Wait a week or more after your last seen martin before cleaning starts

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Dave Duit
Posts: 1963
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I just wanted to remind everyone that just because you don;t see martins around your colony near the end of the season doesn't mean the martins aren't slipping intp their nest quickly as dusk. The parents train their babies to forage for insect prior to heading south for the winter; which is about 1 to 2 weeks. The martins will normally be gone the entire day out training and foraging and then wuickly slip into their compartments as the sun is goiing down. You would have to not blink and keep an eye on all your compartments until dark to catch a glimpse of them tucking in for the night. So, in a nut shell, don't start cleaning and removing gourds and compartments until about a week after you are SURE your martins have migrated. Some landlords keep their housing up for possible migrators from the north that may see and remember your colony location. There is site fidelity , but those that have seen devesating predator attacks and mite infestations may opt to find a new home the following year.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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