The reason why I trap the Non-Native English Sparrow and European Starling is because they are agressive & deadly competitors of our Native birds like Bluebirds, Purple Martins and other cavity nesting Natives. They are a big reason for the decline in many of our native cavity nesting bird populations. They stay year around so they can claim nesting areas long before our Migratory natives return each spring. The English Sparrow is not in the sparrow family but is a Weaver Finch and they will actually kill the nesting Bluebird mother and make a nest right on top of the mother and her eggs. The European Starling has a very long and sharp beak that can be used as a deadly instrument to our native birds also.

For more information about these Deadly competitors of our Native Cavity Nesting birds please read the information at these links on trapping and removal.
Purple Martin web site
Bluebird web site

Note: The starling trap only works during the nesting season.

Above is one of my European Starling traps in a Silver Maple tree. It is about 10 feet long.
I used a regular birdhouse without a bottom, then I had a 5" by 5" duct work made to deliver the birds to ground level.

Below shows the dramatic decrease in the Starling & Sparrow populations I have obtained by agressive trapping.
Starlings trapped---
1993 80
1994 110
1995 106
1996 96
1997 25
1998 16
1999 14
English Sparrows trapped---
in other types of traps
Sparrows won't go into the Starling trap
1993 10
1994 84
1995 140
1996 54
1997 19
1998 18
1999 10

I got the idea for the trap when I realized that Starlings will jump into any dark area. We have a couple open ports in our grain elevator leg distributor and the Starlings will jump down the 50 foot downspouts and get trapped in the bins.

I place a bag over the screen access door at the bottom so the duct work is dark inside. The Starlings jump in and can't fly back out.

The great thing about this trap is that no other "Good" birds will jump into it.

I have made trip door traps for several regular bird houses to catch the cautious English sparrows. I wait until the sparrows choose a birdhouse and then put a trapping house in its place.
You MUST!! monitor these type of traps as "Native Song" birds can also become trapped.

I also use a commercially built trap insert for my Purple Martin house. The trap hole is big enough for the sparrow to enter but too small for a Martin to enter.

I start trapping English Sparrows in late winter when we start getting warmer days. The Native Song birds haven't returned so it is safer to trap sparrows at this point in time.

What do I do with the Starlings & Sparrows??

I don't make them a problem for someone else by releasing them in another area!!!!

I do have plump cats though!

By the way the cats we have on the farm were dumped off on our property by irresponsible people from the city that don't want to take the responsibility to spay or neuter their animals and take them to animal shelters.
So I spend my own money to spay & neuter the cats to help prevent their over-population which is also another reason for the decline in the Native bird populations.

A note from a Falconer ----
Contact your local falconer, either through the American Falconers Association or your state club. If you have a problem with starlings and sparrows then falconers are the solution. A lot of apprentice falconers fly the american Kestrel which is deadly on the two trash birds. One Kestrel can kill as many as 200 head of these birds in one season. And I'm sure the falconers would be very appreciative. And I'm sure that they would let you enjoy the hunt with them.

It can be an amazing time. I would also encourage you to let other bird lovers know of this great resource.
Happy bird watching!
Wyoming Falconer

North American Falconers Association

Another good use for the trapped sparrows & starlings is Rehabilitators of raptors would really appreciate these live birds from you.
I have been contacted by several rehabilitators about how to build the traps I have so they can catch the starlings themselves.

Assisting endangered birds In Texas

Ranchers, federal and state agencies, along with environmental groups have worked out a plan to trap & reduce Cow Bird numbers (formerly Buffalo Birds which are parasitic birds) which have been a major reason for the decline in certain bird species which are now on the endangered list. Click here to read more about it.

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