Our Lowe’s Satellite Martin Colony Wiped Out Again

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Our Lowe’s Satellite Martin Colony Wiped Out Again

Well, it has happened again and this time Lowe’s is fully responsible for the destruction of our most successful satellite purple martin colony. Bob visited Lowe’s in downtown Shreveport today and was stunned to find all our martin housing gone! We had a pole with four Trios and four Super Gourds and another system with two Trio Wade houses stacked on top of each other.

Just a little history…several years ago an employee “gave” all our housing to a friend when the houses were full of nesting martins! The man dug up a Trio Castle and a multi-purpose pole with two Trios and four Super Gourds. We originally thought the housing was stolen and I filed police report. We replaced all the housing quickly and the martins re-nested.

But this time, apparently Lowe’s decided that the martin colony did not belong on their property, took down the houses and gave them away! Lowe’s didn’t even bother contacting us first. Bob talked with a store manager and he just said corporate came down, saw the houses and decided to get rid of them. He said the housing was taken down about two weeks ago. He stressed it is Lowe’s private property. Bob stressed that martins are federally protected birds. The manager just repeated that it is Lowe’s private property. But he did say he would let Bob know who at corporate headquarters made the decision. I wonder if Bob will ever get a phone call!

Bob started the Lowe’s martin colony well over 20 years ago and I have helped him with it since 2005. It has been an outstanding colony and is usually 100% occupied each season. We had invested considerable financial resources and time in this colony. Until the last incidents, we have not had any problems with Lowe’s management regarding the martin colony.

I guess we should have considered the first “wipeout” a bad omen. Perhaps we should have dismantled the martin colony after the first incident.

When you establish satellite martin colonies at private businesses you never know what can happen if new management comes in or if the current managers have a change in attitude about the martins. You are at their mercy and all your martin housing can be taken down. Probably most businesses would allow the martins to finish a breeding season before removing the housing. Plus once the martins are nesting with eggs/young you can’t harm their housing.

We have three other satellite colonies at private businesses and now I wonder if something like this could happen again. One business did change ownership but the new owner says he “likes” the martins and has no problem with our housing so far.

Satellite martin colonies can be valuable sites to help the martins and educate the public. But there is always a risk of vandalism, theft and removal by the property owners. We will still have satellite colonies but we will be more careful in selecting locations for future ones.

I think I will do my home improvement shopping at Home Depot and no longer patronize Lowe’s!

Edit: There are two Lowe's in Shreveport. Our martin colony was located at:

2710 Alkay Drive
Shreveport
(318) 683-3000


Steve
Last edited by Steve Kroenke on Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
ToyinPA
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
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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.

Steve:

Just an idea......

How about contacting your local TV new station to do a story on this. Lowe's will not like bad press & may allow you to put the housing back.

Toy in PA
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

That really stinks.

I think the big key on any site you don't control is to not put a ton of $ into it and don't make it to big.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Waydog
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:08 pm
Location: Alexandria, La.

Yep, what toyinPA said. That is worth a shot i think....
2012 -first year landlord.... 2 pair, 9 fledged.... 2013- 5 pair 20 fledged..
2014- 8 pair 32 fledged
M.Stephens
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Texas/Texarkana

I suggest everyone on this forum call Lowe's of Shreveport tomorrow and voice their opinion!
Malcolm
2015 (110 nesting pair)
2014 (92 nesting pair)
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Boisy Pitre
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:22 pm
Location: Prairie Ronde, Louisiana

How ironic. They let HOSPs take over their garden center and drop excrement on customers but take down PM houses? This segues into my episode over the weekend at my local Lowe's.

I went in Saturday morning for a few things and as I was leaving the inside of the store, noticed something drop from above and onto my shirt. Guess what it was? Fecal matter from a nesting HOSP that was inside the store! Now I just complained of HOSPs at my local Lowe's on this very forum, and I guess they got their revenge.

After going home to change, I called up Lowe's customer service 800 number and relayed what happened. They took my info and said the store manager would get back with me in 24 hours. Well, it wasn't 40 minutes later and I got a call from the store manager apologizing profusely and offering to have my shirt dry cleaned.

I told him it was a pull over shirt and nothing to get excited about, but I did ask him what they were going to do about the HOSPs that were in the store and crapping on customers.

He told me that they have an extermination company that comes in from time to time, and that they were going to get this done ASAP.

So this got me to thinking. Why not start a letter writing campaign to Lowe's HQ and ask them for two things:

1) Relieve their stores from these troublesome birds through a regular abatement program, and
2) Put up PM houses on their property to encourage the proliferation of these birds as well as encourage the sale of PM houses.

Now I read this. Makes me wonder if it's even worth the effort.
4th Year Purple Martin Landlord
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Boisy Pitre
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:22 pm
Location: Prairie Ronde, Louisiana

M.Stephens wrote:I suggest everyone on this forum call Lowe's of Shreveport tomorrow and voice their opinion!
Which store is it? There are two:

7301 Youree Drive
Shreveport
(318) 524-3445


2710 Alkay Drive
Shreveport
(318) 683-3000

Let us know, and I'll get on the phone tomorrow.
4th Year Purple Martin Landlord
PMCA Member
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lcline85
Posts: 192
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:22 pm
Location: Stuarts Draft, VA

I was about too say the same thing about them letting house sparrows nest INSIDE their store but they have a problem with a beautiful colony of martins just on their property!

Sorry about the problems you are having I would make sure to make a big fuss. I'm sure in these times they can't afford the bad publicity.
2nd Year trying to attract martins! Wish me luck!
Kevin-GA
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:00 pm
Location: Georgia/Nashville

Sorry Steve, I like ToyinPa's idea, that would really get their attention!! The very least they could have done is contact Bob or you about the housing before just removing them. It may be on private property but the housing still belongs to you guys! They basically stole your equipment! :evil:
Kevin
PMCA member
2010 (1 pair) 4 fledged
2011 (19 pairs) 79 fledged
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2013 (112 pairs) 448 fledged
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NancyinEnidOK
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:06 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Enid

Steve, I just saw your post and this just makes me sick! I know you guys are out a lot of money, not to mention your time and effort, and that in itself is terrible -- but to me, what is even worse is the fact that all of a sudden, the Martins lost their homes, nests, etc. It's as though Lowe's was just another predator. I really like Toy's idea about involving the media and think that a lot of animal lovers and other who respect nature would be infuriated to know what happened. Also -- may I make a couple of other suggestions? I would contact the Audubon Society, your state and federal wildlife authorities (didn't Lowe's violate laws designed to protect native migratory birds?), and local animal control (if destroying their homes and nests, maybe eggs as well, is not cruel, then I don't know what is). Seriously -- people need to know about this. I hope there is such a PR disaster for that @(#%)@($ at Lowe's that he ends up begging you and Bob for the opportunity to replace all the housing (for starters). As a small step toward atonement (and to avoid further damage from the PR disaster which I hope occurs), Lowe's also needs to donate about $5,000 to PMCA as a small step toward atonement for the damage done. Please let us know which store, because I want to call as well. Earlier today, I was at our local Lowe's purchasing plywood, a circular saw, a jig saw, a hacksaw, and a bunch of other equipment to make S&S traps. I am now tempted to take it all back because of this. That might mean having to drive to the closest Home Depot (in OKC, 85 miles away) to replace all the stuff, but this makes me mad enough to do just that. Lowe's actions in this matter are an obscenity and they need to pay! And no landlord deserves to be treated this way, especially such caring gentlemen who are so generous with their experience and expertise to benefit PMs and PM people. Please keep us posted on this situation, okay?
Nancy

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tonyg
Posts: 1520
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Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

Yes Steve, what happened to your housing? They throw it away? Give it away? I'm thinking you guys should raise some cain, and at least get you stuff back...and yes Home Depot will get my business from now on..boycott is on!!!
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

It's time to let corporate and the store manager know that some of us may no longer patronize their sparrow infested stores.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
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Tim Mangan-Kansas
Posts: 1728
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:25 am
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Martin Colony History: 2016 - 22 Pair

Steve:

Really sorry to hear this. I guess we need to add "humans" to the predator list.

Tim
Licensed Bander
2015 - 14 Pair - fledged 68
2014 - Moved to Kansas - 7 Pair, 35 eggs, 28 fledged in first year
2010 Thru 2013 - Moved-Tried to start new colony
2009 - 46 pair, 217 eggs, 178 fledged
Scott D.- La
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:35 am
Location: Louisiana

That's Corporate for you. No surprise really!
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

These people are not interested in things that do not make $$$ for them. Lets face it, most people could care less about birds. Some people even don't care what kind they have, they think that the little bitty sparrows are pretty, and that starlings are so smart and love them.

I like the TV idea, and stress that they did something illegal by moving the housing with babies in them. Killing baby birds sounds awful to people even if they don't like birds. The TV station may pick up on this if you could get a group of 5 or 6 people to go to the station to complain. It would help to tell the TV people that you had permission to put up costly housing there, but they tore it down anyway and gave it away without even notifying the owners. And they did it during the time that the birds were using the housing. Tell the TV people that you may take this to the wildlife authorities if they do not replace the housing immediately.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

We will try to get more information about what happened at our Lowe's colony site. Lowe's does have a central website where you can send them feedback about a specific store. That may be another way to share your concerns about the destruction of our satellite martin colony. Just Google Lowe's and go to the "contact us" section.

This whole episode has really soured me on establishing satellite martin colonies at businesses. You just don't know what can happen when management changes.

At least Lowe's could have kept our martin housing so we could use it again! The manager said they "gave it away". That could mean all kinds of things!

I edited the post to identify the Lowe's in Shreveport. It is the one on Alkay Drive.

That satellite martin raised MANY martins over the years and the houses would be COVERED with martins when we visited the site! A long time ago, Bob even tried to encourge Lowe's to use our satellite colony as a marketing tool to sell martin houses! Lowe's had a potential "gold mine" with our colony!

We appreciate all your thoughts and suggestions. We just hope all our other satellite colonies will not suffer the same fate.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
John Miller
Posts: 4779
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/section/Contacts

Steve

I live in fear of this sort of thing happening to me and every day I am appauled by the ignorance of many people, but my spiritis are lifted too by many good people who host martins.

Hang in there.

I sent one email to the news editor above. Suggest others do the same, focusing on the news staff. Lowes should be called out on this. My Lord, John James Audubon hosted martins in LA, but I'd imagine Lowes management is ignorant of this history.

John Miller
willbird
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:35 pm
Location: NW Ohio

There seem to be some confusion issues with mgmnt of any large retail outfit. Local district managers and store managers seem to get caught with their pants down by making and enforcing policies that are NOT corp policy.

I suppose this goes two ways, permissive and restrictive policies, only direct contact with corp will reveal which way the local and or district mgmnt erred.

But to me a colony of PM's is far less an issue than a gaggle of canada geese or other water birds we often see near the retention ponds that local codes require to catch storm drain runoff, or flocks of seagulls in the parking lots.
KathyF
Posts: 3522
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

I would be curious to know what the reasoning was behind 'corporate' wanting the colony removed....I can't even think what that might be, but still curious. I visited that colony once and the it was the one real attraction in the Lowes parking lot. :-(

I understand Steve will have to walk a fine line between not infuriating the Lowe's management, yet making his point and possibly re-establishing the colony. I don't know if you'd even want to re-establish it. Good luck Steve!

I think they should have at least given your housing back.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
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2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
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JL Murray

Makes me like shopping at Home Depot even more than i already do!
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