Greetings from Northeast Houston

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kgwaguespack
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:54 pm
Location: Texas/Kingwood

Hello everyone - I'm new here (thanks for setting me up Louise) and thought I'd do a brief intro. I live in Northeast Houston in a residential area and am trying to start a new colony. The PM house came to me used and appears to be an earlier generation of a Nature House 12-room set up (pulley and rope system). I tried last year with no success (but did inadvertently attract a pair of blue birds!). This year I have a couple of decoys and plan on playing some dawn song tunes.

I had started a previous colony in the same general neighborhood about two miles away. In 2002, I built a wooden house and put it up in a fairly tiny backyard. I was concerned about the spacing between it and trees, etc., but was able to attract a nesting pair without much trouble. Flash forward to now.

My backyard in this house is a good bit bigger so I thought I would have martins in no time. So last year's failure was a disappointment.

Question: I think I am planning to open the house this weekend. I know that it appears to be a long shot to attract more mature birds, but I know there is an area less than a mile away which seems to have a lot of martins. Any strong opinions about whether to open the house now or wait until, say, early March?

Thanks,
Kevin
2002-2004 - Newbie; fledged a few martins
2005-2012 - dormant/moved residence
2013 - no success
2014 - second attempt; no dice
klcretired
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hi Kevin
Welcome to the Forum , You should open a few entrances now as the Martins will need a warm place to spend those Cold Nights Plus they depend Heavily upon Us for Housing. I read your Bio but you did not mention what entrances you have on your housing?? along with adding the Decoys and Playing The DawnSong do you have any S & S Traps?? to rid yourself of those Trash Beaks?? will you be there to monitor your housing or do you work and will be gone most of the Day??
I read you were disappointed Last year, Place your Martin Housing in the center most part of your Yard away from Trees where the Martins will have Fly Lanes try and post some pictures of your location and setup, if you don't know how to post pictures email me I can give you simple instructions, my email address is at the bottom of this message.
You can go to the URL Below to see the scout reports as to where the Martins are near your Location , just click on Texas when the page opens

http://www.purplemartin.org/scoutreport/
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

K.C.

klcretired@tx.rr.com
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

It's actually not a "long shot" to attract mature birds. The big thing is to only open early if you can keep the starlings and house sparrows out. You will NOT get martins if House sparrows and Starlings are in residence. If your house is open and available.. good things will happen. If you can post up a photo of your setup.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
kgwaguespack
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:54 pm
Location: Texas/Kingwood

Thanks for the quick responses. I don't have much of a starling problem - but the sparrows can be an issue. I've already got a sparrow trap at the ready and a pellet gun. The holes are....well, I'm not sure. They're not perfect circles, but are not full SREH either. But, again, not too much worried about starlings. The pole is already sunk in concrete so that thing isn't going anywhere else. I picked the spot that was furthest away from trees, etc, and not too close to house. Not ideal, but should be ok based on my last experience.

I've read a lot and started a small colony previously, but trying to get back into it again. I guess I was too lax last year as I figured attracting the martins would be easy.

Kevin
2002-2004 - Newbie; fledged a few martins
2005-2012 - dormant/moved residence
2013 - no success
2014 - second attempt; no dice
John Barrow
Posts: 948
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Hi Kevin and welcome to the forum.

Not only will occupancy by starlings and house sparrows in a purple martin system limit your chances of getting martins to nest, but so will bluebirds that take up prior occupancy in the system. You mentioned that you attracted bluebirds to your residence last year, but were not specific as to whether they nested in the martin house.

It is possible to have both species in your yard and much has been written about this. I would direct you to the archives tab at the top of the page for much good information. Here's a link to the protocol of hosting martins, bluebirds and tree swallows at a colony location.

http://www.purplemartin.org/forumarchiv ... rategy.htm

There are lots of martins in the greater Houston area and some very learned landlords who will assist you in your efforts. We wish you much success.
~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
kgwaguespack
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:54 pm
Location: Texas/Kingwood

Thanks, John. The bluebirds had just started nesting and I relocated it to a newly-installed blue bird box. However, they didn't follow-up on that. So, I'm hoping that, this year, any blue birds will see that nice little cedar (or whatever) box, that is about 30 ft away and go there.
2002-2004 - Newbie; fledged a few martins
2005-2012 - dormant/moved residence
2013 - no success
2014 - second attempt; no dice
Roymg
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:05 pm
Location: Covngton, La

kgwaguespack wrote:Thanks, John. The bluebirds had just started nesting and I relocated it to a newly-installed blue bird box. However, they didn't follow-up on that. So, I'm hoping that, this year, any blue birds will see that nice little cedar (or whatever) box, that is about 30 ft away and go there.
Blue Birds can be pesky around Martin houses. I try to keep them off the Martin house using scare tactics. I have installed a couple blue bird houses to encourage them to move on but they are kinda fickle birds. They lay eggs but haul out later with out following through. Nice birds though.
Gobbler T
Posts: 1518
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:13 am
Location: Mississippi / Columbus

Welcome Kevin
DornCounty is right. My first pair (last year) were adult birds. So you never know. Good luck.
Tony


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