Posts Tagged ‘wing entrapment’

Wing Entrapment CAN Happen to You!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Once again wing entrapment has struck again. Every year (early in the season usually) I have to deal with martins that get stuck in SREH entrances. 2 ASY males, one stuck in the sreh and one within the nest. Unfortunately I was out all day visiting family, came home after dark and this AM this was what I found.

For those that don’t know, Wing Entrapment is when a purple martin becomes stuck in a SREH. It usually happens when 2 or more martins are fighting over a compartment (nest spot) of any gourd or house with SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Hole) As one bird tries to leave the nest and is trying to fend off attacks from within the nest from a rival or occupant, the bird gets stuck in the entrance. Basically gets stuck when he turns as he is trying to exit. If not discovered fairly quickly the birds in the nest can die as can the stuck bird. I have wondered if vented rooms vs non vented rooms have a better survival time but this nest was fairly well vented. But still the blocking off of the entrance must have happened early in the AM and as I was out all day, there they sat and died. Those that have reported deaths from entrapment usually say that they discovered it either the same day or within a day or two of the event.

It is important to note that this Sunset Inn house did NOT have wing entrapment guards on the inside of the crescent entrances. Also there have been reports of wind entrapment on the large Trendsetter houses that DO HAVE wing entrapment guards. I am not sure if the problem is the thickness of the guard, as the Trendsetter entrapment guard is not the thickest I have seen There is no standard thickness for a guard also and it is hard to just say that thicker may be better, because we are not real sure if at some point, the thickness would hamper their entry and exit into the compartment or cause some kind of situation with young birds crowding at the entrance waiting to be fed.

You can read about wing entrapment in previous blog posts as well as on our parent website, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. Is wing entrapment a reason to not use SREH? Absolutely not. Wing entrapment remains much less common than the threat of Starlings in an unprotected colony. Of course, you have to weigh the pros and cons in your colony along with your sites individual risk factors for both problems.

BIG Troyer Purple Martin Gourd Improvements for 2012!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Its official. All Troyer Horizontal and Troyer Vertical gourds (with SREH) are now featuring Anti-Wing Entrapment tunnels AND new thicker Heavy Duty access caps that WON’T pop off! We are proud to offer the Troyer Horizontal Gourds and Troyer Vertical gourds and we use them ourselves in our own colony.

Off course you can buy these HD Caps separately to upgrade and improve your current selection of Troyer Gourds, Supergourds and Excluder gourds. These caps are opaque (so light won’t leak in), are stronger (so they won’t stretch out and pop off), have a ribbed grip and have 4 purple martins embossed on the top to boot!

All Starling Resistant Entrance Holes (SREH) on Troyer Gourds will now feature an anti-entrapment Guard on the interior of the tunnel. We have written several post in the past on wing entrapment and any SREH is susceptible to having this happen. If a bird becomes entrapped and it goes unnoticed the bird and any trapped behind it will perish. These new guards will cut down on this risk. Read more about wing entrapment at PurpleMartins-R-Us and also on this Blog. The guards are molded into the tunnel and are trap compatible with the Troyer-Haskell Tunnel Trap. Perfect for trapping S&S (Invasive House Sparrows & European Starlings) or even can be used to safely capture purple martins for banding/research purposes.

The season is almost upon us and the martins will be arriving in South Florida within the next few weeks. So stay tuned for an increase in posts here on MyPurpleMartinBlog.com and follow us on Twitter for martin Scout reports. (We are “PurpleMartinArt” on Twitter) Also we are working again on our webcam to get it up and running for our birds return.

In closing we wish you all a relaxing Joyful Holiday and a Healthy New Year!

Another Case of Wing Entrapment

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It seems like this is a yearly event. (knock on wood) I hope only once a year is my lot in my landlord life. It could be more, I suppose. It definitely could be worse. So far no lasting effects, other than some worry on my part and some moments of terror on the part of the martins that I had to extricate from the sreh gourds. 2 ASY males, one stuck in the sreh and one within the nest. Gratefully and gently freed. They are so amazing to look at up close.

For those that don’t know, Wing Entrapment is when a purple martin becomes stuck in a SREH. It usually happens when 2 or more martins are fighting over a compartment (nest spot) of any gourd or house with SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Hole) As one bird tries to leave the nest and is trying to fend off attacks from within the nest from a rival or occupant, the bird gets stuck in the entrance. Basically gets stuck when he turns as he is trying to exit. If not discovered fairly quickly the birds in the nest can die as can the stuck bird. I wonder if vented rooms vs non vented rooms have a better survival time and if the deaths are strictly due to the heat build up in a nest with a plugged entrance? Or is it a dehydration issue? Those that have reported deaths from entrapment usually say that they discovered it either the same day or within a day or two of the event.

You can read about wing entrapment in previous blog posts as well as on our parent website, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. Is wing entrapment a reason to not use SREH? Absolutely not. Wing entrapment remains much less common than the threat of Starlings in an unprotected colony. Of course, you have to weigh the pros and cons in your colony along with your sites individual risk factors for both problems.

SREH Wing Entrapment of Purple Martins

Monday, March 1st, 2010

So not even a week ago I wrote a blog entry entitled “Switching Martins From Round Entrances to SREH” and in that post I mentioned Wing Entrapment. Well this morning I look out my window and lo and behold a case of entrapment staring me in the face.

For those not familiar with wing entrapment, it is a phenomenon that is increasing due to the advent of SREH. It is basically when a martin gets stuck in the SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Hole). Without removal the bird will ultimately die as will any birds that are stuck within the compartment itself. Though I am still a strong believer of SREH, entrapment highlights the need to be an active participant in the conservation of purple martins.

A customer asked me only today if getting Starling Resistant entrances were worth it with the threat of entrapment. My response was that the cases of death by starling would always be more common place. That the threats to adult martins, nestlings and eggs is much greater than the risk of entrapment. Never mind the fact that a martin house devoid of martins and producing starlings makes life difficult for all other cavity nesting birds. So in starling prone areas, SREH are a vital component that requires vigilance on the part of the martin landlord.package of weatherstripping foam

A case in point of why doing walk unders is so important. The ASY female would have surely died, had I not freed her. Oddly enough, no other martins were in the gourd. The worrisome part of this case of entrapment is that it occurred on a tunneled entrance that I had placed a wing entrapment protector made of 1/2″ insulation foam weather stripping. Placed above the Conley II entrance, the strip of stiff foam is supposed to (in theory) extend the distance from the foam tapeopening making it less likely for the bird to be able to lean against the opening and have a wing pop through and be stuck.

The PMCA has recently began selling (at cost) a plastic wing entrapment protector as part of a study to determine its effectiveness. The idea for those protectors came from the discussions on several purple martin forums. These discussions brought about the foam weatherstripping modification.

Here are the details of this case of wing entrapment.

1. SY male martins present this AM

2.Troyer horizontal gourd

3.Conley II entrance non-traction stripped tunnel (original)

4.Partially modified troyer neck (NOT cut all the way around as now recommended) though in looking at the interior of the martin she was stuck in such a way that this does not appear to be an issue. It almost seems that her body became stuck due to some conflict that was occurring on the outside of the gourd rather than a fight on the inside as what is usually seen.

wing entrapment tunnel interiorIt is important to note that entrapment can happen on any type of gourd or house that has SREH. My previous cases of entrapment have been on a troyer and on a S&K gourd. One with a Conley II entrance and one with a clinger entrance.

In the worst case scenario of delayed discovery of wing entrapment, the results can be devastating with the deaths of 1 or more birds. But through vigilance and monitoring of your site the benefits of using SREH entrances far outweigh the risks involved.  Though in satellite colonies or purple martin colonies that are not monitored daily, wing entrapment may be cause for more concern. Other techniques to control starling populations, a phone number to call if trouble is detected should perhaps be posted or even more frequent monitoring in the time frame where SY martins return, should be employed.

© PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

Switching Martins from Round Entrances to SREH

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

At times I believe that with the ever increasing pressure from European Starlings, it would be just a matter of time before purple martins become extinct! Luckily for us landlords Charles McEwen of Mocton, NB developed the SREH or Starling Resistant Entrance Hole. This development has single-handedly helped save more purple martins than we will ever be able to count.

The starling resistant Crescent entrance, which has given rise to nearly a dozen variations has virtually neutralized the threat of the invasive European Starling to our native songbirds. Many folks deal with the pressure and destruction caused by starlings entering their round holed colonies, rather than converting their entrances to SREH because of the apparent difficulties one can have in teaching your martins how to navigate such an odd looking entrance. Looking at the entrances it is no wonder, the shapes are downright strange and seem to defy logic. How would a bird get in? But trust me! They do!

types of srehAs I stated before there are many types of starling resistant entrance holes, some of which are protected by patents and copyrights. Some have even touted Starling Proof entrances, though in my opinion, it is a bit premature to stake that claim. You can read more about “starling proof” entrances HERE. There are also many opinions as to which SREH is better or more effective than the next. I have only tried a handful myself and even with SREH I continue to trap non native starlings at my colony.

Most of my 30+ compartments are Conley II (also called “The Clubhouse” entrance) and crescents. I have a gourd with a modified Excluder and one with an Excluder II also. ALL fill with martins.
I must admit that at first I had some issues switching them over but eventually they got the hang of it.
If your colony is established, that is they are bonded to your site and have nested there before, they should figure it out pretty quickly. You may witness the SREH Shimmy (as I call it) which is often mistaken for the martins “not fitting” into the new entrance hole. Do not fret, these designs have been designed and tested with many thousands of martins and they will fit in it. The martin will stick his head in and make it appear as if he can not fit. He may even appear to squeeze and push, to no avail. Trust me though, if the entrance is either bought from a reputable source such as www.EntrancesbySandy.com or www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com or comes pre manufactured, the sizes are carefully measured and the bird can fit. Be patient. Many landlords suggest keeping a few round holed compartments available.  The rounds will fill first but the desire to stay together at the colony will get the other martins to eventually get in the starling resistant entrances. Of course you must intensify the battle against any starlings, as they will now be focused on the few round nests that remain. This will buy some time for the martins to become familiar with the change and master the entrances.  It just will take time. A couple of days at the most.

Consider building  a repeating nestbox trap or purchase one pre built. Also called a S&S trap these can trap repeatedly without resetting. Since the trapped bird is released into a holding cage, the trapped birds can tolerate it much better than a conventional nest trap. That is to say, if you leave the house for a few hours and a native bird is trapped in the repeater, they will be none the worse for wear when you get home. In a regular nest trap, the bird won’t do well at all. I would never recommend leaving a regular nest trap set while not actually watching it. Stuck in a closed off gourd or house with little air flow-It gets hot quick. Also you can stick the repeating nest box trap in a spot that is less desirable to the martins and lure the starlings away from your martin housing.

If your colony is new, that is you are still trying to attract your first pairs of purple martins, then converting them can be a bit trickier. Hopefully the martins that come to investigate your site come from a colony that uses SREH. If they are familiar with them they will enter the compartments like quicksilver. If they are not familiar with SREH then leaving from a couple of entrances  to half the compartments with round entrances will work. Monitoring your housing and keeping starlings out becomes even more important to these new colony sites and trapping and neutralizing is key. Local Starling population control can reduce the pressure form these invasive birds and increase the possibility of attracting and keeping your first pairs of martins.

Now for the downside. Though SREH are a wonderful tool that has helped martins to flourish in otherwise starling infested areas, their are risks. Though not common, Wing Entrapment can kill if not caught. I have encountered this problem a couple of times at our colony and you can read about Wing Entrapment HERE. When using SREH it is recommended that you look at your colony twice a day to observe for any martins that may be entrapped. Entrapment usually happens at the peak of martin breeding season when martins will often have territorial fights within the nest. The birds back up to the entrance while fighting and get their wings stuck. Lowering your housing and gently removing the stuck bird will not only save the life of the martin that is stuck but the 1 or 2 other martins that (I guarantee) are in the gourd with it.

Unfortunately there are no sparrow resistant entrances, when it comes to Purple Martin houses. So getting a good trap either nestbox or a baited trap becomes essential.

REMEMBER, when using traps of any type, monitoring is essential to preventing harm to native birds that may be inadvertently trapped. Native birds may not “learn” that it is a trap and are often caught repeatedly. If you are unable to monitor your traps they should be disabled while you are away.


Credits and copyrights are/may be in effect for SREH designs

Dually entrance design by Ken Landry

ACE entrance designed by R. C. Moser and developed by Bob Flam.

Excluder entrance designs by Duke Snyder

Conley entrance designs* by Willie Conley

© PurpleMartins-R-Us.com