Starling Resistant Entrance Holes or SREH have helped countless Purple Martins from falling victim to European Starlings. They are not without risks. Scroll down for a picture of wing entrapment. There are several entrance options available on the market today. Some of which are protected by patents and copyrights.
Whatever you do do NOT make any changes to the SREH. DO NOT CUT, FILE, ENLARGE, ALTER, MODIFY , or in any other way change the SREH,. The entrances ARE correct.
If you are a brand new landlord and other martin housing in your area are round entrances, it may take some time, coaxing, and getting used to, for your martins to go ahead and enter them. SREH entrances do feel different to the birds. They are a tighter squeeze but your birds will eventually accept them. We often advise people to offer 1 or 2 round entrances on the side of the housing THAT YOU CAN EASILY MONITOR, as starlings will quickly take over any round openings on the more hidden side of your housing. Having the round entrances be easily visible makes any trapping much easier. Once a pair of martins has taken to the round entrances, the other martins will make the effort and go into the SREH compartments that are left. You must be patient. They will eventually go in.
If you have an existing colony and want to convert, we always suggest making any changes PRIOR to your birds return. We also suggest converting all compartments on the far side first. Once martins have returned it is still possible to switch to SREH. Again, convert entrances on the far side are in your housing that are easily monitored. Convert entrances either before incubation or after young have some feathers. This will prevent any issues due to interruption of incubation or the parents ability to keep very small nestlings warm. You don't have to switch them all at the same time.
Your martins will peek in and come out over and over. They will look troubled but be patient. Once one bird enters and they watch, they will all learn how to do it. This small effort on your part will keep your birds much safer from starlings.
Please be aware that having SREH increases the chances of Wing Entrapment. (Scroll down to see an example)
If unnoticed, wing entrapment can lead to the death of The bird.
Wing Entrapment occurs when a purple martin fighting inside a compartment with another martin will lean on the inner portion of the door and the birds wing exits before the bird. The bird is then stuck and may not be able to remove itself. The birds inside the compartment will die of heat exhaustion if not removed promptly.
Walking around your housing twice a day is suggested, at the very least one should always keep an eye out for this event.
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