Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1967


Much has already been said and written about the use of live traps for the control of starlings in the State of Washington and our efforts have evidently been viewed with interest for we have received letters and questions about our program from all over the world. Our interest in the possibilities of the live trap began back in 1960 when spring and summer surveys revealed a high nesting population and an increasing percentage of bird damage to a very valuable cherry growing industry. This damage was mainly attributable to the local flocks of juvenile starlings. Over the years we have learned much about, the habits and characteristics of the starlings and apply this knowledge to the present day program. Adult birds strive to bring off two broods. The first brood leaves the nest in early May and the second in mid-June. Small flocks of juveniles will then develop in widely scattered areas, usually in irrigated pastures, throughout the county. Even the city reared bird will join its country cousin in these feeding and training areas. These young birds are easily caught and we find that traps located in these communal areas, or along flyways will reduce local populations before cherries become ripe. We also strive to intercept them enroute to the orchards. Traps located in prime nesting areas will take a few adult starlings during April and May, However the catch will pick up significantly as the young leave the nest. Records kept of one man's monthly catches over the years reveal that the average take for the month of May is about 700 starlings and the average for June exceeds 7,000.