About a week ago, my grandad put his 8 martin houses up. Before any martins arrived, there were already a ton of starlings and house sparrows staking their claim of real estate. I decided it was time to get to work. Target priority is female sparrows, starlings, then male sparrows.
I chose to use my Airforce Condor SS .22 for a couple of reasons. The .22 cal is perfect for birds. The odds of wounding a bird are low compared to clean kill shots. I’m using JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy because of their sub moa accuracy out to 100 yards.
I had scheduled this shoot to occur on this particular day. I couldn’t pick a harder time to shoot either. It was mid day with few birds flying. To top it off there was a 3-8mph full value wind to contend with (5mph steady). And there were a few rain showers too. So I limited my shooting distance. Distances were from 20 to 68 yards.
I did my best to hide in the garage. The red chair is used as a shooting rest and holds my range finder and dope chart. The milk crate is my chair. Here’s the view:
I’m more exposed than I’d like to be but I’m still partially concealed. The pin oak in the center is 68 yards, the Bradford pear is 45 and the telephone pole is 35 all are common landing zones, so I committed those ranges to memory. Since most birds were landing within a few yards of the telephone pole, I adjusted the target turrets to hit dead on at 35 yards.
Immediately a startling lit at 68 yards. Shot one was a miss, but he didn’t seem to mind. I readjusted, and managed to hit the twig he hid behind. Once I situated myself, I took a wind reading.
There was a steady wind at 5mph. I referred to chairgun for my adjustment. Chairgun advised at 50 yards, my shot would be 1.7″off. The target turret was adjusted 2moa for windage.
The starling returned a few minutes later at about 50 yards. A direct hit to the chest shut him down instantly. Then, there was a lot of down time. I started this blog.
It seems like the martins come in first. The invaders must see this; within a few minutes they come in. The sparrows chatter signals their arrival.
A female sparrow came in at the nearest house. She paid little attention to my ranging and scope adjustment. A 20 yard shot launched her into the breeze.
Mamaw and papaw stopped in to see how I was doing. As we were talking, a male sparrow came in at 35 yards. He was added to the body count. Then another male at 20 yards. I think papaw may buy a Condor in the future.
As I was watching a bluebird looking for a new home, the environment suddenly became target rich. I decided for a startling at 35 yards. Even though he sounded like a bomb going off the sparrows stuck around, but they bounced around to much for taking a shot. A male finally calmed down at 68 yards. Clean kill. Probably my best shot to date.
A starling came in at 35 yards. I held in the wing bone. 38 foot pounds was not enough force to reach his blood bearing organs. The pellet broke the wing and he hopped away and disappeared in the neighbors yard while I missed a starling at 68 yards.
Final body count.
1 female English sparrow
2 European starlings
2 male English sparrows
1 starling purple heart.