his
                  wing froze to the ice..............they rescued him and now he is in
                  shelter for the winter till he recovers............poor fellow.
                  Winters are so harsh on birds and animals......
                  Cheryl

                  Dan wrote:

                  > "The house sparrow's seem to be doing as well as ever on the farm. My
                  > farm, and any other I visit, seem over run with sparrows- as usual.
                  > I'm not so sure the grain elevators disappearing removes much of their
                  > food source... every farm has more than enough spilled grain around to
                  > support many hundreds. A few hundred grain elevators disappeared, but
                  > there are still tens of thousands of farms left, with lots of spilled
                  > grain around."
                  >
                  > As far as the Kyle area is concerned, I would agree that the House
                  > Sparrow population is healthy here - this year we had the highest
                  > count of HOSPs in the last four years of CBCs.
                  > However, I have to disagree a little with the above opinion. HOSPs
                  > were abundant at every mixed farm we visited during the CBC, but I
                  > can't think of a single straight grain farm we visited where there was
                  > spilled grain in any meaningful amount (few HOSPs too)- not surprising
                  > with today's grain prices. And, certainly not enough spilled grain to
                  > keep even a few sparrows alive, especially if they all eat like the
                  > ones that having been visiting my feeders the last few days. The fifty
                  > or so HOSPs(plus a HASP, two WCSPs, 2 DEJUs and seven or eight COREs)
                  > will eat an ice cream pail of canaryseed a day if I'll give it to
                  > them. At today's canaryseed price (durum would be the same and canola
                  > perhaps higher), that kind of consumption could cost a farmer $200 a
                  > month if he was supplying spilled grain to a typical flock of House
                  > Sparrows (100-250) that hangs around cattle sheds at mixed farms here.
                  > I don't know many straight grain farmers willing to do that, at least
                  > not in this area,leaving alone the problems that that much spilled
                  > grain could cause.
                  > Anyway, I'm with Sig Jordheim as far as House Sparrows are
                  > concerned. I admire any bird that will share winter with us and in the
                  > growing season HOSPs eat tremendous numbers of grasshoppers, other
                  > insects and weed seeds that do us a net benefit.
                  >
                  > I do have a question about water dishes for birds in the winter. I was
                  > going to buy a heated dog dish to supply open water for the birds
                  > visiting my feeders, but now I find that a neighbour has one -
                  > complete with rock in the middle - and he has never had a bird use it.
                  > Sig says the sparrows use his cheap, but heated bird bath even on the
                  > coldest of days. What are the dos and don'ts of bird baths in the
                  > winter? Thanks.
                  >
                  > Dan
                  > Matador, Sk
                  >
                  >




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                • Geoffrey
                  Just thought that I would stir up the pot a bit regarding this species, which has been villified for being a non-native species. When I was in Grade 7 I
                  Message 8 of 8 , Dec 11, 2012
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                    Just thought that I would stir up the pot a bit regarding this species, which has been villified for being a non-native species. When I was in Grade 7 I proudly put up my recently constructed tree swallow nesting box with 2 compartments that I had made in wood working class. To my delight and to the delight of my visiting English grandmother, we quickly had tree swallows setting up house. To my sheer horror, not long after they had laid eggs some house sparrows tossed the swallow eggs on the ground and then took over. I wasn't about to let that happen so I plugged the hole, consulted my neighbour who had a whole colony of swallows in his back yard and resized the hole. Still couldn't ever get the swallows to return. I was a disappointed boy and I resented House sparrows for many years. Then I read an article about the mysterious decline of the house sparrows in Great Britain. Who would have thought that that could even happen? Now I think of them more as individuals and since they are pretty much the only visitors I ever get at my feeder in Saskatchewan in the winter, I've made my peace with them. I just try to think of my feeder as a potential accipter/merlin feeder. Anyways you HOSP lovers and haters alike may be interested to read this update on Britain's HOSP's www.bto.org/bbs/results/BBSreport11
                    HOSP numbers are up and Starling's are down. That's all ffffolks!
                    Geoff in Warman. (Guess I need to plant some trees)
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