Posts Tagged ‘traps’

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 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!

New Product: One Fits All Insert Trap!

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Martin house Insert Trap that Allows for a SREH (Starling Resistant Opening)!

Much like the famous Universal Sparrow Trap (UST) the One Fits All is even better. You can catch Sparrows AND Starlings where in the past you may not have been able to catch starlings.

You may ask, “Well. why not?”
The UST traps and others come with round holes meaning that if your colony consisted of SREH you would have to either permanently or temporarily convert a SREH to a round in order to use any of the traps. That may not be a big deal. but when time is of the essence and the pesky sparrows (who can easily thwart your SREH) start nest building you want to catch quickly.

Now you can pop in the One Fits All and catch just as humanly as the UST and other popular traps but do not need to change openings. In those that have aluminum houses, changing out an entrance SREH to a round can be quite a job. Unless you bought a spare round entranced door or front panel. And tripping at around 10 or so grams, the trap is sensitive enough to catch any hosp that enters. (a typical house sparrow weighs about 28 grams)

Is it named One Fits All because it fits any door (SREH or round) or because it fits any trap?
The manufacturer tells us that it fits all the houses he tested it in and with measurements of 4 1/4 inches high, 5 inches wide, 4 3/4 inches deep, it just may. The small size is advantageous since the nest, eggs and young of the offending sparrow or starling can be pushed to the back of the trap and still be seen through the hardware cloth back of the trap. Larger traps require that you remove the nesting material which just could send the sparrows into a rage before you have the chance to trap.
The top of the crescent shaped opening is 2 3/4 inches from the floor of the trap and the crescent shaped opening is generously sized at 3 3/4 inches wide to accommodate any entrance types.

We are excited to have this new trap to our lineup available at and look forward to hearing about your success with it.

Much A-do About Starlings

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Purple Martin Conservation Associations online forum is a virtual treasure trove of material for me at times. I simply love the back and forth banter of many of the different forums that I am a member of. 

 Today Courtney asked what she should tell her neighbors who may ask about the repeating nest trap in the backyard. It is a fabulous question!

It is a hard pill for many to take- that the European Starlings and English House Sparrows that we catch are usually euthanized. People like things in a tidy, neat, hermetically sealed container. Like the chicken in the supermarket. I mean really, how many of us would become vegetarians if we had to kill a chicken ourselves? Well, I would ask my husband to do it but not everyone would go through the very real and gruesome task. What about beef and pork? I know that would definitely be off our menu-husband or not. SO why do people get so upset about S&S/sparrows and starlings? It is a difficult question.

You can take 2 approaches when the question comes up. You can be honest and make enemies (sometimes) or give a neat, tidy, hermetically sealed answer and walk away laughing every time. Worst case scenario is the neighbors will think you are a little weird.

So here are the

Top Ten things to say about what you do with the birds you trap:

10.You take them for a drive
9. Send them back to England as part of a repatriation project
8.Retire them in the country side
7.Send them to a bird convent
6.Give them away as pets to the underprivileged
5.Donate them to a foreign country as food (Hay we eat chickens, right?)
4.Release them back to the parking lot of Walmart
3.Release them back to the parking lot of McDonalds
2.Give them to a local magician for his disappearing bird trick

and the number one thing to say about what you do with the birds you trap
1. Donate them to NASA for the next shuttle launch

On a serious note. Todays nest check was postponed due to afternoon thunder storms. We look forward to a nest check tomorrow and the restarting of the nestcam in a nest with eggs!!!!

 (c) Blog contents copyright 2009 S.Halpin/

SERIOUS Hosp Control

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

OK, so you are convinced. Your Martins are outnumbered at best, “out-beaked” at worst. You have decided that all is fair in Love and War, and it’s WAR! You have gone through all this effort and as soon as you get martins to nest, the hosp show up and the martins exit, stage left.

You have to consider, with habitable purple martin housing at an all time low, the martins arrive and are desperate for nesting space. All the younger SY birds arrive and all the prime spots are full of ASY (after second year adults) birds. What is a strapping young pair of Martins to do? Well, they can wait until later in the season. Then they have to deal with hot summer temps and the disaster that can spell for nestlings. OR they can nest in housing that’s infested with (S&S) Starlings and Sparrows. The landlords will usually note that a pair started to nest, maybe even laid a few eggs but then “just disappeared”. True, several things can make a pair just vanish but I’ll bet you it’s ALWAYS some form of predation. And S&S are like cockroaches; for every one that you see, there are a dozen watching and waiting to take its place.

Enough talking. What are your trapping options?

Well, you have 3 options.

Bait trapping: Wire cage using food or nest material to lure S&S into a cage. Usually more effective with HOSP than starlings.

Nest trapping: Traps S&S within the nest compartment. Is not selective and will trap ANY bird. MUST be monitored frequently to prevent harming native birds.

Shooting:Great option for the outdoors-man who likes hunting. Takes some practice, but not as much as one might think. ALSO: check with local ordinances when it comes to discharging either a firearm or pellet gun in your area.

So lets get into this.


Bait traps can either be repeating or not. By repeating that means it re-sets by itself. A real time saver. Some of these have a holding are that you can place a bird or two-separated from the trapping area.They work a LOT better when you have at least one bird in this area as it serves as a lure for investigating birds. But since native birds can and do get caught in these traps you must monitor this type of trap and release natives ASAP.

Cheap bird seed (lots of proso millet), white bread and popcorn make great bait for these traps. During active nesting a few feathers and nest scraps make a great lure also. Try pre-baiting an area for a day or two to get the S&S accustomed to feeding in this area before you introduce the trap. But if you have martins, a day or two can be enough to cause huge losses so weigh your options. If you don’t have the luxury of pre-baiting an area…don’t worry about it. Bait your trap and get going. These traps are available on eBay for a good price. Or just Google “sparrow traps” and see a plethora of choices. There are also traps called “funnel” or “V” traps that have no moving mechanism and work on the principle that birds aren’t the brightest bulbs. (Hence the term bird-brained) These type of traps work better with sparrows but are used quite successfully on a large scale with Starlings. Basically, a narrow entry allows entry but is difficult for the trapped birds to relocate in order to escape.

Nest traps  can either be on the Purple Martin’s housing or at a separate location that the martins would not be interested in. Such as close to a tree or under a house eaves. Traps within the Martin housing have a tripping mechanism that must be reset after each catch. Unless you make the entrance hole to the compartment containing the trap smaller, you can catch sparrows AND starlings AND MARTINS! So monitor closely. There are numerous commercially available traps of this kind, depending on what type of house or gourd you are using. My personal favorite type of nest trap is a repeating nest box trap. It automatically resets after each catch. The bird enters the “nest” and drops down into a holding cage. Since you can place this trap closer to trees or a building the chances of catching a martin are slim but woodpeckers love mine. I release them quickly.

Shooting success is based on your skill level. So practice is essential. I, personally, am not comfortable with my level of expertise but its an easy and effective way to dispose of S&S in one easy step.

So you trap these S&S and what do you do with them? First, make absolutely sure its a European Starling or an English House Sparrow NOT a native look-alike.male HOSP head shotFemale HOSP head shotMale and female HOSP

Well, I do NOT recommend driving them somewhere and releasing them. Unfortunately you will just waste gas and they will fly right back or give some other poor birds grief. So what can you do to quickly and humanely euthanize the S&S you trap? I HIGHLY suggest visiting one of my favorite sites  for great detailed info on your options who I thank for the HOSP photos. The link will take you to their page which outlines numerous legal and non-legal techniques that people use. Whichever technique to trap and dispose of S&S I wish you luck. Remember, that being a Purple Martin landlord is an active endeavor. It is a hobby in which your success is often a direct measurement of your actions and in-actions. If you are fortunate enough to be in a situation where you are protecting your martins, please send a prayer to all those striving landlords that are doing everything right. Unfortunately, due to the damage inflicted by S&S, in Purple Martin numbers, many landlords housing sit empty waiting for those fortunate enough to wage the good fight with the S&S, to tip the scales and re populate the skies with the graceful bird we all love…the Purple Martin.

God Bless!

follow purplemartinart at