House Sparrows and Starlings....

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DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

I just noticed the last few days that they are entering their cavity searching phase, with some individuals putting on "breeding" displays.

No wonder they do so well.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Don Strickland
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Shady Point

Hundreds of Starlings down here but they are pretty savvy about my place. When they are close enough for a shot gun, they are all perched on the cable tower and I can't shoot at them.
So far this year I have eliminated 128 Starlings/Sparrows. Trapping and shooting.
Don
Matt F.
Posts: 3896
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

They're like little cyborgs.
Skynet is constantly sending them orders to BREED.....BREED.....BREED (spoken in that creepy Cylon voice from Battlestar Galactica..... :shock:)
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

I started my early starling trapping program at our two personal martin colonies in October and I have so far caught 9 starlings in their winter plumage in PMCA metal insert traps and nest box traps. Starlings readily check out possible nest sites beginning in the fall down here in Louisiana. I will continue this trapping through January until the first martins return. By then I will have eliminated the vast majority of possible "problem" starlings. Then I may shoot several more starlings later on during the active martin season.

At one of our nearby satellite martin colonies, I have already caught 6 house sparrows, 5 males and 1 female in PMCA universal traps and Trio Spar-o-door traps. Just like starlings, sparrows are often looking over possible nest sites beginning in the fall.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

I've eliminated probably 15 young sparrows so far in the Blaines!! No sign of starlings..
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Matt, Also like "The Borg" ? :shock:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
John Miller
Posts: 4771
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Notice whether the bib on the male house sparrow is much less dark now. It's very dark by early summer and I've wondered if this coincides with a rise in testosterone and aggressiveness toward martins, but maybe only takes a little - ha.
phldave
Posts: 513
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

John Miller wrote:Notice whether the bib on the male house sparrow is much less dark now. It's very dark by early summer and I've wondered if this coincides with a rise in testosterone and aggressiveness toward martins, but maybe only takes a little - ha.
John,

I was thinking the ones with light blotchy bibs might be this years hatchlings just getting their bibs. Just a thought.

Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
John Miller
Posts: 4771
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Dave

you may be right. I thought I observed some males with a light bib displaying at old nest sites -- my neighbor's house eves -- but indeed might be this year's hatch. Try to see if any have the very dark bib at all. John
James Rieman
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:57 am
Location: Houston/Texas

The black breast (bib) for all male House Sparrows in non-breeding plumage (winter plumage) is concealed by pale feather tips, regardless of age. Towards the end of winter/early spring the pale feather tips are worn off and the dark black breast is seen. I can't help but think that a good amount of the wear is due to squeezing in and out of potential nesting cavities as breeding season approaches. After breeding season the male House Sparrows of all ages molt and grow in new breast feathers that are paler at the tips, obscuring the bib again.
James Rieman
Houston Texas
PMCA member
2011 - 3 SY pair
2012 - 7 pair
2013 - 10 pair
2014 - 12 pair
2015 - 16 pair
2016 - 17 pair
John Miller
Posts: 4771
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Thanks James. One of the things I say at public events about martins is that getting into the hobby is an opportunity to become an amateur wildlife biologist. I want to understand all I can, even about pesky house sparrows. John
James Rieman
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:57 am
Location: Houston/Texas

John, as much as they vex me at the martin colony I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Starlings too. There are no good birds and bad birds, just birds, all fascinating. Still, they are not what I want in my martin housing.....
James Rieman
Houston Texas
PMCA member
2011 - 3 SY pair
2012 - 7 pair
2013 - 10 pair
2014 - 12 pair
2015 - 16 pair
2016 - 17 pair
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

The starlings are here every morning in my Bradford pear tree! They must get sweeter after a freeze! I shot at them three times yesterday and got three of them. I have a lot of robins that like them to. :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

Caught a House Sparrow with the Spar-o-trap house that hangs on my gourd rack. Placed him in the Blaine trap and now have 7 in the trap. I usually don't catch a lot of sparrows this time of year.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
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