Starlings vs Conley-2 entrances

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Bill Hyde
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 8:59 am
Location: Illinois/Roscoe

We read posts here that complain when a starling breaches a Conley-2 sreh. It must be heart breaking when this occurs, especially when the starling does its mischief inside the gourd.

It has been mentioned from time to time that there are a few fixes for this problem. The one I use is easy to do and has worked very well on all my gourds.

What I do is take pieces of s&h porches that will fit almost flush under the entrance, except for the curved little dip at the bottom of the Conley-2. Measure the width of the dip and mark that distance in the middle of the piece you will install. Then use something to sand or grind off enough of the insert to make it flush with the bottom of the factory made entrance. I use a Dremel tool and sandpaper. Then I drill 1/4-inch holes through both pieces and use plastic push pins to attach the insert piece. You could also use Lexel or some other caulk to attach the piece to the porch.

This evening I watched as two starlings tried very hard to enter several gourds but could not solve the "improved" Conley-2s. :grin:
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bird fan
Posts: 61
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Location: Wisconsin/Sheboygan Falls

Hey Bill can you post any pictures? I have the same problem this year, I have been trapping these "flying rats" and I don't need anymore in my houses.
Greg Z
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Having met the Troyers I heartily wish them success and I expect these minor modifications re Porch height will soon be made during manufacture.

In the meantime I too would very much like to see a photo if possible of what you describe.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
KathyF
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Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Agreed - got pictures, Bill?

One of my landlords just called me today with a starling breech of a Conley II entrance. :shock:

Why is this occuring so much this year? Are the starlings adapting???? :evil:
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
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DornCounty
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Trio-Jedi

kathy,

IMO I don't think the starlings are adapting to the entrances. For that to occur there would need to be widespread use of those openings. If anything other natural reasons are causing the starlings to get smaller.

The slightly good news would be that the smaller the starling the better the chance a martin will have in a fight.

I have trapped 20 starlings now and the variation in their size has surprised me. This is from a geographic area that has almost no SREH's in use.
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Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Dorn,

Interesting observation about size variation in starlings.

However I would take issue with the fact that this size variation significantly affects the odds for martins. Starlings feed on the ground by driving their long pointed bill into the grass roots and then wedging the grass apart by opening the bill. This is the reason their eyes are so close to the base of the bill.

Unfortunatley the combination of strong legs for running and walking, long pointed beak, and the weight and muscle to drive that beak into the ground means they far outclass martins in a fight, especially in a confined space.

Martins have large eyes, a small soft beak, and short legs, on top of which they are relatively lightly built for feeding in flight.

No contest, I believe even a small starling far outclasses any martin in this regard.

Regards,

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
DornCounty
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Trio-Jedi

Oh I agree.. It's more a comment of ' Any advantage that can be gained is an advantage.' The needle beaks have so many of them that it may not amount to much but that's all I ment. Certianly not a tipping point.

Somehow introducing an altered starling may be the the only way to ever give natives a real chance again. A sort of breed them out of existence approach. But that has it's dangers too.
Scully wrote:Dorn,

Interesting observation about size variation in starlings.

However I would take issue with the fact that this size variation significantly affects the odds for martins. Starlings feed on the ground by driving their long pointed bill into the grass roots and then wedging the grass apart by opening the bill. This is the reason their eyes are so close to the base of the bill.

Unfortunatley the combination of strong legs for running and walking, long pointed beak, and the weight and muscle to drive that beak into the ground means they far outclass martins in a fight, especially in a confined space.

Martins have large eyes, a small soft beak, and short legs, on top of which they are relatively lightly built for feeding in flight.

No contest, I believe even a small starling far outclasses any martin in this regard.

Regards,

Mike Scully
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
billb
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:22 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

The number of reported breaches has definitely increased this season. Could the reason be as simple as the starling population is increasing? An invasive species like this flourishes because it does not have the natural predators in its new environment.

I have noticed a lot more starling activity at my location this season as well as more sparrows. I have witnessed no attempts to enter the 4 Conley II entrances I have, but it doesn't mean they haven't tried. May have happened, but all my offerings are occupied by martins currently. I did have one incident with my cavity enlargement trial. The larger cavity with round hole attracted the villain right away. He killed the resident martin and started nesting. I plugged the hole and he left. It now has a Conley II plate installed and nesting martin pair in residence. I wish I had seen these posts sooner, in which case I would have installed an Excluder entrance.

As far as the increased breaches of SREH, I believe it could be as simple (and frightening) as increased competition for nesting sites due to an increase in the starling and HOSP populations. They are more willing to try the difficult openings.
Matt F.
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billb wrote:The number of reported breaches has definitely increased this season. Could the reason be as simple as the starling population is increasing?
Interesting point Bill. That is definitely something to factor in.
I was thinking another possible reason for the increase in these reports, maybe due to the increase in the number of Conley II entrances out in the field now, and subsequently more folks reporting about them.
I'd like to add the Conley II is a fantastic entrance, and the role it plays of being a relatively easy entrance for Martins to learn and use, while at the same time doing a great job of deterring most starlings, is very important.
billb
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:22 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

I agree with your assessment Matt. In fact, that makes a lot of sense to me. the increase in the number of Conley II entrances being used has to be significant over the past 2 years and can be documented.
Bill Hyde
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 8:59 am
Location: Illinois/Roscoe

I will try to post a photo from my iPhone. Stay tuned :wink:
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Bill Hyde
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 8:59 am
Location: Illinois/Roscoe

Here is a photo of my fix for a Conley-2 entrance:
Attachments
Conley-2fix.JPG
Conley-2fix.JPG (37.59 KiB) Viewed 5640 times
PMCA member
2011 - 1 SY pair w/ 2 HY fledged
2012 - 5 breeding pairs
2013 - 14 nesting pairs and several singles
2014 - 8 nesting pairs
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Emil Pampell-Tx
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Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Looks like the porch is flush with the bottom of the entrance. It is often recommended that the porch be flush with the bottom of the entrance or nearly flush. I don't know exactly how near to flush your setup is Bill, but if it works, then that is great.

I think that many people are reluctant to make them flush.
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Scott D.- La
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:35 am
Location: Louisiana

I wonder...... if the Starling population increases, and the food sources remain the same or decreases, would this account for Smaller Starling's?
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