Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters


Starling Attack in Purple Martin Nest


Click to play

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

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.

More Information:

video of the month archives

Video of the month archives

    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Bluebirds fly.
    - from "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," lyrics by E.Y. Harburg

HOME | Basics | Resources | House Sparrows | House Wrens | Nest/Egg ID | Site Map and Search | Suet Recipes | Tree Swallows | Contact me Bluebird Conservation

May all your blues be birds!

If you experience problems with the website/find broken links/have suggestions/corrections, please contact me!
The purpose of this site is to share information with anyone interested in bluebird conservation.
Feel free to link to it (preferred as I update content regularly), or use text from it for personal or educational purposes, with a link back to or a citation for the author.
No permission is granted for commercial use.
Appearance of automatically generated Google or other ads on this site does not constitute endorsement of any of those services or products!

Photo in header by Wendell Long.
© Original photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without the express permission of the photographer. Please honor their copyright protection.
See disclaimer, necessitated by today's sadly litigious world.
Last updated March 24, 2016. Design by Chimalis.