Wednesday, May 09, 2012


The European Starling - "The Terrorist"

Last year it was the House Sparrow who was terrorizing my Purple Martin house.  This year it is the European Starling.

Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth it to put up a Purple Martin house.  Every spring it is a battle between the non native North American birds like the European Starling and the House Sparrow and the native species of birds like the Eastern Bluebird, House Swallow, and Purple Martin as to who will occupy the birdhouses I have placed in our backyard.

Already this year one very aggressive starling has killed one of the Purple Martins who was trying to guard the Purple Martin House.  I've already torn our three starling nests with a total of nine eggs.  I took a picture of the dead Purple Martin (at the base of the bird house) and the starling eggs but I decided not to post them on this blog posting.  I don't want to be too gruesome with my blog postings, this subject is gruesome enough.

Frank "The Birdman"  - the man who installs and maintains my Purple Martin House

Frank the Birdman, the man who put up my Purple Martin house, suggested that I get a gun and shoot the starlings.  Oh sure, that's a nice activity in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood here, me shooting a 22 to kill starlings.  Oh don't get me wrong, I have no compunction about killing these orange beaked, black terrorists but I doubt if I would endear myself to my neighbors in this heretofore quiet neighborhood shooting a 22 caliber rifle every day, killing birds.  Oh yeah, my father's hillbilly genes would come out in me than.  He shot birds all the time on his property. In fact he had a gun at the ready, which upset me every time I visited him.  Funny thing about all his guns, I think they're still in his gun rack.  None of this three sons desired or took them after he died in August of 2000 even though my Mother said "They're now yours."  She also said each of us could have one of the stuffed deer heads in his knotty pine paneled living room. Those deer heads are still in that living room, staring glassy eyed (literally) at the opposite wall.  He also has a stuffed owl.  Nice touch.

My father Isaac in his garden 1962 - he fought a lifelong battle with non-native birds in his garden - the birds usually won

Anyway, back to my current problem with the starlings who are terrorizing my Purple Martins.  Any suggestions short of tearing out their nests each time they build one?

My ladder at the Purple Martin house a short time ago after I cleaned out yet another starling nest


  1. no idea; tearing out the nests sounds good as anything
    Non-native species always seem so nasty and aggressive and unstoppable,

    1. Dr. Spo,

      Picking up a dead Purple Martin who has been pecked to death trying to defend its nest is one of the saddest things I had to do this past week. Right now it is a battle between me and this persistent starling. I will win because this starling will not raise any of its young in my Purple Martin house.



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