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Bill Kepley
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:10 pm
Location: Ohio/Richwood

Hi everyone,
This AM another SY showed up at the house the single has been looking at and they are carrying leaves in. So maybe he-she found a friend! I have been studying the markings on the SY birds, and the formerly single has the same markings as the one that is nesting with the ASY. So that is why I assumed it is another female.
The martins all seem to go somewhere else after 11-12 every day. There is a pond 200 yds away and a stream 200 yds past that and I see them going that way. So today when they leave, I will lower the house , check out the PM nests, and make sure there are no more hosp invasions. Which leads to the next ?, when do those little varmits do their work? I have observed the house until full dark, then next day at 630AM, there is a box stuffed with hosp trash. The PM's sleep , don't the other guys?
Has anyone ever heard of using a scarecrow for the hosp. I ask because I put a chair 20 ft from the house to try to get a better shot, left the chair there over nite, and there are fewer hosp around now. My wife wants me to put a shirt and hat on it to look like someone is in the chair.
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

Have you considered using *in-cavity* traps to try and get rid of the sparrows? Not sure what type of house you have but here is a link to the PMCA shop where you can look around to see if any of them would work for you. The sparrow is persistent and I am never comfortable having them around.

http://purplemartin.org/shop/index.php? ... 30a90b869e

Dawn :) :)
Bill Kepley
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:10 pm
Location: Ohio/Richwood

I am concerned about nest traps as that would require frequent lowering of the house(T-14), the martins seem to get nervous and leave after I have done this. Also, the hosps move around with their nest building.If I could figure when they are active(hosps) I would stay there and shoot them.
Guest

Bill,

I have HOSP problems BIG time at my remote colony. I have to trap. It's at a school. I see HOSP most active at mid-day. They build a nest quicker than you can finish a cup of coffee. They would laugh at a scarecrow if they could laugh. If you can shoot I'd go to WalMart and buy the cheapest bird seed that they have. The contents should be Millet and Milo, primarily. They like white bread, too. Small white feathers attract them, too. Bait them and get them used to feeding at a place where you can get a good shot. They will become super wary if you miss. A repeating trap would be a great investment:
http://purplemartin.org/shop/product_in ... 0228d3b851
If you are not a "birder" please make sure that you know House Sparrows from our native Sparrows. They can be hard to ID at times.

Good luck!
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

If you live in an area where there's a shortage of nesting cavities and a high population of House Sparrows (HOSP) this will put tremendous pressure on your martin house. The House Sparrows will be driven to claim martin compartments. In my experience, the best way to eliminate cavity-seeking HOSP is to erect separate, permanent nestbox traps.

In other words - give HOSP their own housing, but make it trap housing.

There are two basic types of live traps for birds - bait traps and nestbox traps. Each can work well, but during HOSP breeding season nestbox traps are likely to be more effective - that's because the HOSP are more interested in cavities than bait. You can bait a bait trap with nest material like feathers, but the HOSP are going to need a cavity before they are attracted to nest material.

The best nestbox traps for HOSP have entries that are too small for martins to enter. The Trio Spare-O-Door is an extremely effective and durable trap and it cannot trap martins. Unfortunately, the Spare-O-Door only works in Trio/Nature House compartments. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to find used Trio martin houses for sale. Here's what the trap looks like:
http://tinyurl.com/yr6wdt
(Wow! These have gotten expensive! The PMCA member price is $2 less.)

Find a used Trio martin house and buy a few Spare-O-Doors. Use them to make a dedicated trap house. Erect the trap house in a less open area than your martin housing and it will be more attractive to HOSP than your martin house is. Monitor the trap house carefully, there is a chance of it catching smaller native birds.

My dedicated HOSP trap house is an 8-compartment Trio house with 8 Spare-O-Doors. I've used it for 4 years and estimate it has kept over 95% of cavity-seeking HOSP away from my martin, Tree Swallow, and Bluebird housing. I trap close to 100 HOSP a season with it. The trap stays active all season whenever I am around to monitor - that's necessary because HOSP raise 3-5 broods PER SEASON!

Caveat: I believe this type of HOSP control works especially well for me because my martin housing is all gourds. HOSP absolutely will try to claim cavities in gourds -but- given the choice of gourds or the trap house, they almost always choose the house. Landlords offering a house to their martins will probably not find this method quite as effective.

Here is an excellent PMCA Update Magazine article that goes into much more detail on this type of trapping, including lot's of photos of the Spare-O-Door in use:
http://www.purplemartin.org/update/HSControl.pdf

Need a cheaper or faster solution? Build it yourself!
If you are a do-it-yourself kind of landlord, you can build your own trap house. Buy or build a simple wooden martin house with small compartments and fill it with homemade Huber traps. Here's how to make a Huber House Sparrow trap. Scroll down this page:
http://audubon-omaha.org/bbbox/nestbox/huber.htm
_________________
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
Bill Kepley
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:10 pm
Location: Ohio/Richwood

Mary,
I found the plans for the do-it-yourself trap house and I will definitely build something this week. How close to the martin house should it be?There is a tree 50 ft away that other , non-PM, birds frequent, maybe under that? If I use that , the PM shouldn't get in.
Thank you,
Bill
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Hi Bill,

My trap house is near a wooded area, about 50' away from the martin gourd racks.

The Spare-O-Door entry size is 1 3/8". It works great for trapping House Sparrows -and- martins cannot enter a hole that small. However, Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and House Wrens can and will enter 1 3/8", so it must be monitored carefully.

Good luck, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
Guest

Indeed, you'll have to monitor the trap for native captures, and if you place it near your house or near trees, you can also be assured that Martins won't enter.

Good luck. It is pretty important that you win the war with the house sparrows for your colony's benefit. Remember, it does get better; you will have an impact on the hosps in your area and will have less trouble with them. One of the things you can do to help is to continue your efforts in the off season. I have two compartments that I use as traps all year long. Over the Wi**er (didn't want to use the "W" word this time of year), I have my housing at approx six feet high, making trap checks super easy - I can just peek in. I use the PMCA universal sparrow traps in my compartments. They give me excellent results - I love 'em.
http://purplemartin.org/shop/product_in ... 1843eeedbf

Also, it is beneficial (and fun) if you can get the martins used to your presence and to not worry too much about nest checks.

Enjoy!

- Steve
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