Good to offer a variety of entrance holes?

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Dennis F.
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 1:43 pm
Location: Tiki Island,TX

I have all Crescent or Conley II entrances and I am thinking about adding some round hole entrances for variety to maybe attract more martins. I used to have a bad starling problem but rarely see them now due to a pellet gun purchase 3 years ago. It seems that they know this is a no-fly zone from them witnessing the demise of quite a few of their buddies. Also, I am now working mostly from home and will be here more to keep an eye on things.

Is this a good idea? I also need to know the proper size of the round hole.
Any help is appreciated.
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

most round holes are 2in or 2-1/8in, and most people use something close to that. The 2-1/8in is common because its used regularly by carpenters for installing door handles & latches. Actually, a starling can quickly enter anything close to that and take away the martin nest from a martin. The starlings can do a whole lot of damage so quickly, I doubt that you could completely control them with a pellet gun.

The other thing is that round holes may not increase your martin population. If you live in Houston, and if your site is open enough, you should have no problem filling up your housing while using SREH. If you only attract a few pair, you may have too many trees nearby. I know that martins can use the SREH, and sometimes choose them before they take a round hole if the SREH is in a more desirable place on the housing.

I don't like your idea, but good luck if you try it. I think its unnecessary to switch to round holes. I have more starlings this year than ever before, so starlings may be on the increase.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Sandy - NC
Posts: 617
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:40 pm
Location: Rocky Mount, NC

If you already have an active colony, I wouldn't add any round holes for any reason. I have killing and trapping starlings for over 20 years. Like your place, they know my place is a no fly zone, yet come nesting season, their hormones overrule their brains and they come anyway. I am still average shooting and trapping 50-60 a year.
Don't ever, ever give up. It will happen.
Peggy Riley
Posts: 885
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:21 pm
Location: TX/Tolar

I agree with Emil. Maybe add some Clingers or another type SREH. Starlings can quickly drive off your birds if they get entry. I'm sure you are aware how sneaky they are!

PMCA Member
2017 101 pair
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

I agree, as well. I will never put another round hole on my Purple Martin housing. We used to have all round holes, back in the "old school" days, back when we didn't know what we were doing. Our gourds are all sporting crescent SREH and the freedom from the marauding European Starling is such a relief! :roll:

My opinion is that you will regret switching back to a round entrance hole. Why leave the door open for the starling when you can exclude him completely??

If you want to do a test with a round hole why not put one on a repeating nestbox trap? :idea:

FYI: When we used round holes they were 1-7/8" circles.

I hope you have a wonderful season. From your signature, I see your colony has been growing steadily. I hope it continues to do so...

Dennis F.
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 1:43 pm
Location: Tiki Island,TX

I forgot to mention that the entrance plates that I have on the house can be switched back from the round hole to crescents within a couple of minutes should I have a big problem. I was thinking of maybe 10 round holes out of 39 available cavities.

I remember reading a while back on the forum that someone used round holes until the cavity was claimed and then switched it back to crescent.
I don't know if I would make the switch back if there wasn't much problem.
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.


I think you got some excellent advice from the replies.

The key to being successful at solving problems... is to avoid them in the first place :wink:

Why invite one. My Martins choose (or chose) excluder II entrances over round anyway. I do not use crescents however. I think there are better SREH plates available.

I too trap and shoot starlings and they know better than to come around. But there is still one in the trap almost every day. I have already seen their work.

Watch the You Tube video with a Starling attacking a family of martins. Why invite this. Warning: graphic violence.

This could happen while you are in the shower or at the store.
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

I'll throw in with everybody else.

Starlings can be in and out before you know it, and sometimes merely wreak havoc while passing through without actually trying to nest.

Our modified excluder and Conlee entrances are so easy for a martin to use I see no reason at all for round holes.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
Jeremy Shuler
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:51 pm
Location: Missouri,Trenton

I tried a troyer with a cling plate last year because I hadn't seen a starling all spring and about an hour after putting it up I had 2 in residence I quickly took it down after disposing of them. I have a combo of clinger, crescent, obround and excluder 2s and the excluders were the 1st chosen entrance.
Jeremy Shuler
2009-housing up late 1 SY male for a month
2010-2 ASY pairs- fledged 9
2011- 5 ASY pairs building nests and 2 SY pairs several SY males
Dennis F.
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 1:43 pm
Location: Tiki Island,TX

Looks like the Nay's have it! Thanks for all the input!
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