Another Tree vs. Martin House Question

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BIOteacher012
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Montello

Hello Everyone. Some of you might remember my discussion in the fall of having to move all three of my martin poles in about 8-10 feet so that they were inside my lot line and not hanging over the cornfield edge. Last year was my first year, ending up with 4 pairs of martins (one pair in my S&K barn, two pair in my gourd rack, and one pair in gourd hanging on my T14. I did move the poles only after the martins left for the season.

Just to ease my conscience today, I took my measuring wheel out to recheck my moved distances. When I measured the gourd rack and the S&K barn from our clump birch tree, which is about 30 feet tall and about 10 feet wide, I came up with the following measurements: The S&K barn pole now measures 38 feet from the trunk...but only about 33 feet from the outer canopy edge of that tree. The gourd rack measures at the correct 38-40 feet from the birch. The T14 pole measures about 38 feet from the trunk of a nearby flowering pear, but only about 35 feet from the outer canopy edge of that tree. The flowering Pear (Bradford Pear) is about 18 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

So......if the measurement from each pole to the tree trunk is correct, but the measurement from the pole to outer canopy edge is short....is this going to be a problem for my returning martin pairs? I didn't have much of a choice with moving the 3 poles in. I might also add that I switched the gourd rack and the S&K barn around to make the placement fit better in my yard. So, the barn is now where the rack was and the rack is now where the barn was. Hope I don't confuse the returning martins too much. These two systems are about 30 feet from where they were after switching around. On the opposite side of the lot line is a wide open corn field.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!!
BrianT
2017 38 nesting pairs, 181 fledged
2016 22 nesting pairs, 113 fledged
2015 20 nesting pairs, 91 fledged
2014 10 nesting pairs, 49 fledged
2013 4 nesting pairs, 15 fledged
2012 Lots of lookers but no nesters
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Brian,
I probably will a lot of criticism for my comments.
I have noticed more problems from Bradford Pear trees than they are worth.
I will admit that the Bradford pears are a fast growing tree with pretty blossoms in the early spring. The problem is that these trees are susceptible to large limbs breaking. The wood is very hard and brittle. The limb crutches are very narrow and therefore weak. By the time they are the size of your tree then they will start to break and make a very ugly and misshapen tree. My neighbor just last week had 3 large Bradford pears removed professionally because of these issues. Our suburban town has banded landscapers from planting these trees because of the widespread problems they create for the town. Branches falling on the streets and damaging cars and blocking roads. The town cannot afford to pay for the cost to remove these Bradford pear tree limbs every time a wind or storm blows through.
It is your tree and you should do what is best for you. I have not even discussed the effects the tree has upon your purple martin colony. I will leave those comments to senior, more experienced landlords who are more competent than me.
Mark.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
BIOteacher012
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Montello

Curious about the measurement part of my question.

As far as the pear......it may not be of the Bradford variety. It is a flowering pear of some variety. It seems very sturdy and compact......and fairly slow growing so far......but we are in sand country and things are quite sterile here.
BrianT
2017 38 nesting pairs, 181 fledged
2016 22 nesting pairs, 113 fledged
2015 20 nesting pairs, 91 fledged
2014 10 nesting pairs, 49 fledged
2013 4 nesting pairs, 15 fledged
2012 Lots of lookers but no nesters
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Brian,
Sounds like I was misdirected in my response.
Do you want me to delete it?
I will if you want me to.
Mark.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Steve Martin
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:38 am
Location: Tx/Bastrop

4th Gen Martin Fan wrote:Brian,
I probably will a lot of criticism for my comments.
I have noticed more problems from Bradford Pear trees than they are worth.
I will admit that the Bradford pears are a fast growing tree with pretty blossoms in the early spring.
Well, I spent about 2.5 years working in a garden center. After talking to many people it is my understanding that even though a Bradford Pear pear is not a fruiting tree, you must prune them and water them the same way that you would do for a fruiting tree. They are just as susceptible to drought as a fruit tree, and they do not grow a tap root like oak trees do. If you keep the tree maintained it should not off limbs in a storm. In essence you will have to do just as much work as growing a fruit tree, you will just not get to enjoy the fruit.

I tried to explain this to the customers, and there were other low maintenance trees [after the first year of watering] to choose from. But in the end, most would just stick it in the ground and let it go. Some watered it enough to keep it alive the first year, but then after that they would let the branches grow crazy and the first big storm would knock it down. Oh well...
Bulldog1
Posts: 700
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:33 am
Location: Mississippi/Hamilton

My experience with Bradford Pears was that I had more than one break off at the bottom of the trunk. A Bartlett Pear grew out of the stump. It seems nurseries had grafted Bartlett Pear roots due to the Bartlett's superior and deep root system. The graft point was inherently weak.
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 !!!!
BIOteacher012
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Montello

Thanks for your thoughts Mark. You don't have to worry about deleting the reply. I used to work in the landscaping business and totally understand your reasoning.

My question was centered around whether my new pole placement is going to be okay for my returning martins based on distances from the tree canopy to pole versus measurements from pole to actual tree trunks. If anyone cares to respond to that part.....I am interesting in hearing thoughts.

Thanks
BrianT
2017 38 nesting pairs, 181 fledged
2016 22 nesting pairs, 113 fledged
2015 20 nesting pairs, 91 fledged
2014 10 nesting pairs, 49 fledged
2013 4 nesting pairs, 15 fledged
2012 Lots of lookers but no nesters
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Brian,
I was hoping that other veteran landlords would chime in on your original question.
I do not see a problem with the measurements which you have quoted.
I think that your numbers of nesting pairs from 2012 to 2013 speak for themselves. If your numbers double or more this year then you know that you are okay.
Otherwise, I know that you are wise enough to change one of the variables in your setup.
You know what my variable I would be changing.
Disregarding a disaster this year, I hope that you meet or exceed your goals.
I suspect that you will get more responses to your topic if you post a picture of your site.
I can tell more about a site from a picture (and especially an onsite visit) then any dimensions and description.
This winter I removed 2 maple trees from my site to improve its sky view appeal to the martins.
Now I will see if my changes improve my number of nesting pairs this year.
Mark.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
BIOteacher012
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Montello

Thanks Mark for your kind words. I will see what the weeks and months ahead bring for my young colony. If I get energetic......I may post some pictures in the future. I know that pics are worth a million words.

Thanks again for your thoughts and advice, and good luck to you and your growing colony.
BrianT
2017 38 nesting pairs, 181 fledged
2016 22 nesting pairs, 113 fledged
2015 20 nesting pairs, 91 fledged
2014 10 nesting pairs, 49 fledged
2013 4 nesting pairs, 15 fledged
2012 Lots of lookers but no nesters
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2118
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

The trees are a little close but I don't think it will bother your returning martins. You only moved your poles 8-10 feet so they are familiar with the trees. The only exception would be if you have heavy hawk pressure.
~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
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