Sad day..need some advice.

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:46 am
Location: Illinois/Fairbury

When driving up to my housing by the pond, I noticed a starling. Angered me, it flew away I drove up. I lowered the housing and there was a ASY male head hanging out the entrance barely breathing. I raised the door to get him out, but he passed away right in front of me :( I am assuming the starling attacked him. Much to my surprise, there was a starling nest in the cavity, 2 doors down. Not anymore and the starling eggs are destroyed.

This cavity had a nest, nearly complete, no eggs. My question, do I remove the nest? Will the female use that cavity? This cavity, I can close the entrance and open up the entrance on the other side of the house, should I do that? I know my first priority is getting rid of the staring (trapping or shooting, that varmint is going to be history!!!!)

Also, we had heavy rains and some wind last night and my only bluebird house with a bluebird nest blew over. The eggs were lost, but parents survived. My other bluebird boxes have tree swallows and not sure if this bluebird pair will attempt to next in this box again this season. Bummer of a day!!!!
Boisy Pitre
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:22 pm
Location: Prairie Ronde, Louisiana

I'm certainly sorry to hear about this.

I've also been noticing starlings coming into the next yard. I didn't think they were around here, but they very well may be. And my friend gave me an idea. Get a 22 rifle and buy some "rat shot."

I have my window open and will be shooting starlings when they come back in the yard. And I'll shoot one for you too, and for your poor ASY male.
4th Year Purple Martin Landlord
PMCA Member
Nest Photos:
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
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

Bob, if you only had 1 pair of martins, the female may stay or she may leave, its uncertain. I would leave the nest alone, the less you bother them when they first arrive, the more comfortable they become. After they have babies or eggs, then you can do nearly anything and they will stay.

Sorry about the storm.

My advice is to get some traps, and shoot the trash birds if you can. Its very difficult to start a martin colony once starlings or sparrows are using the house, they like to chase away the martins (and kill them)

Also, you badly need starling resistant entry holes, try to start using them

Boisy, I never ever killed anything with ratshot, hope that you can, it may scare them away, and make them more spooky, but doubt that it will work. Good luck with it
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: North Carolina/Clayton
Martin Colony History: 5th year hostess. Currently 58 confirmed breeding pair. 218 Fledged, 35 older nestlings, 2 new nests with 8 nestlings. 100% occupancy

I too am sorry for the loss. The starlings everywhere it seems are planning attacks. I watched one attack a female when she just exited her gourd. Thankfully her mate and others were present so they whupped up on the starling.

On a happy note the starling ran into a 20 gauge wall of lead justice a few minutes

I tried rat shot in a 22 rifle but it was ineffective over 15 yards. The 20 gauge will reach out and touch them at 70 yards. They can run now, but they can't hide.

Bob, I hope the female will find another mate and renest soon,

Debbie Johnson
Clayton/NC (Archer Lodge)
2012 New Site 6 pair, 21 Fledged
2013 24 pair, 102 eggs, 94 hatched, 89 Fledged. What a great year!
2014 37 pair, 211 eggs, 193 Hatched, 178 Fledged, 1 nest of 5 young left! Late start but picked up speed quickly!
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:46 am
Location: Illinois/Fairbury

Thanks Emil, it is an established site with starling resistant doors (not so starling resistant). I have had martins at this location for 8 years and first time a starling has done any damage. I currently have 4 pair and a couple single males at this site.

I am sure trapping would be better than shooting, as I am sure my aim is not that good.
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Sorry to hear that, Bob. :-( Trap, trap away. By the way, even if you shoot & miss, starlings seem to get the message better than HOSP (YMMV). After killing unknown numbers of starlings here at my place (and missing some), the main flocks now travel around my shooting range & racks. Every once in a while, one that didn't get the memo comes by, but he doesn't leave under his own power. :evil: But here at my site, this year, I've shot 8, pre-martin season, and trapped another 10 during nesting season. Pretty light compared to what I used to get. :wink:
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: iowa/madrid

im with kathy, try and trap them, as a land owner, its tough, to see starlings, sparrows, take over a room,. ethical, im not in favor of disposing of them, but when it comes down to securing, maintaining, your colony, they cant out fly 1500 feet per what you must.
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Prattville,AL

I have absolutely no qualms in killing a sparrow or starling. I've seen firsthand too many times the harm they cause to the purple martin and bluebird populations.
Post Reply