Starling Question

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Starling Question

Postby TIGERPITT » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:35 pm

Good Afternoon All,

I was wondering if anyone has ever had trouble with starlings when the colony is located near or over the water? The reason I ask is that I see starlings around my colony but they have not yet tried to nest or really even land on in any of my houses. Do they prefer not to nest close to the water? They may not like the wind that I have on the bay. Hope I never have a problem but it seems strange that they have not tried to move in. Once the numbers of pms get here they have a better chance of protecting themselves. I have a pellet gun ready if needed.

Bernie Nikolai
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Postby Bernie Nikolai » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:57 pm

From what I see up here Tigerpitt, starlings are the worst in cattle country. They are not as plentiful around a lake, but still were bad enough that I had to totally change one of my colonies to 100% SREH on a lakeshore 3 years ago. So yes, you can still get starlings if your houses are on the shore of a lake, but probably not quite as badly.

But you bring up an interesting point. Perhaps someone with a lot of Western martin experience will chime in here, but I understand a very successful strategy along the Pacific coast (British Columbia, Washington) is to place chalet type martin housing out on posts, old boat dock pillars, etc. OUT OVER THE WATER. My understanding is that martins nest freely in houses literally over the water, but starlings are very reluctant to. If this is true, it may be possible to have a starling resistant house, with round entrance holes, IF you had your house erected off the shore, over the water. Perhaps someone who has experience in this might reply.
He who harbors the nesting bird shall have health and happiness all the year


Postby Guest » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:41 pm


When I visited Seattle a couple of weeks ago, I struck up a discussion with a businessman down at the fish market on the bay. He said they had good luck placing martin housing with round holes out on peers over the water. The martins use them but the starings won't according to this gentlement. He stated that if the peer was too close to the shore that you would have starling problems. Unfortunately, I don't know how far out makes the difference.

I realize this is second-hand info but at least some folks have this opinion. I've not tested this myself.


Postby Guest » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:21 pm

TIGERPITT, I have a house 15 ft. from the lakeshore and another on the end of my dock about 150 ft from my house. Each year for the last three I've had one pair that will go from house to house putting nesting material in both houses (never the gourds). It doesn't seem to bother them here but I do not have (knock on wood) a serious starling problem. I actually like the challenge, they have all fell (puffed) victim to my very accurate .17 caliber! Chuck

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Postby TIGERPITT » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:07 pm

My two houses are placed next to my pier. Each of the last two years I have had to move the farthest one in about 20 feet due to beach erosion. In fact the farthest house is now at the edge of high tide. The concrete is stating to show. I will definitely have to move it back after this season. In the future I will probably need to get some sort of crescent shaped entrance hole. Probably should have added one or two this year for them to get use to them.

John Barrow
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Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Postby John Barrow » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:29 pm

HI Tigerpitt.

I cannot speak for your area of the Gulf Coast, but along the middle and southern gulf of Texas, we have less of a starling population then further north. We see a fair number in the winter, but by now many flocks have headed inland. My colony in Port O'Connor is about 200 yards from the water and this year I added all WDC tunnel entrances because we killed 8 starlings there last year. Not a huge number--no intrusions--but more than I felt we needed to deal with in the future. So, I would say if you have no problems keep going with round holes, but if you reach the point that starlings become a problem change out to a SREH as needed. I think there is less of a correlation between starlings entering housing near water then the fact that there are fewer starlings along the coast. In addition, we are blessed to have earlier arriving martins that will begin nest building around April 1. By that time starlings are also committed to nests. So conflict between starlings and martins generally occurs early in the season before martins are nestbuilding. For that reason we don't see as much nest destruction of eggs and fledglings by starlings as those in the north where arrival/nesting season takes place much faster.

We may have more starlings in the future; maybe not. Use good judgment and be prepared to change entrances as needed. Best wishes, jb

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009,2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander

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Postby TIGERPITT » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:58 pm


Thanks for the information. I work about two miles inland from my home and in the fall the starlings really move in. We have an old water tower and a cell phone tower there and it seems to attract them late in the afternoons. They come by the hundreds (probably thousands) to roost. About once a year they overload the power lines until they touch and boom we lose power at work. Dead starlings are all over the ground. Some are still attached to the wires. I could get more graphic but I better not. It used to bother me until I learned about them. I am glad most of them move on in the spring and they do not seem to bother my colony. I must be prepared if this changes in the future.
Thanks again, Tigerpitt

The Olsons
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Location: North Padre Island, TX

Starling Question

Postby The Olsons » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:34 pm

We too live on the water and we do have a Starling problem. Even though we successfully use our airgun for Starling control it seems there is always 8-10 Starlings hanging around. It is almost like you "take care" of one, another one shows up. They always nest in our neighbours boatlift which is directly over the water. I do not know what they find so attractive about that particular boatlift since we are their neigbours... :wink:
By the way, we have had the Troyer Horizontal Gourds with the Crescent entrance for the past 3 years and no Starling has made it in any of the gourds so far. However, we will continue to keep a close eye on the S&S.

Guss P O'Brien

Postby Guss P O'Brien » Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:58 pm

At my work, there is some sort of completely unmaintainted Trio (8 or 12 6"X6"X6" compartments with round entrances). In ten years, I've never seen a starling causing trouble. The martins seem to thrive. The house is on Brinson Point at the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel. I've wondered if the proximity to water is the reason starlings don't seem to be a problem. The house is 820 ft from the shore in one direction and 1250 ft in the other. There are also some sort of falcons that roost high in the plant and feast on grackles. Maybe starlings too?

Further up the ship channel and 3000 ft off the shore in another plant, the starlings are thick. Good thing there is no martin house there.

Donna - TX
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Location: Texas/Pearland

Postby Donna - TX » Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:10 pm

My neighbor has had his house up over 10 years and has never had a starling. His house is also 6x6x6. I think the starlings don't like the small compartments.

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