How did you get started as a Purple Martin Landlord?

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
jspurgin
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 8:07 pm
Location: Missouri/Eminence

A man named Dwight Haskell moved to our county several years ago. He must have a great love for purple martins, because he set up gourd racks for several people around town. My husband talked to him one day and he offered to set one up on our farm. He gave us the sleeve for the pole and asked us to set it in concrete for him. Next thing I knew, he had put a gourd rack in the yard. He wouldn't take any money. I had martins visit the first two years and since then I have had nesting pairs every year, and have added housing. I currently have 14 pairs. Mr. Haskell used to come out every year and check on my colony, but I think his health has prevented his coming the last few years. I still call and let him know how many pairs I have. He and his wife are a lovely couple, and I certainly would not have purple martins without his generosity.
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

Chriscreole,
What a fun thread to read. I'm sorry I missed it last January.

I grew up on a farm in South Central Kansas, my husband did in a small town in Illinois. We bought our place in 2001, a 4 acre hobby farm 9 miles from town. In 2009 he was renovating a rental property for one of the orthopedic surgeons in my office and came across a Trio house on a fixed pole on the ground. He knew a thing or two about Martins. The basics, like they will come back and eat mosquitos. :) He asked and was given permission to the house and he threw it up at our place. The house seemed to be falling apart at the seems. We got our first pair that fledged two babies. I took pics of the babies peeking out and I was hooked.

He may be the vastly knowledgeable, but I'm the get on the computer and search for answers, one. I found this site. I knew I needed a telescoping pole. If I remember during the off season I bought the pole first at our local Orscheln's farm store, and then the house. S&K plastic converted to 6 compartments. Last year I put up a second house, same set-up. Now I want a nicer house and wenched square pole. Times 3. Plus gourds underneath. I'll just go get a loan. A few months ago my husband bought a used jeep that we don't need. Hey it's only money and I didn't say a word to him. :lol:

Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
Waydog
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:08 pm
Location: Alexandria, La.

Picked up a pole and sk 12 room house. put it up in mid january this year, wich was way too early, the sparrows loved me for it though. Had a apair show up, stayed, laid, then anothe pair stayed and laid. If theyll all fledge out safely,next year will be hoping to get atleast 4 pair.
So i kinda just thought, hey im going to try this! and it worked!
2012 -first year landlord.... 2 pair, 9 fledged.... 2013- 5 pair 20 fledged..
2014- 8 pair 32 fledged
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

I didn't decide to become a Martin landlord...the Martins decided I would be their landlord. They chose me to care for them. I live in a small town in central PA.

1972 St. Agnes Flood hit PA & wiped out all the Purple Martins & their food source. Prior to that many in my area had martin houses & small colonies.

Summer of 1998. I was in my back yard, standing at my fence, talking to my neighbor., Suddenly we hear these birds singing away. We look up & on the power lines that cross my property were 5 or 6 birds. Well they kept singing away & flying around the yard. I asked my neighbor if he knew what they were. Purple Martins. He told me those birds you want. So I got on the computer & did some research. I found this site, joined & learned allot. Day after day they kept coming to my yard. So we bought a S&K 16 room barn & put it up. They moved in & have been coming back every year since. Slowly my little colony grew to several pair. I average 6-10 pair every year. So far this year I have 10 nesting pair. Just had another SY male show up today. Have lost 3 adults this season.

One day, several years ago, I see this guy with a big camera standing at the lower end of my yard. He was/is a member of the local Audubon club. I went out to talk to him & was told I have the only Purple Martin colony in the whole county! Still do, as far as I know. Others have tried, but have not been lucky. There was another colony some where west of me several years ago, but it ceased to exist a few years ago. We added a 2nd & 3rd house. This year we put up a T-10 house, took down one of the S&K barns & will put up a 2nd T-10 next year.

I load the houses with pine needles. I cut twigs from bushes, gather clumps of cut grass, etc & lay it on my sidewalk for them. My yard is fenced, so I have no ground predators to worry about.

I supplement feed them crickets when they return in March/April. I have rescued chicks & hand feed them & got them back on their way over the years.

My yard/houses also seem to be a stop over for Martins migrating on north. Some will stop for 1 night, while others will stay a few days before pushing on north.

I look forward to their return every year & am saddened by the silence when they are gone.

Toy in PA
JL Murray

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Last edited by JL Murray on Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

These responses...we all get it. It's nice to share this love with all of you. JLMurray, that was beautiful.
Deb
JL Murray

DebA wrote:These responses...we all get it. It's nice to share this love with all of you. JLMurray, that was beautiful.
Deb
Thank You for the kind words!
Chriscreole
Posts: 781
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:31 am
Location: Texas, Hutto

No kidding JL, Darn near brought tear out of me too. I never appreciated animals untill I got Einstein, he was my best friend for 14 years, my Jack russell, I had to let him go a few months ago. Never a harsh word or a hand lifeted on him. He was a good boy and he tought me to appricate things. Then the Martins came into my life and like so many I was hooked. Now I'm that old man on the porch in my rocker enjoying my Purple Martin Colony.
Image
PMCA Member since 2010
Super System 24, All Troyer W/Conley 2 entrances.
pmcharter1
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: iowa/madrid

not tough for me! i lived in the country, our neighbor had a wooden house, that was 1980. always had them, so so the next yr, my junior yr in school, i built one , and attracted them. when i moved away, i moved to a house and my neighbor had 2 12 room tro houses, full colonies every yr. he decided to move, and gave me one , this one wasnt sank in concrete, i placed it in my yrd, had martins first yr.he sold his home and told the new owner i wanted the 2nd, she had no proablem with that, ( i had to dig it out buried in concrete, 12 incches deep!!! they are sweeet houses. 12 room trios, with a telescpoing pully system, so easy, to raise and lower. this was 2008, still got both , this yr out of 24 rooms, 16 are occupied, each rooms that are have babies, if they make it, ill need another house next yr!. i had a great colony going in the yr 2000, we had a bad cold snap, all summer, lots of rain, and they never recovered, until 2004. lots of goofy weather in ia. but proud to say, if all my fledglings make it, ill need another house or two!even thou i dont keep track of every room like i just started this yr , i should have, what onece was a hobby, is now an obsession, ask my wife! ha!i spend alot of time trying to do the right thing, not even close to somebut as a landlord you must do all you can. if this bird will migrate to and from brazil, to come back to your house, what will you do to make it their home? have the houses ready with nesting material inside, egg shell feeders for calcium, mudmixed on perches for their nests, . I told a friend of mine next door trying to attract martins, if you were to move in to a apartment, woudnt you want it finshed and ready to go, or do you want to sleep on the bare floor?
JL Murray

Chriscreole wrote:No kidding JL, Darn near brought tear out of me too. I never appreciated animals untill I got Einstein, he was my best friend for 14 years, my Jack russell, I had to let him go a few months ago. Never a harsh word or a hand lifeted on him. He was a good boy and he tought me to appricate things. Then the Martins came into my life and like so many I was hooked. Now I'm that old man on the porch in my rocker enjoying my Purple Martin Colony.
Blessings sent from heaven to earth.... IMHO
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