Purple Martin

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2118
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Most of the priceing issues has to blamed on be the cost of materials used to build these houses and poles, especially aluminum. Even wood stock is not cheap anymore. Any materials that people need and will pay for gets overpriced.
~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, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
AnnieM
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:57 pm
Location: Spring Branch/Canyon Lake ~ Mystic Shores, Comal County, TX
Martin Colony History: 2012 - 4 pair
2013 - 11 pair
2014 - 12 pair
2015 - 14 pair
2016 - Arrival Feb 28 - 17 pair
2017 - Full house for first time. 24 gourds all occupied. :-)

Chris,
As with all things in life, there's more than one way to get from point A to point B. Here's what I've noticed, as one member pointed out. In fact, I mentioned it to my husband a few days ago. After reading Forum stuff for three years now, it's apparent that many, many martin lovers also love the tinkering part. They love to go out in the shop or garage and design something, repair something. Some of us gals aren't maybe quite so handy (altho I can run the tractor with no problem LOL), so we have to find a way to encourage our First Helper.

I love the suggestions here...from buying neighbors' old stuff and recycling to growing your own to looking at swap meets to ??? Martin landlords will find a way. It's good here that for the vast majority, we all help and encourage each other. When one is ill, someone comes to help. When we're depressed over predator loss or wondering when our martins will return, we do our best to help each other thru accidents, lack of knowledge or any adversity. Maybe none of us will ever have a Jay Leno classic car collection, but we could probably restore just one car, if that was our love. So with the martins. We will never have a huge colony at our place, for several reasons. But the one we have will be loved and cared for as best I can.

"Beak up" as my sis is always reminding me when I start to go off on something. Particularly fitting in this case. :lol:
PMCA Member
2012 - 4 pair
2013 - 11 pair
2014 - 12 pair
2015 - 14 pair
2016 - Arrival Feb 29/17 pair
2017 - Full house first time-24 gourds all occupied :)
jeffwilliams72
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 am
Location: Indiana/Carthage

Sorry Stan, in 1840 America there were over 9 million farmers.
My statement stands true.
2008/1st pair/ 4 fledged
2009-2010 visitors only
2011/2 pr/9 eggs/8 fledged
2012/9pr/33 fledged
2013/27pr/101 fledged
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

I want to post at the topic at hand. Purple Martin products are high. And even bird feeders and bird seed the cost of it is crazy. You can buy a cheap s&k house but you will need to be handy and know how to resize the compartments. Because if you are going to attract martins it is your job to offer safe and adequate housing. And if your a young lady like my self and don't know how to break out the tools and get a winch a pole and build it. It is costly. My option is buying a rack and gourds to hang on it. But at all means never just letting nature take its course. In that case don't hang your gourds let nature takes it course by not offering any housing. Let them come to my house. I have 700 in each my bought racks with gourds. Steve, you are right. I am 34 and I don't know anyone my age in this hobby. And I started when I was in my late twenties. I am trying to pass it down. To my son. He has a lot to learn as so do I.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
MamaBruff
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: SW Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.

It looks like the recurrent theme here is what REALLY matters is the MANAGEMENT of the colony, not the cost of the housing. Like so many experienced landlords have pointed out, housing is not such an investment if you take the time to find or craft/build alternatives to buying new manufactured items.

I too, had sticker shock when I looked into purchasing my martin housing. (I lack the skills and tools to make my own) When we moved last year, in the back yard was a plastic martin house with round holes on a rigid pole, packed with sparrow nests. I knew that even if I got a different house with SREH entrances, I would still have to go up and down a ladder to keep it managed. Not for me. I recalled my Gramp who'd had a 12 room Trio house that was easily lowered with rope and pulley, and had individual doors. He successfully managed his little one house colony into his 90s. How long did that house last? It was in service for over 35 years before it was given away. What a bargain....

So then, what IS the actual cost of a hobby or activity that you enjoy? As much as you are willing to spend, of course...

Consider a nice bass boat and the truck to pull it with. Then buy the gas to run them... (then add the beer and fishing gear) $$$$
How about that big screen TV with a satellite dish or cable TV?$$$
Cheap cigarettes will run you about $1400+ a year.
You could take that same cig money and eat in a nice restaurant for $117 a month, or $29 a week on take out pizza.
That case of beer on the weekends can run you $800+ a year.
And what about the Trendsetter bundle (PMCA)? That $900 purchase should last 30 years if well maintained... $30 a year. SOoo worth it, IMHO.
A system just like my Gramp's runs $320 (PMCA). That's about $11 per year for 30 years, and only $32/yr for 10 years. Again, a worthwhile investment.

As for me, I'm planning to still be using my "Expensive" house when I'm 84, just like my Gramp and Gram did with theirs... that's MY hobby. 8)
~Mary B~

Lifelong PM Admirer and Nature Enthusiast.
Ruthless trapper of S&S year round.
2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

I was under the impression that Indians hollowed out gourds before farmers cleared all martin cavities. Hmm so I guess farmers were here before the natives. How many cavities where destroyed by farmers. Oh wait I read somewhere where the corp. Of engineers had a hand in it.
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

Mary, your post makes so much sense. We owned a bass boat, ski boat, etc. and they are very expensive compared to martin housing. Or even a vacation can cost much more than martin housing...I agree with you to compare costs, and martin housing is not that expensive, especially for those of us that spend hours watching them nearly daily
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

MamaBruff wrote: So then, what IS the actual cost of a hobby or activity that you enjoy? As much as you are willing to spend, of course...

Consider a nice bass boat and the truck to pull it with. Then buy the gas to run them... (then add the beer and fishing gear) $$$$
How about that big screen TV with a satellite dish or cable TV?$$$
Cheap cigarettes will run you about $1400+ a year.
You could take that same cig money and eat in a nice restaurant for $117 a month, or $29 a week on take out pizza.
That case of beer on the weekends can run you $800+ a year.
And what about the Trendsetter bundle (PMCA)? That $900 purchase should last 30 years if well maintained... $30 a year. SOoo worth it, IMHO.
A system just like my Gramp's runs $320 (PMCA). That's about $11 per year for 30 years, and only $32/yr for 10 years. Again, a worthwhile investment.

As for me, I'm planning to still be using my "Expensive" house when I'm 84, just like my Gramp and Gram did with theirs... that's MY hobby. 8)
AMEN, Mama! LOL - that was awesome! We asked my Brother-in-laws if they hunt deer, turkey, etc. because it was cheaper than buying meat in the store. They LOL'ed and said, "oh, heck no - it costs MORE, with license fees, guns, ammo, 4-wheelers, etc., etc., - we just do it because we love to do it.". They spend a small fortune on hunting every year.
Anyway, here's what I tell people: Tell your relatives that you want to put up a gourd rack and to buy you a gourd (or 2 or 3) for your birthday / Christmas, etc. presents. Or, buy yourself a gourd or 2 each month.
I wish someone had told me this stuff when I first started out.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

Hey chicadee, I agree with you about s&k housing. It works looks ok and the martins like it. But why can't you get it from the PMCA shop? Not good enough? Not showy enough. Not keeping up with the jones enough? God forbid anything sold at the PMCA shop would be inexpensive for the commoners.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Mary, so we'll put I love it. That's why I have not smoked the last ten years.lol) it is all in what you want to put your money in. And I do think the most important thing is hands down is management. Know matter what housing you have. Sparrow free and protection is most attractive.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
White River Valley Martin
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:18 pm
Location: Indiana/ Sandborn

Well, thats a deep subject aint it.

I sit here reading all these post from all the purple martin lovers. The reason why I am upset about the cost of these things is, that I have 2 T-14's that I built in my garage and I was wanting to take them down and replace them with good quality gourds and when I went to research ,the cost of them has more then doubled from when I bought mine.

As for the starlings, sparrows, snakes, coons and owls. I have never in my life had any of these things bother my martins that were in gourds. Trying to keep sparrows and starlings out of the T-14 is a whole different situation. Thats why I am getting rid of them.

And everyone on here know's that S&K, Heath and the other plactic cheap house's are nothing but starling and sparrow attracters.

I am currently 43 years old, and I can tell you that I spent many days as a young child sitting under the cherry trees and in the barn shooting starlings and sparrows with my red rider BB gun. Thats all I was allowed to shoot and if I would have shot anything else, my parents would have broke that red rider over my butt. That was back when what parents said went, end of discussion. I never heard my parents say " you better not ever do that again and ground me". Punishment was swiff, so I was tought to respect, love and honor without question.

Chris
2010 23 nesting pairs
2011 76 nesting pairs
2012 109 pairs, fledged 430 babies
2013 ??
MamaBruff
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: SW Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.

Thank you Emil, Kathy, and Chickadee! :)
~Mary B~

Lifelong PM Admirer and Nature Enthusiast.
Ruthless trapper of S&S year round.
2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Thanks Steve. And you are right I have always been a firm believer in gourds. But now I am established and weened out the trash birds. I figure it's safe throw up a cheap s&k house......nope not safe for a minute. I find sparrows and starlings flock right to them. Because these are the houses put up and left to go to a sparrow haven. But most of them over look my gourds.Chris, why would you want to take your T-14 houses down? I have wanted one of those for years. Hubby can't find the time to build it. And I promised I won't buy anymore expensive housing. But if he won't build it he will leave me with know choice. One will be here next week, lol I am kidding.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Stan, the PMCA sold S&K housing for a year, but did not continue after that year due to problems on the business end of things.

Absolutely people need less expensive options when starting out, particularly. Much of the cost increase for martin products comes from materials like steel, aluminum, and plastic increasing in costs. And shipping costs are a big part of it too - most martin products are oversize, overweight, or both - UPS, FedEx, and postal delivery costs have skyrocketed too.

Chris, I agree that starlings and house sparrows tend to focus on houses over gourds, but any landlord with an all-gourd colony will tell you they still have to control starlings and house sparrows, and protect their birds from predators like raccoons, snakes, and owls. Have you considered putting sreh entrances on your houses, if you are not using them now? that would at least help with the starlings.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Louise you are right. I am all gourd landlord I get some stray sparrows sometimes. But nothing like when I throw up a house. I take it back down. I fight the sparrows with my bluebird and tree swallow boxes. And it is best to start with cheap to see if you can do the hobby. I bought my first 12 set big Bo gourds and tri pole on ebay for 200. Lasted 2 years. Storm broke pole in half. I couldn't lower it. But I seen I could get martins and give them what they needed. So I spent my money on something I loved. And the baby went without diapers. Know I am kidding about the last part.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
White River Valley Martin
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:18 pm
Location: Indiana/ Sandborn

I guess my whole point here is.

If the price of good quality gourds and racks was more reasonable, maybe all these people who want to care for the martins, would not purchase a plastic house for them, they would buy gourds which are a whole lot easier and less pest to fight.

All those little run down martin house you see all over the place, Trio, heath S&K were bought for under 50 bucks by someone who wanted martins at some point and the sparrows and starling where more of a battle then they were willing to fight.

I can tell you last year I had 83 pairs of martins in gourds, with no problems from the pest because starlings and sparrows prefer house not gourds.

I also put 500 baby martins last year out into the world for other people to attract ot there home this year.
2010 23 nesting pairs
2011 76 nesting pairs
2012 109 pairs, fledged 430 babies
2013 ??
White River Valley Martin
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:18 pm
Location: Indiana/ Sandborn

Just thought I would post a couple pics of some of my martins from last year
2010 23 nesting pairs
2011 76 nesting pairs
2012 109 pairs, fledged 430 babies
2013 ??
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

White River Valley Martin wrote:Just thought I would post a couple pics of some of my martins from last year
I don't see them?
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
White River Valley Martin
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:18 pm
Location: Indiana/ Sandborn

See if these work
Attachments
Martins 001.JPG
Martins 001.JPG (110.09 KiB) Viewed 2406 times
Martins 005.JPG
Martins 005.JPG (116.97 KiB) Viewed 2437 times
2010 23 nesting pairs
2011 76 nesting pairs
2012 109 pairs, fledged 430 babies
2013 ??
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Nice! Looks like my back yard. I have 2 of those racks. I wish I had the house. My racks are caged inn. People ask me what it is ? They say it looks like something for nasa. Lol)
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
Post Reply