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Old 07-23-2011, 08:58 AM   #91
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I would say that there are 4-7 starlings in the yard, year-round. I had dozens at my last place so this doesn't seem like a large crowd, but I'd like to make the yard as hospitable to natives as I can. There are four mature silver maples that probably have cavities that the starlings are living in. I have never seen them in the old wood shed.

I loved the make-your-own trap! Wish I were is a position to make one. I do have an old clothesline pole to which I can attach a trap, maybe with metal straps? It would be something that I could easily reach in order to empty it. I will look at the traps for the purple martin houses again. I welcome any suggestions you may have.

A big question I have is, what is the most humane way to manage the final step in the process?
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:15 AM   #92
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I use an aluminum purple martin house with these insert traps:
PMCA Purple Martin Market Place

You can get these, too:
PMCA Purple Martin Market Place

Or, you can make your own. These are also very effective:
Starling Trap

How many do you have? We could fix you up with a walk in trap, if you need one! There are tons of options. I only have them in the spring and there were just a few this year here. The repeater is nice, but you have to remember to close all of your traps if you will be out for a while. I have trapped natives, aiming for S&S.
The trap I have often catches ten to twelve birds a day when they're active. I think I can more effectively decimate numbers with it, and with much less time invested. Earlier this year I was catching so many that a raven was dropping by to get the carcasses. Often, he would bring them to the birdbath and clean them there, leaving parts in the water he wasn't interested in. There was a rookery at the refuge, and I think he was feeding young with regurgitated HOSPS.

Then, I stopped catching them, and didn't see any on the property, often wondering if my neighbor thought it strange that his birds weren't showing up.

I live in a small community where getting into it with my neighbors, right or wrong, can only backfire upon me. Education on the issue puts us naturalists technically in the right, but social norms and traditions are powerful. I'm not up to the experience of being a pariah in the town over this issue. When I now catch the birds and drown them, I do it surreptitiously. Nobody knows but me and one neighbor who I have a special relationship with as I used to work with him. However, I think even he thinks I'm a bit "extreme" in my reaction to the issue. Now, that the newest bird house is right next to him (I took that shot from his yard.) we'll see if his experience with them outside his window alters his view at all.

There is a large birding community in the area, as the Joppa Flats Audubon Society is right down the road. I might go and speak to a few of those folks about the issue, but I think that until there are laws in place against supplying housing for HOSPS, all is for naught. Also, any such law would probably be lobbied against by bird supply stores, as most of the "bluebird" houses they sell in urban areas end up housing HOSPS. Only when one lives a distance from any town and in a "rural" area, can one have confidence that HOSPS won't attempt to take over the bluebird or tree swallow house one puts up. At least that has been my experience.

However, if you do have an extra one of those traps, I'll give it a try. I suppose I could do it so that I'm the only one who knows...
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:40 PM   #93
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You know what is best for you, Jack. There is probably no law against reproducing HOSP, no matter how many you allow breed. I think that federal law should prevent it. I can't release feral swine, python, many plants, zebra mussels . . . Why should people be allowed to knowingly add to the population of this invasive, non-native?

If you can trap a dozen HOSP per day and saw an impact on the local population, I'm impressed. I knew that you were doing well, but that's great! Maybe you don't need to upgrade your system. Local control can be effective, if it is used whenever HOSP are present. I live in the country. There are two barns in the mile to the main road. One is a working farm, with horses and cattle at times. The grain attracts HOSP and they nest in the barn rafters. Since there are so many D*** feral cats in these barns, I think that they get most of the nestlings. I get small bunches of HOSP that find my feeders. I can usually get them under control in a week, or so. You just have to keep at it. HOSP destroyed the first bluebird nest on my property many years ago. They will never do it again. Without control, I would have dozens at my feeders, here in the country. Even though the area is also heavily wooded, HOSP will be found wherever food is and farms have grain.

I hope that your neighbor is disgusted by his new view and joins you in trapping soon!

Looks like we get to trap some starlings now!
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:58 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Hedgerowe View Post
I would say that there are 4-7 starlings in the yard, year-round. I had dozens at my last place so this doesn't seem like a large crowd, but I'd like to make the yard as hospitable to natives as I can. There are four mature silver maples that probably have cavities that the starlings are living in. I have never seen them in the old wood shed.

I loved the make-your-own trap! Wish I were is a position to make one. I do have an old clothesline pole to which I can attach a trap, maybe with metal straps? It would be something that I could easily reach in order to empty it. I will look at the traps for the purple martin houses again. I welcome any suggestions you may have.

A big question I have is, what is the most humane way to manage the final step in the process?
The most humane way is lethal injection. We can't legally do that. Cervical dislocation is the choice of some. Drowning is the choice of others, but this may not fit your definition of humane. A sudden blow to the head works. I use chest compression and lead pellets. You can gas them to sleep with ether (starting fluid). Carbon monoxide, or dioxide works, too.

I'm sorry that I didn't know you are unable to build a trap. Do you have a handy friend, or relative? We just need some scrap plywood, a piece of PVC and something to catch the birds in (wire cage). The other option is to find a cheap, old, aluminum house that you can raise and lower and set traps in. These are the two best starling traps that I am aware of for the number of starling you have. Your best trapping will be late winter/early spring, when nest sites are being selected.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:30 PM   #95
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Thank you fishlkmich, for your help. I will have to think a bit as to the best way to do this, I guess. I so appreciate your ideas, and am sure that I will use one of them. Perhaps I'll start with Craig's List, for old houses.
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:37 PM   #96
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Dap, have the nestling fledged yet in the Japanese Maple???
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Just giving you a friendly nudge....
I found some pictures of the nest in Japanese-maple-that-still-has-to-come-out:
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The Bluebird Trail 2011 - Rated PG!-048.jpg  
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:17 PM   #97
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I found some pictures of the nest in Japanese-maple-that-still-has-to-come-out:

Dap, now be honest; how long did it take you to put those sticks up there like that? Wow, I've heard of trying to justify keeping an alien before, but...
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:15 PM   #98
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LOL!

You are a funny man! ....sometimes.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:56 PM   #99
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Default House Sparrows Threatened Species Red Listed in Britain!!

It's hard to believe, but these guys are threatened in their homeland.


House sparrow numbers falling because of decline in gardens - Telegraph


"The findings suggest that "garden grabbing", or building on gardens, is likely to be highly detrimental to the species, which has seen numbers tumble by more than 70 per cent since the 1970s and is now red-listed because of concerns about its future.
The declines have been particularly marked in urban areas, where pollution, the number of insects for food, predators, and the availability of nest sites are all thought to be affecting populations."
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:10 PM   #100
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It's hard to believe, but these guys are threatened in their homeland.
That doesn't quite surprise me. I've often wondered how rare things like Queen Anne's lace are in what is left of its natural habitat.

Surely many of our native plants, when planted in other countries, take off and become invasive there as well...even as they become more and more rare here. At least I figure some must.
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