Bleg: shooting starlings and seed starting

Starlings: Alright, the general concensus is that the best way to get rid of starlings is to shoot them.  I have no objection to doing so, however I don’t have a good place to put the feeder that will allow me a shot without a house or street behind it.  Admittedly both houses and road are 50 to 100 feet (or more depending on which way and angle) from where I’d be shooting, but still.  Best compromise I can come up with is to move the feeder to a place that’ll put the shot away from the houses, and it would have to go through a couple bushes and trees to get to the road.  The pellet gun we have would go through all that and still go through a car window if I timed the shot badly.  What is the lowest speed/size/etc air rifle (BB or pellet) that will do enough damage to the starlings to make it worthwhile?  (Ok, I’ll admit I could move the feeder to the back of the house and shoot off into no-mans land, but then I can’t SEE the feeder from in the house.  We tried that last year, took all the fun out of it, there’s no good way to watch the feeders in the back from inside the house (yes, thats a failing of the house, one we’d like to eventually fix…..))

Seed starting:  Last year I had surprisingly good luck with my attempt at seed starting.  I didn’t get much off the plants, but I think that was a weather issue and my inexperience more than anything else.  So, this year I’d like to do a bit more.  I’m looking at setting up a proper seed starting tray, with lights, so I can start more seeds and hopefully have them a bit more mature when its time to put them out.  Question: do I NEED a heating mat?  What about anything else equipment wise?  What do you consider essential to seed starting?

5 Comments

  1. Comment by Mrs. S.:

    With the inconvenience of other things being in the line of fire I was reminded of the Month Python sketch “How not to hide”. If it is impractical to shoot them, I wonder if it is legal to blow them up with remote control squib charges like they use to simulate gunfire in movies. But then, suet feeders have no perches on which to plant charges, so that wouldn’t work very well. You could just ignore them.

    On the seed starting front, do research on the plants you wish to start. Some plants need warm soil to sprout, others do not. If the place where you start seeds gets cold and you are planning to start seeds that need 60-70 degree soil to germinate properly, then a heated mat is necessary.
    Essentials to seed starting:
    sunshine
    dirt that isn’t frozen
    containers for holding dirt (with drainage holes)
    something to catch the water that runs out of the drain holes
    seeds
    plastic film or cover to hold in humidity during the sprouting phase
    and a safe place to put all the plants and seedlings away from foraging cats and dogs
    Good Luck!

    • Comment by Ruth:

      We keep the house between 60 and 70, so I can’t imagine anything in started in the house would be cooler than that…hence my question on the heat mat. Cool. But yah, keeping cats off is a must. Janie would sleep on the sprouts if I let her….

    • Comment by Ruth:

      We were debating putting the suet feeder on a plywood backstop too, I still don’t want to use our current pellet gun in the direction of the road. Its great for knocking them out of trees at a distance, it would be way overkill for anything up close, not to mention the noise it makes…

  2. Comment by bogie:

    You shouldn’t need a heat mat for starting seed (as long as you don’t keep them really cold). Heat mats are for the seedlings, but only if you are putting them out in a cold frame or unheated / lightly heated green house while the weather outside is still frightful. There might be a small benefit to putting you seedlings on heat mats if keeping the house at 60 degrees, but it is up to you to decide if that little bit of benefit is worth the cost of the mats and electricity.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      We’re usually closer to 70 than 60, especially in the area I plan to start the seeds, so yah, not going to worry about the heating mat. Heck, its not unusual for us to get below that at night in the middle of the summer, so anything that can’t manage those temps isn’t going to make it anyway.