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

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terriergal
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:41 pm
Location: MN/Hutchinson

I agree the best thing is to kill them but Scully has a great idea when you're stuck in a position like he is.

However, he certainly doesn't have to let it be seen that he is killing them. He can just say he is taking them far away to release. :-)

Taking them into the garage and closing the door gives you a nice cement floor to dispatch them on. It is never pleasant to do this. I even feel sorry for the little marauders. But I take them one by one out of the bag. I hold them so that their back is facing the ground and their tail is toward my wrist, head toward finger tips. I throw them as hard as possible onto the cement. It's all over in a matter of seconds and they are immediately knocked unconscious anyway if you do it correctly. Now and then one takes a second throw and I hate it but... There's really no quicker way to do it.

I use uncle Blaine repeater traps and after a few years here in our subdivision I don't see many HOSP's except in spring. I've never had success with nest box traps.

It is possible that the raptor center might be willing to take or even specifically want them alive, too, you could ask.
Paula in MN
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

I shoot them, not out of enjoyment, but as a unpleasant necessity.
OMG, I would love the heck out of shooting them. Hey, a scoped pellet rifle and careful marksmanship, I'd be all over it :lol:

Just try even mentioning "school" and "rifle" anymore in the same sentence tho.... :roll:

True story; the early days of our colony we ran those little round Carrol gourds (which actually worked quite well). A starling set up shop and would advertise every morning from atop the gourd pole.

I buy a wrist rocket (slingshot) and some steel ball bearing and go out back and sit on the bleachers by the track about twenty yards away, slingshot and ammo in a brown paper bag.

Starling arrives and commences to sing and flap his wings. I look around, no-one there, reach in the bag, draw out the slingshot and let fly.....

....I swear that starling ducked....

...but actually a steel ball bearing out of a powerful slingshot just doesn't stop if you miss.

As I watched it rapidly receded into the distance, describing a graceful arc over the top of the school....

...directly towards a parking lot packed at that hour with students, parents, teachers and vehicle... :shock:

So I looked around and put everything back into the bag. Then I walked out front dreading to find a crowd all standing around someone laying on the asphalt....

PHEW! Nothing like that.....

Then I walked up and down every row of parked cars looking for dings and dents or cracked windows.

Nothing like that either.

Thank you again God, very much.

I never did try the slingshot method again :lol:

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

However, he certainly doesn't have to let it be seen that he is killing them. He can just say he is taking them far away to release. :-)
The problem is you can't teach about invasive species and S&S without them asking questions, and I hate lying about it.[/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
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

OMG, too funny! Bet u were relieved!
Set up my 5 traps but now I haven't seen the male. Good!
Good night.


Diane
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

For those of you new to the Forum, Mike USED to transport his trapped sparrows across town, and let them go. Progress has been made!
The problem is I have too much knowledge of population biology, limiting factors and all of that.

Its important to separate out sentiment from fact.

I dunno exactly how many house sparrows we have in this city. But TPWD does monitor White-winged dove populations, they figure two million doves inside the city limits, so many that they actually opened up a season for 'em just south of town where they go to feed outside of the breeding season.

...and we have probably twice as many sparrows, easily. Way easily.

So, conservatively, four million sparrows, essentially what the habitat can support, saturation.

Based upon our sampling, more than 600 miles of slowly driving city streets and using aerial photographs to determine lot sizes, number of houses etc...

...based upon the more than 200 we found we estimated IIRC around 4,000 martin housing set ups within the San Antonio city limits.

If every one of those 4,000 potential landlords trapped and located 20 sparrows that would be 80,000 sparrows, or just 2% of the sparrow population.

Every year we looked in late May/early June we always found about a 50% martin occupancy rate of the hundred housing sites we looked at, but at least 95% of the martin houses, occupied by martins or not, also had resident sparrows.

I'd guess I could relocate sparrows all day long and not make a whit of difference, especially given the 10 to 20 I'd actually move.

How this tail-clipping got started was I initially cut a notch in their tail so I could recognise them if they came back. Drive a sparrow ten miles away and its gone. Drive a starling THIRTY miles away and its back the next day.

In truth, tail clipping is quick and easy and it works well for us. But if it didn't I still might be taking them for a ride.

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

mechlingfamily wrote:

Beating ME (or anyone else) over the head with these facts over and over and over still doesn't change who I AM. Why is it so hard to get the simplicity of the nature of my post?

ALL I WAS SEEKING WAS A SMALL BIT OF CONSOLATION AND COMPASSION THAT EVEN THOUGH IT IS NECESSARY IT JUST SUCKS "FOR ME" TO BE FACED WITH THIS RIGHT OF PASSAGE THAT ALL Y'ALL HAVE CLEARLY ALREADY MASTERED. I BOW DOWN...

I guess I am only allowed to share facts and not feelings on this forum? MY BAD.
I'll say it again, if every new martin house came with the message....

IF YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAP AND KILL STARLINGS AND SPARROWS.

...all the martin housing factories would go out of business and the Eastern Purple Martin would practically go extinct in a generation.

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
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

tim414 wrote:
mechlingfamily wrote:Well because of the dogs, we opted to have two universal traps that fit into the Martin house as opposed to the repeating bait trap that my dad used for years...didn't need a repeat of the dog destruction, ya know?

Not gonna lie...ALL birds have left my house within the past 36 hours...including the pair of Martins with 5 eggs AND the spare Martin that was just hanging out. :cry: POOF...just like that...Coincidence?
What happened????
This was the thread that no one is responding to that explains what has happened since Thursday...
http://www.purplemartin.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30513
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
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

Scully wrote:
For those of you new to the Forum, Mike USED to transport his trapped sparrows across town, and let them go. Progress has been made!
The problem is I have too much knowledge of population biology, limiting factors and all of that.

Its important to separate out sentiment from fact.

I dunno exactly how many house sparrows we have in this city. But TPWD does monitor White-winged dove populations, they figure two million doves inside the city limits, so many that they actually opened up a season for 'em just south of town where they go to feed outside of the breeding season.

...and we have probably twice as many sparrows, easily. Way easily.

So, conservatively, four million sparrows, essentially what the habitat can support, saturation.

Based upon our sampling, more than 600 miles of slowly driving city streets and using aerial photographs to determine lot sizes, number of houses etc...

...based upon the more than 200 we found we estimated IIRC around 4,000 martin housing set ups within the San Antonio city limits.

If every one of those 4,000 potential landlords trapped and located 20 sparrows that would be 80,000 sparrows, or just 2% of the sparrow population.

Every year we looked in late May/early June we always found about a 50% martin occupancy rate of the hundred housing sites we looked at, but at least 95% of the martin houses, occupied by martins or not, also had resident sparrows.

I'd guess I could relocate sparrows all day long and not make a whit of difference, especially given the 10 to 20 I'd actually move.

How this tail-clipping got started was I initially cut a notch in their tail so I could recognise them if they came back. Drive a sparrow ten miles away and its gone. Drive a starling THIRTY miles away and its back the next day.

In truth, tail clipping is quick and easy and it works well for us. But if it didn't I still might be taking them for a ride.

Mike
[/quote]

Scully first off let me say I have no problem with your approach. All sparrow trapping is essentially fighting a war that simply won't be won. Even if the nation was united on eliminating house sparrows we couldn't do it. even if 99.999% of the population was taken out within 50 or 60 years numbers would be back to where they are now. So trapping and such is really only a localized maintenance thing to make life easier for the martins.

That said the one thing I don't agree with in your post is that killing will not make much difference in your situation. Trapping in the public colonies does help and does reduce pressure on the local situation. I have seen this occur. Rough estimates for a given colony section in my town go like this.
1st year of trapping 200 individuals, 2nd year 150 individuals, 3rd year 40 individuals, 4th year 15, 5th year 15. So trapping does help locally reduce overall incursions, but like I said has little long term value on the larger scale of things. Reducing the pressure like this on a colony section actually makes managing much easier, especially early in the season as it appears sparrows show site fidelity of their own.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
KathyF
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.

mech - I wrote about this very issue. I started out where you were in 1998. I agree that Mike offers a good alternative with the tail trimming. We all need alternatives for different circumstances. That works for him. I think we all need to make choices - but those choices need to be based on knowing what the consequences are. I don't know Mike's particular trapping success...but as he says, HOSP are smart. Since their tails grow back, they may learn real quick how to avoid traps.
Just as shooting and missing is bad too. They learn to flush away as soon as you open your door.
Dorn is right - trapping can help reduce their numbers (contained in this article is a link to a study by University of North Dakota- interesting read).
Anyway, here are some trapping and euthanizing tips that I posted about. I understand your dilemma - I was there once.

http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2015/02 ... .html#more
"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
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Gary Berger
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:17 pm
Location: TX/Houston

Scully, I can't believe you cling to this idea that dumping your trapped sparrows across town is perfectly OK; that since you are minamally increasing sparrow numbers in said neigborhood......NO PROBLEM! As a martin landlord, if I found out another landlord (who should know better) was dumping his sparrows in my neighborhood, I would be furious. As someone else noted, constant trapping will SERIOUSLY decrease the number of sparrows in an area. To have someone swing by and dump his trash near me is irresponsible. To use your analogy, I guess throwing a candy wrapper out your car window won't really markedly increase litter in an area; but that doesn't make it right. Just keep clipping those tailfeathers & exposing those students to martins.
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

I just wanted to add this, on Mike's behalf.
Many may not know, Mike is in a very delicate situation, in reference to the Martin colonies he has established, and manages, at the school he teaches at.
He's been allowed to erect the housing on campus, and over the years, has done an amazing job with getting his students involved with the Martins, and Martin management.
That said, the issue of dealing with sparrows (starlings aren't a big problem for him as his gourds are all starling resistant), has to be handled with extreme sensitivity - a degree of sensitivity that thankfully most of us don't have to deal with.
It's an unfortunate truth, that many folks out there are adamantly against lethal control methods, no matter how the obvious need for such a thing is presented to them.
If he were to employ lethal control methods, there would most likely be some students, and/or faculty/staff, that would raise enough of a "stink", that the whole Martin project could be ordered to cease operations, and all campus Martin housing be taken down.
Under those sensitive circumstances, Mike is performing sparrow control as much, and as aggressively, as he can, without jeopardizing the whole operation.
He fully understands how important lethal control is, and probably would love nothing more than to be able to put it into practice at his school colonies. However, when the emotions and sensitivity of some of the school kids, parents, faculty/staff, and even school administrators, could result in the end of those very productive colonies, you can see the dilemma he's in.
These school colonies, aside from producing many Martins every year, may very well be getting many students interested in Purple Martins outside of school - students that in the future, may become caring, and conscientious Martin landlords themselves.
The role of getting young folks involved is becoming more and more mission critical each year, as we are gradually seeing less and less folks interested in Martins (or anything outdoors), and subsequently there is less and less housing available.
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Thank you Matt for your support 8)

I guess I'm a pragmatist.

What I think should be the first objective is to get people to PUT UP MARTIN HOUSING. End of story.

I was looking at our data from six,seven, eight years ago and easily more than half of the martin housing sites in our area are gone, apparently forever. Without housing there can be no martins.

The second thing is, certainly across the South, ALMOST THE ENTIRE MARTIN POPULATION WE ENJOY TODAY COMES FROM NEGLECTED HOUSING.

Don't believe me? Go and take the time to locate 200+ local housing sites as we did...

Image

And then monitor nest success in some of this neglected housing over a three-year period, as we did (See the Winter 2011 edition of "The Purple Martin Update" ). Around here nest success ballparked to an average of one nestling less per nest compared to our maintained colony, fledged an average of twelve days later. Other than that, the number fledged in the neglected colonies reflected our own, THAT determined primarily by rainfall)..

And then do that 2,000 mile 10mph bicycle transect thing as I did last summer, observing every martin house you see on your trip across the Northeast.

I would have a very hard time locating a maintained colony ANYWHERE to worry about if I were dumping that handful of sparrows. The vast majority of active martin colonies already HAVE resident sparrows.

Even with conditions as they are I believe the PMCA estimates something on the order of 3 million martins going south at the end of each summer, I believe if every member here added up our collective contributions to that from our colonies the fraction would indeed be miniscule.

Two things worry me personally most of all re: martin numbers...

1) Younger folks today not putting up housing.

and....

2) The return of the Cooper's Hawk.

Does this mean killing sparrows is a bad thing? Not at all, we all defend our own colonies. And where colony success becomes especially critical is on the fringes of the martin's range where the climate is not conducive to their success.

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

Scully the root problem for your concern is that some people are sensitive. Most replies on here are courteous and thoughtful, yet some offense was still taken. Not much can be done about that. This is a good group of folks and honestly if anyone is turned off by us they just are bound to be turned off at some point anyway. We can always strive to be better, but at some point people have to realize people are just trying to help.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Scully the root problem for your concern is that some people are sensitive.
No Sir, a the root problem of my concern is that the hundreds of thousands of anonymous ordinary people who have given us the martin populations that we enjoy today by just putting up houses are being told that they are all wrong.

Another concern is that the very natural and otherwise laudable reservations about killing are being discounted and minimized.

Probably more than anything though people are being fed the untruth that you cannot successfully keep martins without regular killing.

This would all be academic but I'll say it again....


If every martin house ever sold and still sold came with the warning IF YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT YOU WILL HAVE TO KILL STARLINGS AND SPARROWS, then every housing manufacturer would be out of buisiness and the Eastern Purple Martin would be on the verge of extinction, or actually extinct.

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

Scully wrote:
Scully the root problem for your concern is that some people are sensitive.
No Sir, a the root problem of my concern is that the hundreds of thousands of anonymous ordinary people who have given us the martin populations that we enjoy today by just putting up houses are being told that they are all wrong.

Another concern is that the very natural and otherwise laudable reservations about killing are being discounted and minimized.

Probably more than anything though people are being fed the untruth that you cannot successfully keep martins without regular killing.

This would all be academic but I'll say it again....


If every martin house ever sold and still sold came with the warning IF YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT YOU WILL HAVE TO KILL STARLINGS AND SPARROWS, then every housing manufacturer would be out of buisiness and the Eastern Purple Martin would be on the verge of extinction, or actually extinct.

Mike
[/quote]

Relax man.. you are getting worked up over nothing. No one is saying you have to kill anything. You are taking this way too personal.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Relax man.. you are getting worked up over nothing. No one is saying you have to kill anything. You are taking this way too personal.
???

I thought I was being purely pragmatic.[/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
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

Scully wrote:
Relax man.. you are getting worked up over nothing. No one is saying you have to kill anything. You are taking this way too personal.
???

I thought I was being purely pragmatic.
[/quote]

could be.. tone is hard to read in text. 8)
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
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

Matt F and KathyF...

I appreciated everything you had to say. :)
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
Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Scully wrote: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



Mr Scully,


Dad Gum .... I CANNOT BELIEVE you are not performing your proper duties as a responsible bird keeper with proper disposal of........ :lol: :wink:

..... Im so kidding you. Good butt chewin here and there builds a feller's character :lol: !!

So with the Sparrows, you are completely clipping their tail feathers back to the nub and it appears the lower half or ends of the wing feathers? I can see that they can fly.
The photos of the one's on the roof top look like little chicken chicks sitting up there. lol!! Guess they don't feel too froggy to give troubles. interesting.

I find with the Martins ( in the last two seasons including this one), the sparrows are not that problematic to deal with using a Troyer gourds with the Troyer Haskell Tunnel traps plus for some reason, they have backed away from the gourds in the last 2 seasons.
Where I loath sparrows is when it comes to our Blue Bird pair knowing fully well what the consequences are if those things get in the box.

I note and appreciate your insights and comments about the Starling. This is a different beast and must be dealt with. Much stronger, equipped to kill and very smart making them hard to trap. I had to deal with them this season for about 6- 7 weeks. Martins cannot fight these things and it is best for them to move aside or relocate with hopefully, a person who can effectively deal with it for them.

Starlings are to Martins as Sparrows are to Blue Birds.
Due to the " 2015 Starling Invasion" also now called " The Battle at Hummingbird Hill" :lol: ( name of my moms place on her front gate), I thought I may be the only one of or part of a few that holds to respect of how dangerous these birds are to Martins. None can be tolerated. During the siege, I lost no Martins but now have 7 new hatched clutches and waiting on an 8th to hatch "in June" which are late nests due to displacement from these Starlings in March and April. Possibly heat problems could end up being the final issue for these guys.
Generally speaking, I have thought that Martins need to wrap up their clutches by end of June latest due to Texas yearly summer heat.
I have wondered in passing about possible tail clippings and relocations of Starlings just thinking is all and you have answered those questions. It did not work, they are that smart as I suspected. 30 miles!! I figured they could do that.

when I could catch Starlings in the gourd, They would fly out into a 1 gallon freezer bag which I would put on the ground and dispatch them quickly with a well placed point blank heart shot with a Beeman air Rifle which is VERY powerful and as long and heavy as a many hunting rifles.

I appreciate your knowledge and sharing about what you have tried.
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

So with the Sparrows, you are completely clipping their tail feathers back to the nub and it appears the lower half or ends of the wing feathers? I can see that they can fly.
I clip just the tail feathers and leave the wings alone.

With starlings Bernie Nikolai (?? spelling?) up in Canada has posted he found that just removing the eggs would cause a starling pair to desert the colony. I always figured the stakes were too high to risk trying just that.

Also with starlings I believe there are more martin fatalities than one finds in the gourd. Perhaps ten years back I recall an injured ASY male sitting hunched up among the foliage of a nearby tree at the time of a starling invasion, seems like it would be very easy for a martin to lose an eye in those struggles.

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
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