My HOSP traps arrived today...gulp...

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mechlingfamily
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Royse City, TX
Martin Colony History: 2015 ~ first year ~ 1 breeding pair ~ 5 eggs ~ Abandoned nest
2016 ~ 1 breeding pair ~ 5 hatched & fledged
2017 ~ 1 ASY breeding pair and a SY spare ~ 4 hatched & fledged
2018 ~ 2 breeding pair ~ 5 eggs each ~ 9 hatched & fledged
2019 ~ 2 breeding pair~ 5 & 6 eggs ~ 2 nesting pair ~ 1 to 2 roosting pair ~ lost 2 other eggs to Starlings
Housing:
2015 - Vintage inherited Coates Original 12 room aluminum housing
2016-2018 - Above listed house modified with SREH and remodeled to 6 Suite Watersedge configuration. Added aluminum vented nesting trays to all 6 compartments.
*Plans to add addt'l housing - gourds/new house(s) winter 18-19
2019 ~ added 2 Troyer Vertical Gourds with Tunnel Conley II entrance

Trapping HOSP & shooting Starlings

PMCA members - 3rd generation PM Landlords

So I have taken this in baby steps. I have grown up in a landlording family and I know this is a necessary evil. We have diligently pulled nest after nest out of our house daily since we put the house up in April and have collected around 30 HOSP eggs. So far our five Martin eggs are safe but I am not willing to risk it. We ordered our two traps and have been anxiously awaiting their arrival. We have made arrangements to donate the dead HOSP to a local raptor rehab. I was feeling brave because it was happening "in the future"...

Well, today is the day...the box sat there on my front porch, taunting me. I've opened it. I've read the info sheet. I've played with the trap. The only thing left to do is actually get them into the two compartments that have been repeatedly claimed. I am now turning it over to my DH as I just can't handle the task. I'm having such a hard time with this final step and feel like such a coward expecting my DH to feel any better, or more capable, or willing to "grasp and firmly and quickly pull in opposite directions". I like the Disney-esque side where death is just implied but never really displayed. The HOSP donation to the raptor center makes me feel somewhat better.

How do y'all get to a point of acceptance? I don't even kill spiders in the house...I am pretty much a huge wimp seeing anything die on a nature show, plugging my ears and covering my face with a pillow til someone taps me telling me "it's over".

I know it NEEDS to happen in my head...but how do I get past it in my heart? I guess I gotta go find my big girl panties now as the DH will be home soon... :cry:
Debbie & Warren ~ PMCA Members
2015 ~ first year ~ 1 breeding pair ~ 5 eggs ~ Abandoned nest
2016 ~ 1 breeding pair ~ 5 hatched & fledged
2017 ~ 1 ASY breeding pair and a SY spare ~ 4 hatched & fledged
2018 ~ 2 breeding pair ~ 5 eggs each ~ currently 5 & 4 hatchlings/1 egg ~ 9 fledged
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Well hey, time to draw the annual shellfire down upon my head :roll:

I maintain a 48 pair martin colony a public school campus, I have maintained this school colony since 1998 (??). I cannot recall the last time I killed a house sparrow. The reason I do not kill sparrows is because in the eyes of the school community "Mr. Scully killing birds." gets all the attention, rather than the martins. Plus the odd kid and their parent who are members of PITA.

No house sparrows breed in our colony.

What I have worked out is this.... clipping the tail feathers to the nubs with a pair of scissors and letting them go.

See, tails are rather important to house sparrows in various displays, like this male threatening a purple martin....

Image

I catch them in a trap gourd, then with an ordinary pair of scissors trim their tail feathers to the nubs, clip the undertail covers (body feathers) to further obscure the normal sparrow shape, and let them go. They'll look like a ball with wings.

Image

Image

I must have done it sixty or seventy times now, it has worked every time. I've done it so often I can leave my classroom, lower the housing, grab the sparrow, clips its tail, let it go, raise the housing and get back to class all inside of a six-minute passing period :cool:

They may hang around the colony for a couple of days, but like Austin Powers they've lost their mojo. They don't LOOK like a sparrow to other sparrows, and the males cannot do their drooping wing/cocked tail courtship display. I am told it is also difficult for the males to copulate without the support of a tail.

Two caveats: 1) You have to get the sparrows before they are feeding young or else they will continue to feed their young and 2) Do not PLUCK the tail feathers. Plucking them stimulates rapid regrowth. In just two weeks that same sparrow will have a visible tail.

I know this because I see these same sparrows on campus for months, clipping tail feathers does not seem to seriously hurt their chances of survival.

Starlings are a different matter entirely. Starlings are absolute death on purple martins, ANY starling that breaches an SREH opening has to go.

We had two gourds with slightly opened SREH entrances up this year, my fault. Starlings got into both. I have devised a fast way to kill starlings that is even quicker than clipping a sparrow's tail (very important when time is limited and you have to be discrete):

Hold the starling with the back of its head under your thumb, bottom of the head of the starling braced against your index finger. Crush in the back of the skull with your thumb, its thinner than an eggshell.

I dispatched all four starlings this way this year. I REALLY hate doing it, but it needs to be done. All I can do is make it happen as fast and efficiently as possible. Tail-clipping doesn't work on starlings, and once I tried relocating one thirty miles away. The next day it came back, and killed a martin inside a gourd.

Mike
Last edited by Scully on Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
...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
M.Stephens
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Texas/Texarkana

You gotta get mad at them. Look at them as something that will kill your martins because they WILL!!
Malcolm
2015 (110 nesting pair)
2014 (92 nesting pair)
2013 (75 nesting pair)
2012 (35 nesting pair)
2011 (20 pair)
____________
PMCA Member
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

So I have taken this in baby steps. I have grown up in a landlording family and I know this is a necessary evil. We have diligently pulled nest after nest out of our house daily since we put the house up in April and have collected around 30 HOSP eggs.
One year in a neglected Trio Castle in town I tried just pulling sparrow nests and eggs one day each week as I have heard has worked in Canada. I pulled sparrow nests for three months. Fourteen consecutive weeks. I pulled as many as eight consecutive nests from the same compartment and collected more than 200 sparrow eggs.

All the way to the end, sparrow nests and eggs kept appearing as rapidly as they did in the beginning.

I have come to believe that a major behavioral adaptation house sparrows have to life with humans is that they don't abandon the nest site like most every other wild bird will when a nest and eggs are destroyed.

The WORST part of all this is that hardly any of the martins present fledged any young. The dispossessed male sparrows exhibited classic "sparrow rage" as Steve K. so aptly puts it and many martin eggs and small young in that same housing were lost.

Mike
...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
Courtney-NC
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Martin Colony History: 2009-2015-Helped to manage Raleigh site, 36 cavities
2016- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 1 pair at home site.
2017- 34 pairs at Raleigh site, 3 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2018- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 5 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2019 - 32 pairs at Raleigh site, 7 pairs at home site, 2 pairs at new Holly Springs park site

The first time any of us had to dispatch a sparrow, it was undoubtedly not fun, and no one enjoys it; it's just what you have to do. I remember my first time; I was very nervous, my hands were shaking, and I didn't want to do it, but I just said to myself, this HAS to be DONE and I got it over with. The good news is that sparrows are a lot easier to kill than starlings, as far as cervical dislocation goes. It really takes very little effort. Remember that you are doing all the native birds a HUGE favor by getting rid of those sparrows. Don't let them live to be someone else's problem, get rid of them ASAP. You can do this!!
-Courtney
-------------------
NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
http://www.ncpurplemartin.org
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

I agree; you gotta get mad at them.

All I need do is to remember what happened this year....what the HOSP did to a entire nest of Bluebirds including the male that was trying to defend it's nest; THEY KILLED THE ENITIRE NEST; or watch a 'youtube' vid what starlings do to Purple Martins inside the compartment with the female and nestlings; they kill the entire nest and build their nest over their dead bodies......

It makes it VERY easy to trash the trash.

Or think of them as NON-Amercan or NON-North American. Their aliens that kill (HOSP and Starlings).
Jim 1990
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:08 am
Location: Fort wayne IN

When I started out putting housing out for birds I didn't like the thought of removing the starlings and house sparrows . Until one day I seen all these little tree swallows that were ready to fly in a few days were scatter all over the ground from being killed from the HS sparrow that was cheeping away on top of the TS nest box . After seeing what the HS had done I shoot and trap all year.
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

I too hate killing them but last yr 11 PM babies were killed in two nests. I discovered quite by accident that sparrows if held somewhat loosely in your hand die from fright within in minutes. No neck breaking nothing! I've caught 8 so far. The PM's site square box just fits into the trio box. The last one a PM chased a male HS into it and voila, gone! My cats get a special treat. I had two starlings breach a SREH on the Trio extended compartment and had a hard time getting out so I caught two. They are a little harder to dispose of, breaks my heart. Did my first nest checks. I have possibly 18 prs, 45 eggs, and 7 or more babies, not sure as the mother was in the compartment. :lol:
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

So Mike, these HS leave? They no longer go in and out of the PM nests? They can do serious damage in a day or two b4 they leave. Sure killing them isn't better. How about the females, same thing?
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
JamesM
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:38 am
Location: MO/Cleveland

Can an airplane fly with no tail, neither can a sparrow!
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

Lol James, just put them out of their misery! Extra protein for my 6 cats! :twisted:
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Can an airplane fly with no tail, neither can a sparrow!
Complete falsehoods like this do martineering no service.

I can only assume you have little or no experience observing wild birds.

Anyhow, here's a couple from a few years back several weeks after tail clipping.

Image

It is not unusual for birds in the wild to lose their tail feathers, they generally compensate quite well.

Mike

[/quote]
...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
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

So Mike, these HS leave? They no longer go in and out of the PM nests? They can do serious damage in a day or two b4 they leave. Sure killing them isn't better. How about the females, same thing?
I have never said killing them wasn't more effective, just that we have achieved effective control as reflected in the number of young martins we fledge.

The effect on the sparrow does seem quite profound and immediate, but of course I have no stats on eggs pecked/nestlings removed after this procedure. The females almost always leave and are not seen again, in fact I have seen a male house sparrow attack a tailless female, its own mate, upon release (said male not yet trapped).

I'll put it this way....

I am very happy that martin housing is not sold with the caveat that you HAVE to kill sparrows and starlings if you purchase this product, or else recruitment of new landlords would drop to near zero.

And the biggest threat to martins today IMHO is the fact that young folks are not nearly as interested in the outdoors as they were.

Yards are getting smaller and often HOA restrictions apply.

Almost every landlord in my area, even those with neglected housing, are retired and/or elderly. Very few young families are buying martin housing.

Some years back some students and I GPS'd the locations of more than 200 martin housing sites within a four-mile radius of our school. SInce then more than half of these have been removed and not replaced, including many formerly active sites.

Often this is a sad indication that the person who put up that housing has since passed away :-(

Mike
...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
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

What is IMHO? I will try it your way as I hate killing birds. I will keep an eye on the bugger but if I find dead babies or poked eggs they are toast! :evil: I'm in the country with a creek running thru it and wildlife pond of about an acre big. I have 65 acres. I have almost packed it in this year because I hate killing birds. Guess I'll just keep a pair of scissors in my back pocket.y :lol:

Diane
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

diane vB wrote:What is IMHO?
In My Honest Opinion
The acronyms these younger, digitized generations use, and continue to create more of, are hard to keep up with...... :shock:
Fireflyfisherman
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:26 pm
Location: TX/Mckinney
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 1 Pair (5 Fledged)
2015 - 1 Pair (3 Fledged)

Kill every HOSP and Starling you get a chance to kill. I feel that every one I can eliminate makes it that much easier on native birds. Seeing the damage they inflict is usually all it takes to convert landlords. Anything short of elimination seems to just prolong the inevitable. Bluebirders hate them. Sialis (the bluebird website) provides ways to humanely dispatch them and ways to manage them. The CO2 option may work the best.

http://www.sialis.org/hospdispatch.htm

Like everyone says, it isn't fun and I don't want anything to suffer however I put these houses up for beautiful native birds, not invasive trash. When the HOSP killed a clutch of my bluebird babies they created a lifelong enemy.
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

Actually I have a clutch of Blue birds going right now, I am supplementing them w mealy worms, damn starlings are helping themselves to them but I to out and they take off. So, ok ok, scaring them to death is the best way I know as I tried the cervical dislocation and ripped it's head off! Last time I did that! :roll:
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

What is IMHO? I will try it your way as I hate killing birds. I will keep an eye on the bugger but if I find dead babies or poked eggs they are toast! Evil or Very Mad I'm in the country with a creek running thru it and wildlife pond of about an acre big. I have 65 acres. I have almost packed it in this year because I hate killing birds. Guess I'll just keep a pair of scissors in my back pocket.
IMHO - "In my humble opinion."

We probably have at least forty pairs of sparrows nesting around the school buildings (3,000 kids leave a lot of food around during lunch) and perhaps 100 resident on campus.

I do not area trap, I put trap gourds on the racks with small entrances to retroactively trap only those sparrows invading the gourds (which, believe it or not, is only a minority). I end up clipping ten or fifteen every year.

Sparrows are pretty smart, I think part of the effectiveness is they associate that horrible experience with the gourds.

And remember to clip those tailer feathers all the way to the patagium (looks like the hind end of a turkey, only smaller). Also trim away the undertail coverts.

Mike
...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
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

Mike
I'll try it once at the begining of next year and see what happens. I have 3 double HOSP traps and 2 square traps that I put into my trio houses. They all work great! I've caught approx. 8 so far. All turned into cat food. Till next year. :???:
PMCA member
2010-2013?
2014 approx 25 fleged
2015 17 pr 37 fledged?
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

Fireflyfisherman wrote:Kill every HOSP and Starling you get a chance to kill. I feel that every one I can eliminate makes it that much easier on native birds. Seeing the damage they inflict is usually all it takes to convert landlords. Anything short of elimination seems to just prolong the inevitable. Bluebirders hate them. Sialis (the bluebird website) provides ways to humanely dispatch them and ways to manage them. The CO2 option may work the best.

http://www.sialis.org/hospdispatch.htm

Like everyone says, it isn't fun and I don't want anything to suffer however I put these houses up for beautiful native birds, not invasive trash. When the HOSP killed a clutch of my bluebird babies they created a lifelong enemy.


ME TOO.


KILL EVERY STARLING AND HOSP. They WILL KILL our good birds if given the chance. Wake up people.
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