Entrances on purple martin housing can be fitted with Starling Resistant Entrance Holes (SREH), to keep starlings out and the holes on bluebird houses are far too small for the starlings to enter. The more insidious problem is the HOSP, because any hole that was small enough to prevent the HOSP from entering would also prevent the purple martin, bluebirds or tree swallows from entering the nest box as well.
During my first year I trapped and killed more than 35 HOSP at my site. They wreaked havoc on my purple martin, bluebird and tree swallows’ eggs. At first, I was timid in my approach, however, after experiencing the loss of 5 one-week old baby tree swallows, my compassion for the HOSP ended. A male HOSP came by at 7 AM one morning and by 7:30 AM had committed the atrocities for which he is well known. At that point, I declared war on every HOSP and became determined to educate every purple martin and bluebird landlord that I came into contact with about the issues with allowing HOSP to breed and roam their sites.
|One-week old tree swallows were victims of a HOSP attack.|
The Starling is pretty easy to recognize: bright yellow, long beaks, long legs and iridescent coloring of their feathers.