Good Start To My Early Starling Trapping Program

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Good Start To My Early Starling Trapping Program

Well, four starlings have already met the Grim Reaper at our personal purple martin colonies and it is only mid-October! This is a good start to my early starling trapping program. I have caught four starlings in their winter plumage using PMCA metal T-14 traps in my neighbor Bob’s Lone Star Goliads. These PMCA metal traps are outstanding starling catchers when you close off a bunch of compartments in a house and leave several open with the traps inside. This morning, October 14, 2014 I checked Bob’s colony and sure enough three red doors were down and three starlings waiting “patiently” for their appointment with the Grim Reaper!

Every season I trap starlings in our two personal martin colonies from October through January and this program eliminates the vast majority of possible starling problems later on when the martins are here. Then I may shoot several starlings that show up. We really don’t have a big starling problem anyway as starlings are not that abundant way out in the country where we live with limited nesting sites and fewer short grass environments for foraging. My early starling program has been a great success so far.

These four starlings were all in their winter attire with dark beaks and heavily speckled feathers. I can’t distinguish the genders at this point based on plumage. However, the males tend to be more active in entering housing and may be more vocal. As the starling’s breeding season approaches, both male and female starling’s beaks begin to change to yellow. Also the base of the male’s beak takes on a bluish or bluish/gray coloration while the female’s becomes pinkish or cream colored. The male starling in full breeding plumage tends to be just a little more colorful than the female with more pronounced iridescent greens and purples in the feathers, but this characteristic is not that noticeable at a distance.

Starlings in our area readily start checking out possible nest sites in the fall. House sparrows will do this and so will Eastern bluebirds. So we can successfully trap both starlings and sparrows way before the martin season actually begins.

Here is a photo of the three doomed starlings on death row and waiting in their “cells” to meet their end.

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Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
klcretired
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

That is a Great Post Steve, I hope all of our Martin Land Lords Listen to you, I know I do, ....Trapping The Trash Beaks all year long to just B-4 the Martins get here to Our Locations cut down tremendously on the martin deaths and vandalism to our Colonies by these Culprits (Starlings & Sparrows).
I keep my Super Gourds up and use them w/ Insert Traps to continually trap until My Martins Get back to my Colony. This works very well for me along with my S & S Repeating Controller , using them in conjuction with each other keeps my colony clean of these pests.



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Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

K.C.

klcretired@tx.rr.com
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Kenny,

Thanks for sharing your photos of your trapping system and encouraging folks to trap starlings and sparrows.

I have been trapping "early" starlings for several years now and this procedure has significantly reduced starling competition pressures later on when the martins are here.

In 2014 I tried something a little different by attaching two of the PMCA cavity box traps to an old multi-purpose pole hub. Then I erected the system several hundred yards away way out in an open cow pasture north of our two colonies. I did this in late April to see if I could catch starlings that may approach from that direction. And I caught several "late" male starlings! So didn't have to shoot these!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
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