seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
aejr
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Live Oak, TX

seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby aejr » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:31 pm

I put up my first purple martin house at the end of feb. Unfortunately, I think a starling has moved into some of the compartments and started building nests. There maybe a purple martin that has moved into a compartment on the other side. The last week I have seen a lot of purple martin activity around the house and the last few days I saw a purple martin couple showing interest also. I am concerned that the starling is (or is going to ) chase away the purple martin. I was thinking about bringing the house down this weekend and removing any nesting material that I may find in the house. Any thoughts on this or other ideas? Is it possible to tell the different between martin vs starling nests? Or should I just let the birds work this out?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Allen

BillieJR
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby BillieJR » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:11 pm

I'm sorry - I have no advice - I'll be interested in what those who do, have to say, tho.

I just wanted to welcome you here. I'm sure you'll gets lots of great advice.

Good luck with your season.
Billie from southern Wisonsin

TheSmiths
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History: Trying to attract PMs since 2004; began a more ernest attempt in 2014. Modified Trio M12K at 15' w/3 gourds beneath; multi-rack w/8 gourds mounted at 20'.

2018 — finally have 1 ASY pair & 1 SY pair in the Trio & 1 SY pair in a supergourd on the multi-rack. :D

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby TheSmiths » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:33 pm

What kind of house did you put up? Depending on the answer, you may be able to modify the entrance to exclude starlings.

Info about European Starlings
Article w/photos -- https://www.purplemartin.org/purple-mar ... on-native/
Examples of nests -- https://www.purplemartin.org/purple-mar ... 5/nest-id/
Article w/photos http://www.sialis.org/nestsstarling.htm
Article -- https://www.purplemartin.org/forum/view ... hp?t=27117

I'll also attach a photo of a starling nest I removed earlier this year from our flicker box.

I wouldn't let starlings use the house. They're an aggressive non-native competitor for nesting cavities.
Attachments
starlingflickbox040418.jpg
starlingflickbox040418.jpg (110.24 KiB) Viewed 500 times

ToyinPA
Posts: 1931
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby ToyinPA » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:49 am

aejr wrote:I put up my first purple martin house at the end of feb. Unfortunately, I think a starling has moved into some of the compartments and started building nests. There maybe a purple martin that has moved into a compartment on the other side. The last week I have seen a lot of purple martin activity around the house and the last few days I saw a purple martin couple showing interest also. I am concerned that the starling is (or is going to ) chase away the purple martin. I was thinking about bringing the house down this weekend and removing any nesting material that I may find in the house. Any thoughts on this or other ideas? Is it possible to tell the different between martin vs starling nests? Or should I just let the birds work this out?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Allen
Allen:

Starlings are non-native. They are aggressive birds & they will kill your martins, especially if they are nesting in the same house. If you have round entrance holes you need to change them to SREH (starling resistant entrance holes). There is lots of info on the forum on how to do it. "Search" is located next to New topic at the top of the forum page. If you can't find the info ask how & those that have had to make changes to their entrance holes will help you figure it out.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby Buckeyefarmer » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:26 am

I converted my house last year from round to crescent openings and my starling problem went away. They don’t even bother to perch on it anymore.
Mark
Central, OHIO.

Lizzie
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:01 pm
Location: North Central Tx

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby Lizzie » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:02 am

If it were me, I'd do at least a couple of things.
Either close off/ or change to Starling resistant entrances on the back side of the housing, where you cannot see what is happening.
Lower the house and remove all signs of starling or house sparrow nesting.
If you can shoot them, then do it pronto- whenever you see starlings on the housing.
If you can't shoot, then trap them and kill them.

aejr
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Live Oak, TX

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby aejr » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:37 pm

Everyone, thanks for advise and links

My dad built the house for based on the purple martin house plan he found at this link "https://www.skiltools.com/How-To/Docume ... 0Final.pdf". It has the round holes.

Suggestions on how to convert these rounds hole to SREH ones? What if I just cut the SREH onto a playwood sheets that could be installed over the round holes?

For now I am going to try to do the following:

1. Figure out how to install SREH.
2. Remove the starling nests every weekend.
3. Trap or kill the starlings if I can.

Will the starlings be discouraged and moved away if I keep removing the nests every weekend?

Will purple martins be disturbed or driven away if I am also removing their nests?

Allen

John Miller
Posts: 4688
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby John Miller » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:34 pm

In situations such as these, it may be good to remember the saying ...foremost do no harm.

If you can plate over the round holes with SREH plates, that may solve the problem. But likely you will need to do some cutting into the wood, and it may not be feasible now that the season is under way. If you do work on the house, do it in the afternoon when the martins may be out, but I am concerned martins in your area may be near egg laying or even incubating. I'd not want to disturb a nest with eggs, and yes, martins may not abandon with pulling of their nest material, but it will cause them some stress and it's not necessary if you are observing which unit the starling is in.

The starling won't abandon from nest pulling. It will abandon if you let it lay -- and hatch -- eggs and then remove the nestlings.

If you are not seeing other starlings...sometimes you get one pair and sometimes more...I might try to leave well enough alone this year, other than letting the starling nest progress to babies and removing those. Starlings that have an established nest don't go out of their way to harm the martins. The danger is that starlings attract more starlings and those that investigate initially are the ones that do harm...but whatever you do, try not to harm nesting martins.

John Miller

aejr
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:02 pm
Location: Live Oak, TX

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby aejr » Thu May 17, 2018 8:18 pm

Update: So I got SREH plates and installed them on the house. This successfully got rid of the starlings. Unfortunately a pair of sparrows moved into one of the compartments almost immediately. Good news is that I also have at least 3 purple martins (maybe 4) that have move into compartments on the other side of the house from the sparrows. I am thinking about plugging up the holes on the side of the house where the sparrows are in.

wmfamily
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:32 pm
Location: St Louis

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby wmfamily » Thu May 17, 2018 8:52 pm

It's good to hear the starlings are gone but you will need to get rid of the sparrows too. The problem is they can come and go even with the crescent openings. They can be very destructive too and will destroy eggs and chicks if not handled properly. There are a lot of posts here on how to handle them. The best device I've found for trapping them is the in-box trap you can place in the house once you determine which opening they use. It is fairly simple to use but you need to monitor it so that you do not accidentally trap a martin. I've only caught a couple over the years and they aren't normally harmed if released quickly.

Courtney-NC
Posts: 570
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

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby Courtney-NC » Thu May 17, 2018 9:07 pm

Glad you got the SREH plates on and it stopped the starlings. I would not close off the compartments the sparrows are in because it will only force them into other compartments where they might disrupt the martins. They won't give up easily. You'll need to trap or shoot the sparrows. There are several different types of traps you can use. Some go into the compartments, but I'm not sure that you have built a house in which the compartments are accessible. Others are ground traps, and then there are nestbox-type traps as well. The PMCA sells both kinds. If you Google house sparrow trap, you'll see many other examples. If you need suggestions on how to bait or set the traps (after determining which one you're going to get), then let us know.
Good luck!
-Courtney
-------------------
NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
http://www.ncpurplemartin.org

wmfamily
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:32 pm
Location: St Louis

Re: seeking advice on starling/martin nests

Postby wmfamily » Thu May 17, 2018 9:15 pm

Speaking of 'bait' I have one of the flip top traps and I've found the best bait to be the cheap white chicken feathers you can get at a craft store. That and some of the nest materials they use to make their hovel. Once you catch one it will attract others. It is common that once I catch one I will catch a couple more the same day. One thing to keep in mind is once you catch one if you allow it to escape you will never catch it again. They are very smart with a very strong survival instinct.

4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1260
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a scoped Benjamin .177 pellet rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Good Landlord with Good Location

Postby 4th Gen Martin Fan » Fri May 18, 2018 9:13 am

I am excited that you are another landlord in the San Antonio, TX area. The tradition of purple martin landlording in SA go back a LONG time ago.
You are continuing the tradition that SA has the most dense population of purple martins in the US.
Your colony will be very successful especially with a double compartment house and SREH that can be raised and lowered, has easy access to the compartments for nest checks and has good ventilation in the compartments.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, S&S Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 13 guests