"Landlord" Question

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Posts: 415
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Missouri/Ava

Our Son and Daughter that are in their thirties as far as age both manage a small Martin colony. They have told me that their friends have no Martins and they don't really seem too interested in having them. This seems to be the case in the area of our neighborhood. I had Martins during their childhood and this is most likely why they became interested. My parents always had housing and usually some Purple Martins and I'm sure that is what peaked my interest. After leaving home and preparing for my career I was determined to try and attract these special birds wherever my teaching job landed me. Lucky enough to have Martins probably 20 of those 30 years. My profile tells more of the hobbie after retirement. So here is my question or thought. Would it be safe to say that 70% of the landlords on this forum more than likely are from families that hosted Purple Martins?
JL Murray

Last edited by JL Murray on Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:27 pm
Location: Holt, Florida

Would be interesting to see the results of a survey on this subject. One of the things that got me interested was that my grandfather had a house up when I was a kid. I just regret that I didn't get started sooner.
2010/2011: 0 / 2012: 8 Pair / 2013: 22 Pair / 2014: 35 Pair / 2015: 39 Pair / 2016: 73 Pair / 2017: 94 Pair
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

Only one in my family that even gives thought to birds. Had a pet pigeon while on a farm my folks had when I was 6 - 7. Developed an interest in birds from then on. Only decided to attract martins about 7 years ago in a location most of you would say not to bother with.

My colony may never grow beyond a half dozen but that is a half dozen more than most would have bet on. I could attract more in the front yard but it would be more difficult to control House Sparrows in the front. Out back I have cover.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:19 am
Location: Mississippi/Horn Lake
Martin Colony History: Since 2012

I'm the first in my family, but my mother raised me as a nature kid. I grew up learning to appreciate everything 'nature' and the love just continued to grow as an adult. I love everything birds, and after researching for a while, I decided to give landlording a try. It's so rewarding, and I even have my hubby slightly interested. I definitely plan to keep the colony going as long as possible and introduce our future to it as well when they come along. :)
Tiffeny N. - Horn Lake, MS - PMCA member
Since 2012
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
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..

First and only in my family..been doing it for the last 15 yrs.(I'm 58 yrs old).. :grin:
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!!!!!
Posts: 700
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:33 am
Location: Mississippi/Hamilton

I got started because my best friend died who loved martins. After his death, I became interested and found that I got hooked.
PMCA member
2015 - 18 Gourds offered - 12 active nests, 62 eggs, 51 fledged
2014 - 18 gourds offered - 12 active nests, 52 eggs, 48 fledged
2013 - 12 gourds offered - 9 pairs, 56 eggs, 52 hatched, 49 fledged
2012 - 12 gourds offered -4 pairs, 20 eggs, 19 fledged
2011 - 6 gourds offered -1 pair, 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 fledged !!!!
Posts: 166
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:05 pm
Location: Lone Oak, TX

As far as I know, I'm the first in our family to host martins. I'm loving the martin experience.
2014 - 50 pair, 206 eggs, 179 fledge
2013 - 36 pair, 176 eggs, 148 fledge
2012 - 8 pair, 21 eggs, 15 fledge
2011 - 6 pair, 15 eggs, 11 fledge
Jeff Robinson
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Rogersville, Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2008 thru Current
72 Cavities - 66 Pairs in 2017
PM Mentor

1st generation landlord here.

PMCA Member - Bedrock Colony
Posts: 2114
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

I remember as a kid my dad finishing the final coat of paint on a martin house, when he put it up the paint was barely dry and the martins arrived.

One thing is for sure, if your family didn't raise martins you probably saw a martin colony somewhere.. and you instantantly knew those birds were beautiful and very special.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair
John Miller
Posts: 4766
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

I think it's a genetic thing...might be identified by the letter P in those genome charts they make now..occurs in about one in ten people, but to be "turned own," it needs exposure to actual martins.
Peggy Riley
Posts: 885
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:21 pm
Location: TX/Tolar

I'm the first and probably the last!! My son is interested but his approach would be too hands off. Doesn't think trapping is required! He has one gourd I gave him that houses tree swallows and a blue bird house.
PMCA Member
2017 101 pair
Don Strickland
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Shady Point

My Uncle had an unpainted Martin House built from scrap lumber in the late 1940's. That's the only one I can remember seeing. My parents, my children, and grandchildren aren't interested, so I guess that makes me the only one out of four generations.
I enjoy them, and since I am retired, I can spend more time on the Purple Martin Projects. New T-14 project going on now.
Glynn B - LA
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Louisiana West Monroe

I too am the only one in my Family that gives a hoot about anything outdoors...... :roll: They don't even hear outside creature sounds if you know what I mean.... :???:

2019 26 pair 116 fledged
2018 20 pair 76 fledged
2017 19 pair 82 fledged
2016 13 pair 48 fledged
2015 3 pair 13 fledged
2014 1 pair 4 fledged
2013 2 pair 6 fledged
2012 0 pair
2011 0 pair

I don’t have the perfect site. One open flyway with trees within 80 ft. I do have a small pond they utilize during the heat of Summer. (2017) HEAVY HAWK PREDATION
Peter Alberda
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:09 pm
Location: Michigan, Zeeland
Martin Colony History: Started with Amish copy of Trendsetter 12 room house, added Trio Grandpa with expanded rooms, and North Star 8. Taking Trendsetter down this spring and adding gourd rack.

We didn't have martins at our home farm when I was a kid, but several of the neighbors did. My wife's grandparents had several pair in the sixties and early seventies and after he died, my father in law moved the house to his place but only raised starlings and sparrows. He gave the house to me when we got married, but all I raised was more of the same. Soon thereafter it started to fall apart so I took it down and burned it up.

My sister had martins back in the seventies when they bought their farm. After a couple years, the sparrows and starlings owned it so they took down the house.

It's a shame they didn't have good housing as I am sure they would have had better luck. As I remember, the old people had no choice but to try to shoot the trash birds and since they were often away at work, they lost the battle.

I do thing martins have a good future right now. We have the traps, openings, and shared knowledge base which should stack the deck in the martin's favor. Even those of us in Michigan have a good chance at becoming landlords.
2015-2020 A few lookers....Might have a pair.
2014 - ASY male and SY female fledged four chicks.
2013 - Several visitors but none stayed to nest.
2012 - Lots of visitors all season long. We had a pair of sys but no chicks survived.
2011 - New location - A few visitors
2010 - First year – Poor house location.
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 2:12 am
Location: Baton Rouge/Louisiana

First person in family to have Martin housing also. I seem to recall seeing some houses along canal banks in my hometown, but never knew what they were. Strange, as I would have imagined my Dad would have enjoyed having a house and we had the perfect set-up along a canal. He passed when I was 18 and this is one of many conversations we can't have.

On a brighter note, my daughter is very much involved and assures me she will have houses when she grows up. :grin:
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 am a 3rd generation landlord; and I have a brother who also hosts a colony. I know our interest came from my Daddy's colony, and his interest from his Father's. What I remember is how little they knew about the beautiful birds for which they provided housing. My sister-in-law told us that the solid black ones were the males. We were astounded! And I was instantly hungry for more. My thanks will always go to the PMCA for this website and all the information they provided me through the years. My personal hands-on education came through years of nest checks and trial and error... lots of error... Hopefully, the experience you will all find here will prevent you from duplicating all those errors!

Good luck for a great Purple Martin season!
Posts: 415
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Missouri/Ava

Thanks to everyone so far for your input to this thread. I will have to say that I am somewhat surprised at the results of this quest as I really expected that most would be generational landlords. Maybe various advertising and sites like the PMCA has helped to create interest in this wonderful project to host the Purple Martin. I have also seen in some stores that sell housing the somewhat false info. that Martins will eat every mosquito around and some have actually started hosting martins for this reason. Whatever the reason, I'm glad to see these wonderful birds flourish.
Matt F.
Posts: 3894
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Great thread Keith!
I'm the first in my family to get the Martin "bug".
When I was very young, there was an elderly couple that lived next door.
They built, and erected, a large, wooden Martin house, that I was able to see from my yard.
It quickly got Martins, and I was immediately enamored with them.
Have had a Martin obsession ever since.
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

I am the first in our family to even consider having birdhouses. However, I had friends, several had purple martins. When I worked in South Louisiana, I saw martins under the canopies of service stations, I decided to try to attract them to our house, and it was easy to get martins there. I built my first plywood house with 9 compartments, they all filled the first year. Our new subdivision had no trees, so the martins loved it there.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
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