Photography, Photos & VideosVideo of the Week - Starling Attack on Purple Martin nest from...

Video of the Week – Starling Attack on Purple Martin nest from YouTube

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This 8 minute, 30 second video shows a European Starling entering an active Purple Martin nest in 2006. The video is dark at times, but shows a fierce battle with Purple Martin adults. It was captured by Simon from PurpleMartin.tv

Simon indicated that, for the most part, the female is involved in the attack. The male entered the fray briefly, but left after a minute or two. Neither adult died in this case, although the starling sat on the female for almost 15 minutes. When round two started, the female was able to escape. The starling left the nest of its own volition 5-10 minutes later and did not return. Both adult purple martins eventually returned to the nest, although they were extremely wary.

In this video, the Starling only pokes around at the young, and does not injure them. The young “played dead” while the starling roams around. All eventually fledged. However, starlings will often peck young to death or throw them out of a nest.

The nest was in a SuperGourd with an unmodified round entrance. Obviously starlings (which are also cavity nesters) have no problem entering normal 2 – 2.5″ round holes (Note: starlings are NOT able to enter a 1.5″ or 1 9/16″ hole used for bluebird boxes.) Simon indicated the event prompted them to renovate all their housing with Starling Resistant Entrance Holes (SREH), tunnel entrances and porches which lowered the entrance holes. They posted that Starlings are able to penetrate some SREHs, but not if they are low against a porch. Since the modification, they have had no further problems with starlings.. Starlings are much taller than Purple Martin.

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Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
– from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” lyrics by E.Y. Harburg


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