First Early Starling Trapped

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4334
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

First Early Starling Trapped

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:53 am

First Early Starling Trapped

I trapped my first early starling November 12, 2019 in one of my neighbor Bob’s Goliads. I had seen at least three starlings in their non-breeding plumage at Bob’s colony around the first of November. So I placed four PMCA metal cavity traps in his three Goliads and then consolidated all the traps in just one the other day and lowered the other two Goliads. All non-trap rooms have been closed off with clothespins.

I started my early starling trapping program several years ago with great results. In our area of northwest Louisiana starlings may start looking at possible nest sites in the fall and winter before the actual breeding season begins. So I trap as many early starlings as possible to reduce the numbers later on when the purple martins are here.

Later on I continue trapping starlings as necessary and these are caught in four PMCA nest box traps attached to an old Deluxe gourd hub that raises and lowers with a rope and pulley. This trapping system is located about 100+ yards northwest of Bob’s martin colony in a completely open area that I own. Starlings find this system almost irresistible and often go over to those isolated houses rather than try to deal with hundreds of martins in our two colonies. I call this place the Starling Hotel where starlings check in but don’t check out alive!

We don’t have much of a starling problem with our two personal martin colonies. So far I have been able to control starlings through trapping and shooting and no martins, their eggs or young have been harmed by any starlings. We also have almost no house sparrows and I may shoot or sometimes trap maybe one or two males during the year. Most years I don’t see any sparrows around our personal martin colonies.

Every starling you eliminate not only helps purple martins, but various woodpecker species such as the Northern flicker and the red-headed and red-bellied woodpeckers. These woodpeckers suffer terrible nest competition with starlings.

Here are two photos showing the Goliad with the trap door down and the trapped starling in its winter plumage.

Image

Image
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Black Jack
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: First Early Starling Trapped

Postby Black Jack » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:33 am

Good for you. I like your clothes pins. I saw one hanging around my gourds about 2 wks ago. I thought he or she was a juvenile.
I didn't know they turned that way in the winter. :mrgreen:

Spiderman
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: First Early Starling Trapped

Postby Spiderman » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:17 pm

Good for You Steve. Your lucky you don't live near a lot of crop land. I have a friend in Ohio that has 10 Van Ert box traps and catches 5 Starlings a day the whole time his Martins are there.

I usually start at the beginning of January trapping Starlings.


Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4334
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: First Early Starling Trapped

Postby Steve Kroenke » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:51 am

Black Jack,

Starlings look different relative to plumage during the winter! Their beaks are dark and they have a speckled appearance with "white looking spots". Juvenile starlings are dusky brown with dark beaks after fledging.

Starlings may start their transformation to their breeding plumage rather early. I have trapped starlings in late December and some had bills that were half yellow and half dark. During their breeding season, both male and female starlings have yellow beaks with the male having a light blue or blue/gray base on his beak and the female a pinkish and sometimes cream colored base.

I've been using clothespins to close up houses for many years.

Steve

Spiderman,

We mainly have pastures and woodlots and some of the pastures become thick hay fields until cut. Not really ideal starling foraging territory. Starlings like to "graze" on the ground in short grass environments and hunt for small invertebrates. Starling young require large amounts of protein. So this factor may limit the number of starlings that are looking for nesting territory around our two personal martin colonies. But we still see some starlings that need to be trapped or shot.

Since catching that first starling, I have not seen any more. But there will be more and the Starling Hotel is ready for starlings to check in but not check out alive!

I also shoot starlings as necessary and may shoot a few during the active martin season.

My Starling Hotel system that is located out in the open area really draws in any starlings. Last season I remember watching a male starling that first landed on one of my Trendsetters and he was immediately "mobbed" by multiple martins! He didn't like that "welcome", left and flew over Bob's colony which also was full of martins and headed directly for the Starling Hotel! It didn't take more than a few minutes for him to "check in but not check out alive"!

Good luck with your starling trapping!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Spiderman
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: First Early Starling Trapped

Postby Spiderman » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:29 am

My trap is only 8' high and 40' away from the Gourd racks. For the most part I never see the Starlings I will just notice the trap is closed.

The metal door is painted Pink so it is pretty easy to notice.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot], SSMartin, TerryW and 9 guests