Photos Of My Starling Trap Pole

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

Photos Of My Starling Trap Pole

Believe it or not, starlings may start checking out potential nest/roosting sites in October in my area of northwest Louisiana and I have caught starlings at this time in traps. Such starlings are in their winter plumage with a heavily speckled appearance and dark beaks. Later on their beaks change to yellow and their feathers are iridescent; the males have a bluish base at their beaks and the females have a pinkish or sometimes cream colored base.

I usually start my early starling trapping program in October and this program may eliminate some of the first starlings that are in our immediate area. Fortunately we don’t have a major starling problem and trapping and some shooting completely controls the starlings that may show any interest in our purple martin houses.

My starling trapping process entails two main approaches. First, I place various PMCA insert traps in one or two of my Trendsetters and at least one of my neighbor Bob’s Lone Star Goliad houses. All the “trap” houses have any non-trap cavity closed while the trap cavity is open with a “deadly surprise” for any starling that enters: he/she will be trapped! All other gourds/houses are either removed and stored or lowered close to the ground making them not as attractive to starling investigations. This particular program goes from October until the first martin(s) return, usually the last of January. When martins start arriving, I remove the cavity insert traps. During that time frame I may trap as many as ten starlings though the number is usually less.

My second approach continues from October through the end of the martin breeding season and I started this method in 2016. This system involves attaching four PMCA nest box traps to an old Deluxe gourd rack hub and raising/lowering it with a rope and pulley. The traps are suspended on four horizontal hanging rods and face different directions. I have painted the traps white to better highlight the entrances. During the 2016 martin season I trapped 17 starlings in this system: 15 males and two females. I also trapped three house sparrows; however, we hardly have any sparrow problems at our two personal martin colonies.

Before using the pole approach in 2016, I would attached the PMCA nest box traps to a raised Trendsetter and trap starlings from October until the end of January. This method works similarly to the separate pole system.

This trap pole system is placed about 150 yards northwest of Bob’s martin colony in an open lot that I own. Starlings often come from the north and the four nest box traps are like a biological magnet and basically “intercept” many inquisitive starlings before they even reach our martin colonies! The starlings check in but they don’t check out alive!

If you have many Eastern bluebirds in your area, then they will most likely get trapped on occasion. So you MUST check your traps frequently and release any bluebirds or other native cavity nesting birds. Our bluebirds do get trapped and I have to release a number of them unharmed each season.

The PMCA offers great starling and house sparrow traps and I have used them for many years in eliminating these pest birds. My shotgun and PMCA traps have been most effective in eliminating starlings and house sparrows and none of these pests have ever caused any problems for the hundreds of martins nesting in our colonies.

Here are two photos of my starling trapping system. The first shows a close up of the four PMCA nest box traps attached to horizontal hanging rods of a Deluxe gourd rack hub. The second shows the entire trapping system which can be raised and lowered with a rope and pulley. My trapping “motel” is open for business and all starlings and house sparrows are most welcomed!

The last photo is of my “gourd-less” martin colony with all racks down and the five Trendsetters lowered. I will soon be erecting at least one Trendsetter with four PMCA Trendsetter traps installed and ready for inquisitive starlings! I am behind schedule in placing cavity traps in our housing!

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Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
pmartinlover2
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:37 pm
Location: IL/Hillsboro
Martin Colony History: 2011 Home site--1 SY pair--2 fledged
2016 Satellite Site---4 pair--19 eggs laid--17 hatched--16 fledged
2017 Satellite Site--8 pair--37 eggs laid--34 hatched--34 fledged
2018 11 pair--fledged 60
2019 20 pair-fledged 94
2020 23pair-fledged 108

Awesome Steve! Get rid of as many as you can! I don't have problems with them since I use SREH entrances, but they do come around in large flocks and wipe out any berries or bird seed around.
I have some hope for getting martins at my home site this coming Spring! We cut down 2 humongous sweetgum trees in our front yard a week ago. My husband will not be raking gum balls this year!!! This gives me a wide open flyway to the southwest. May not work but there's a better chance than before!
Happy Halloween everyone!
_____
Jody
Jody in Central Illinois
Landlord in 2016
2016—4 pr fledged 16
2017—8 pr fledged 34
2018—11 pr fledged 60
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Looks great. Can you tell me what is inside the box, that lets them go to the bottom and stay there, so you can grab them?
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Jody,

So far no starling has "checked in" but I did see a curious one flying around the area the other day! We get "trickles" of starlings and I catch them one or two at a time. There are just not that many starlings out here and the largest numbers are located closer to cities/towns such as Shreveport.

Sounds like you are making your home site martin colony location even better with removal of those trees! The key is usually how open an area is to attract those first martins. I don't care for those sweet gum trees and we have many of them in our area.

Good luck in 2017!

Steve

Hey rrmarmtins,

Inside the trap is a wire perch that holds up a metal plate. When a starling enters and "hits" the perch, it trips and allows the metal plate to fall down and cover the entrance hole. At this point the starling is trapped and trying to get out! But he can't! The metal plate is orange/red and I can see it from a distance.

There is a larger hole located on the side at the bottom of the trap. This hole has a cover which is held firm with a screw that can be opened by hand. When you loosen the screw, the side cover will slide to the side and this allows you to reach inside. You can see a small hole in the middle of the cover. This hole will allow a starling to poke his long beak and head out and the starling will constantly try to escape from it but he can't. I can often see movement around this small hole from a good distance and that usually means a starling has checked in!

Getting the starling out can be "tricky" but so far I haven't lost any. I loosen the screw holding the cover and open the cover just enough to slide my hand inside. The starling often tries to climb up higher inside the box or tries to push up against the sides. I slowly move my hand inside the box and "feel" for the starling which may be still or trying to get away from that dangerous hand! I grab the starling and then pull my hand and starling out. Hold that starling tight as starlings are strong birds!

This trap has worked well for me in trapping starlings. Getting the starling out may be an issue for some folks but I haven't had any problems yet in grabbing the starling from the inside. You might be able to use a large jar or plastic bag to cover that side hole and the starling would quickly try to get out and get caught inside the jar/bag.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Thanks for the reply Steve. I have the same trap door on my sparrow trap house. I put a sliding door on the bottom to let them fall into a bag when I pull it back. I have lost a couple thru the gap though, when I pull the door back. I wish there was a way to let them fall straight thru into a basket, while keeping the inside dark, so they want to go in, I know the sparrows like a dark place. Happy trapping!!
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
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

Here at my place in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. From mid October, to early November, I will catch a few starlings in the teeter totter trap I have built into my garden shed. The entrance hole is under the sheds overhang. They think they have made a real find. If they only knew what's in store for them. The mechanism trips, and down the dryer vent they go into the holding cage. Is it just me, or are their habits in everyway, totally disgusting? I need to come up with something to catch all their filth under the cage. I put newspaper on the floor of the cage once and they just made confetti out of that. This trap get's most of it's business in the spring though.
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
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

phldave wrote:Here at my place in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. From mid October, to early November, I will catch a few starlings in the teeter totter trap I have built into my garden shed. The entrance hole is under the sheds overhang. They think they have made a real find. If they only knew what's in store for them. The mechanism trips, and down the dryer vent they go into the holding cage. Is it just me, or are their habits in everyway, totally disgusting? I need to come up with something to catch all their filth under the cage. I put newspaper on the floor of the cage once and they just made confetti out of that. This trap get's most of it's business in the spring though.
How do you make a teeter totter trap?
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey phldave,

Thanks for sharing your experiences with trapping starlings! Starlings will often check around buildings and look for holes, cracks or any cavity type area for a possible nest site. Your teeter totter trap sounds like a great starling catcher! I agree with rrmartins and I believe a lot of folks would be interested in how you build your teeter totter trap.

Steve

Hey rrmartins,

The Troyer SS Controller trap works very well in capturing starlings in particular and the starlings collect in a wire cage way below the actual trap. It is a repeating trap and the starlings enter an entrance hole and fall down a pvc tube to the wire cage. I have thought about erecting one near our martin colonies. These traps probably work well with folks who use srehs and the starlings go to the round hole in the Troyer trap.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Just took a look at it. My jaw hit the floor when I saw $315.00 price tag.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
BrendaVR
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Ontario/Burlington

You can build your own. 12.35 for the plans
https://www.purplemartin.org/shop/produ ... ler-plans/
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Thanks a lot. I'll build one, more fun that way. I've got a Blaines Repeater coming for the HOSP.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
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

My teeter totter trap is based off of the trap that is on Chucks purple martin page.
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
rrmartins
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

phldave wrote:My teeter totter trap is based off of the trap that is on Chucks purple martin page.
Ok thanks, I'll check it out.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Steve and all.
I have built 2 of the see saw or teeter totter type Starling Nest Box Traps. They both work Great and caught over 40 Starlings last year. I like to use the 2 lb. metal coffee can as my catch container. My 1st NBT I built from plans off the internet, and might have had $10.00 or $15.00 in it. The 2nd NBT I found a nice metal hinge (see saw) from Modern Falconry for $10.00 and that included some plans. I constructed that one out of Poly-Board so never have to paint. I may have close to $50.00 in that one.! No where near $300.00.
The Nest Box Traps are repeater's and can catch multiple Birds that are transported to a holding cage (waist high) so you can catch several Birds and don't have to raise or lower your trap or use a ladder to remove the Starling.
I know last year I caught 5 Starlings in 1 day in the same trap.! When I reach in the little door to remove the Bird some of them Scream real Loud like someone is going to kill them or something.?.? Lol.!! And I Do.!!!!
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Steve,
Do you have my phone number still.? If you do please give me a call.!
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Rodger,

I do remember talking with you and I know I wrote down your telephone number, but I can't locate it! So if you could call me again I will make sure I keep your number in a place where I can locate it. Thanks.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Steve,
The same thing has happened to me. I had your number but I've misplaced it. My number is 704-436-2094.
Give me a call and give me your number and I will gladly call you back.
Thanks, Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Okie
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:26 pm
Location: Claremore, OK
Martin Colony History: 2016 Informed landlord now Have 2 pair returning from 2015 That is a miracle. Hoping for a very successful year, sparrow population on decline.
First house was plastic with crescent holes Had martins within a few days. Ignorant landlord gradually lost them
Then got Trio House and still lost most of them. Lots of sparrows

phldave wrote: Is it just me, or are their habits in everyway, totally disgusting? I need to come up with something to catch all their filth under the cage. I put newspaper on the floor of the cage once and they just made confetti out of that. This trap get's most of it's business in the spring though.
With the starlings long beak & overall look they just seem evil to me. And they know how to use their beak. Don't know how my male martin survived 2 attacks by a starling last year but he did. And he stuck around to raise his young too.
They are busy snooping out nesting spots right now. Gotten 6 in the last 2 weeks. There are still dozens perching on the overhead lines out front.
The Blaine is not as popular as I would like this winter. These crazy HOSP are so flighty. They come take one bite & off they go. They are not interested in hopping in. I keep hoping they will get hungry & chow down.
Okie
PMCA member
2016 Started with 2 pair, 1 pair abandoned after HOSP destroyed eggs
1 pair= 6 eggs, 6 fledged
2017 1 pair so far, But they abandoned before nest complete for ?reason? Now Bridless and joined the Wannabes
2018 One pair ASY male SY female 5 eggs, 5 fledged
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Okie,
The same is happening here. Catching Cardinals, Blue Jays, and lot of Dark Eyed Juncos, but only 1 sparrow so far. No Starlings at all. Maybe they're getting smart or just not hungry enough. If it were to really get cold and Snow that would probably make a difference.!
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Today, December 26, 2016 I caught a starling in one of the PMCA nest box traps in the photos. This is the third early starling I have caught since October in my traps. The starling was in its winter plumage but was already showing just "a little bit" of yellow on the dark beak. The base of the beak looked like it was beginning to change to a bluish/gray coloration but that was still uncertain. The eyes were dark and more characteristic of a male. Since a solitary male starling is the one that usually first establishes territory, I believe this starling was male. He had his appointment with the Grim Reaper!

I am seeing few starlings so far and usually catch more by this time. The other two starlings were caught in cavity traps placed in a Lone Star Goliad and in a Trendsetter.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
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