New Member with some questions

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David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Hello, I am a new member to here, but have been trying to attract martins for 10 years. I started by building a 14 room house with plans I downloaded from the Internet. These were bought plans, and very easy to follow. There were four individual houses, 3 openings and 4 openings that tied together with thumb screws and bolts. It rode on a rectangular pole 14" high cemented in the ground. It also included plans for nest boxes which I placed in all.
I believe the gentleman that posted this is well known, I just can't remember his name, but I believe he is from PA. also.

This looked great when finished and painted white. It was situated in my backyard which is wide open and approx. 40 yards from my house and 125 yards away from a neighboring pond. No trees around house.
The first year up, two sub-adults were perched on top but did not use house. At this time my neighbor up the road put up gourds and he had a few pair use them his first year. Now going on 10 years with same house, no martins, neighbor filled up his 12 gourds and bought more and put up another pole.
Last year on the bottom of the house I put up 4 gourds, one on each corner and had 4 pair use them. I had blocked the entrances to the houses to keep the starlings out, when these martins showed up I opened the 4 bottom openings and within a day the starlings started to build nests. I cleaned them out and closed them up. I decided this year 2014, that I would make changes and use all gourds and take down the old house. I bought 16 gourds but only going to use 12 as the poles I used for hanging them are 4 feet long and hanging 4 gourds on each, they will hit each other in a windy day.

I guess my question is, will taking the house down, deter any of the returning adults to come back even though they did not use it?
The new gourds are Natureline II, with the snap in door and take off cap to look in.
Thanks, David
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Sounds like a T-14 house, developed by Andrew Troyer. Is this it? http://shop.purplemartin.org/T14_Wooden ... -list.aspx

Why not change the house to have starling-resistant entrances? You can get them for the Natureline gourds, too.
MingjoMartins
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:28 pm
Location: Pataskala, OH

David -

It sounds like a T-14, if it is they are wonderful houses. If I were you - I would simply buy the Starling Resistant Entrance Hole (SREH) replacments - available in the PMCA shop, and convert the T14 from round hold to SREH, they are very inexpensive.

I am also a big fan of SREH gourds - and would replace the gourds with SREH gourds as well - not having to deal with the drama of Starlings makes this hobby so much easier and enjoyable.

Best of luck to you in 2014!!

JohnM

P.S. - Even if it isn't a T-14, it doesn't matter I would still purchase the SREH replacment plates just to get rid of the starling drama.
2013 - 37 pair-179 eggs,142 hatched,139 fledged
2012 - 32 pair-163 eggs,141 hatched,134 fledged
2011 - 19 pairs - 78 fledged successfully!
2010 3 pairs - 9 eggs - 8 fledged!
2009 - 1 Sub Adult Male (only) - LOTS visitors
2008 - 58 Visitors by year end
2007 - 13 Visitors by year end
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Thanks to everyone answering. The name Andrew Troyer sounds familiar, and yes, the link shown is the house I built. I had put tabs over the existing holes to make the entrance smaller to keep the starlings out, but the martins still would not go in, they would look in, but not go in. Sparrows would go in and make nests. I just got tired of them also, and put the nest boxes in backwards to stop them from coming.
In 2013 is when I hung the gourds on the bottom and attracted 4 pairs and I am hoping now that by taking the house down it will not deter the adults from coming back.
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.

David,
I admire your woodworking skills that you were able to build and erect a T-14 house.
I think that Andy Troyer's design is excellent.
I wish that we could see the entrances which you have. I am curious about the tabs which you mentioned.
Before you remove the house, I wish that we could see a picture of your entrances.
I am sure that someone on this Forum will be able to make some suggestions on how to exclude the starlings and allow the martins full access.
Of course, you will have to continue to battle the English House Sparrows (HOSPs).
I feel that an excellent plan would be to offer both gourds and the T-14 house with some simple modifications.
I love the description of your site.
Mark.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:55 pm, 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.
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Mark, thanks. I always loved woodworking and since retiring and moving here in 2002, I have a full shop in my walk-out basement, so this task of building this was easy enough.
I was not able to put a picture of it up before because of it's size (resolution) but have changed it. I will get a photo of the openings which were 2 1/8" I believe and the tab was a piece of aluminum that was 1"x2 1/2" and had a hole on each side to fasten it to the house to only expose 2/3 of the hole. Unfortunately, the sparrows still came.
Attachments
Martin 14 home
Martin 14 home
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MingjoMartins
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:28 pm
Location: Pataskala, OH

David -

In my early years of trying to attract martins - I was convinced they "could not" get into the SREH. All that they ever did was look in and could never seem to get into the entrance.

Being the ever tinkering type landlord that I am, I switched to round holes on some of my housing. And guess what!! I got birds that year......3 pairs and 2 extra males - all in SREH entrances.

I was convinced they were trying to drive me crazy!

Hopefully you can post a picture of your entrances so the member of the forum and take a look.

Whatever you decide to do, wishing you the best of luck at growing your colony in 2014.

JohnM
2013 - 37 pair-179 eggs,142 hatched,139 fledged
2012 - 32 pair-163 eggs,141 hatched,134 fledged
2011 - 19 pairs - 78 fledged successfully!
2010 3 pairs - 9 eggs - 8 fledged!
2009 - 1 Sub Adult Male (only) - LOTS visitors
2008 - 58 Visitors by year end
2007 - 13 Visitors by year end
RJM
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Mechanicsburg

David
I started with the T14 as well. I have crescent openings, and have had no issues with starlings. I added 8 gourds a few years ago, and finally hosted 4 pair 2 yrs ago. They started in the gourds. Last year I increased occupancy to 14 pair between the t14 and gourds. My advice is in line with the other folks. Change the openings to be starling resistant and keep the t14. It's a great house.
Trying since 2006, started hosting in 2012
T14 with 4 THG and 4 modified SG's
Gourd rack with 3 TVG's and 3 modified SG's
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Also, the starling-resistant entrances won't help with house sparrow problems, only starlings. Since house sparrows are smaller than martins, they can get into any entrance that a martin can use. So trapping and/or shooting are best way to remove that problem.
Hanover Bill
Posts: 615
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Hi Dave;

My experience seems almost the polar opposite of yours. I started with a plastic S&K house with 6 gourds hanging underneath. It took me three years to attract visitors with that set up, but it seemed as if putting up a T-14 house such as yours is what put me over the top last year, in my fifth year.

My Martins preferred the T-14 to the gourds. I had 2 nesting pair which fledged 9 babies, both nests were in the T-14. This is no doubt one of the best Martin houses available, so don't get discouraged with it.

I would highly recommend the Excluder II entrance plates. They were recommended to me by some of our excellent Western Pa. landlords, and they have been great for me. The Martins showed no hesitation in using them, and the Starlings simply cannot breach them.

Your house, location, and set up all look great in the picture, just hang in there, I'm sure you will have success very shortly.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Connie
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:05 pm
Location: WALKER, LOUISIANA
Martin Colony History: Had my site up to 22 gourds of which most (+/-3) stayed occupied.
Downsized to 17 gourds due to back surgeries. Had 14 families in 2017 but did not do nest checks due to health. Feeling better in 2018 and hoping for a good year.

David,
What a great site!! Love the rainbow, cool effect.
Welcome to the forum. As you can see everyone here is great and love to help.
I only wanted to say, in answer to your question, yes even if you took the house down the PM's will still come. Since they nested in the gourds I think they would not care if the house was not there.
Now, that doesn't alter the fact of what everyone else is saying:change your entrances you will not have starling problems. I think PM's will eventually nest in your house. But taking it down will not stop them from coming.
I only wanted to answer that particular question because I saw where you asked it twice.
I definitely wouldn't give up on the house. They will eventually use it too!!
Connie
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.

David,
Your site looks like Martin Heaven!
Now I am convinced that a change in your entrance holes will stop the starlings and give the martins the security from starlings they want and need.
As I mentioned earlier and Louise reinforced no opening will exclude sparrows and allow martins in.
I drew out on a piece of paper what I think that you did with your openings and I am curious about an opening which will allow both starlings and sparrows but be difficult for the martins.
I know that was the opposite of your intentions. A picture of your current entrances will help us immensely. Do not be reluctant to share. I share my mistakes so that others will learn.
I feel very confident about the flush to floor crescent, Excluder, Excluder II, Clinger, and Lewis SREHs.
Many others will voice their opinions. That is the beauty of this Forum.
Eventually you will decide for yourself.
Ready made entrance plates are available which would allow a Master Joiner like you to get that T-14 ready in one day or less.
I would like to hear later this season how your site is full to the brim!
Mark.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:56 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.
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Connie, Mark, everyone, thanks for your input on the T-14 house and to Connie for answering my question.
This would have been it's 11th year, and I did start with the tabs a few years ago and became frustrated because only sparrows would go in. The martins for some reason in this area like gourds and this was proven to me by the neighbor's filled gourds. which I can see from my house. There was also a gentleman about 2 miles away that had the same T-14 house, and he finally got discouraged with starlings and took everything down.

The one big thing is, the house needs repair, the section facing north is badly rotted and the eastern most one is getting there. I should have built it from cedar, but at the time, the closest lumber yard didn't carry it and I didn't want to make it our of pressure treated, so made it out of # 2 pine. I have taken it down and apart and will repair it but not in time for this year. I will see how the martins react to my gourds this year and hopefully by next year will have additional housing for them. The T-14 is a good looking addition to the landscape. My wife loves the look of the traditional one with the two stories but again, is a sparrow and starling magnet.
I will keep posted as to what comes and if any sub-adults use the site also.

This is a very knowledgeable site and I am glad that I came across it.
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.

David,
Connie knows that I can get too enthusiastic and lose sight of the original question.
To answer your original question, the purple martins will come to your site.
How can they resist that place?
Are you referring to Western Cedar when you say cedar.
Here in the South, most people speak of cedar as Eastern Red Aromatic Cedar which I understand is really a juniper.
I guess that quarter sawn cypress is not a good idea for a martin house. Or maybe availability and cost are the problem.
Too bad #1 yellow pine is no longer available.
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.
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Mark, I did mean Western Cedar. The trouble with using it, is that you need to seal the wood so that it can be painted. Also I had repaired two of the roofs on my T-14 and used a type of Trex, that was 3/4" and painted it white. It was originally grey and was used for desk sides, etc. Heavy but good and will last for-ever.

The gourds I bought have the round hole. I had looked at my neighbors and he has the round holes and I only saw one sparrow using a gourd, but as stated the will get into anything a PM can use.

The four gourds I had hanging from the bottom of the T-14 I had purchased from a gentleman that had many, many gourds and the old type 2 story PM houses and they were full. I didn't see any starlings in his old fashioned houses, but he must have had 70-80 gourds if not more. They covered the perimeter of his corner property. He said he got the gourds from a woman in Georgia because the thickness was at least 1/4". He put the hole and the hanging holes in and painted them white.

I looked on here for the Scout reports to see if he was listed, I forgot his name but would know the location if he posted it which I did not see at all.
He had told me back then that the adults would return around April 14th to our area. For a couple years it was within a day or so of this date, and one year they came here in late March, we had a bad rain sleet storm and a few of the neighbors gourds came loose from the rack and they blew down to me. I went and picked one up and inside were some PM's that were soaking wet. I took the gourd into the basement and put it in a large plastic garbage can (clean) that I use for wood scraps. I covered the top with a towel and let it be for a while. I checked back on them a few hours later and by this time they were dried, I thought there were 4 in there but there was 5 but it was dead. I waited until the neighbors got home and brought the gourd with the birds inside (after I covered it so they could not get out). I checked a few days later and they said they were fine.
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.

David,
I wish you had been around to collect some of the 1" X 6" cypress fence boards that my mother in law took to the street when her fence fell down. I keep a few of the boards to make bluebird houses. The rest went to various local woodworkers I contacted. In the end, none of that wood went to waste. That wood made the best bluebird houses I have ever made. 20 years later, those bluebird houses are still good. Weathered but sound.
I guess I could get a local saw mill to make me more but I suspect they would charge me a fortune. I always worry that the wood is not harvested in the winter and is not allowed to cure properly.
You sound like another purple martin hero from that story.
I thought you were going to say you retrieved the empty gourds and returned them to your neighbor. Great story.
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.
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

That was a great story although too bad for #5. I'm glad you had your first birds last year! You have a kind heart and your colony is in good hands. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Hey David, if you put up a 2nd pole for the other gourds, great! You should have at least 3 poles in that great looking place there! (I'd double post / pole the base) Make your place a 2+ pole colony and look busy and "they will come"! Pm plastic decoys wo'nt hurt either . Hang in there, Good luck! Anthony
jeffwilliams72
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 am
Location: Indiana/Carthage

David, Great looking site, Good Luck!
2008/1st pair/ 4 fledged
2009-2010 visitors only
2011/2 pr/9 eggs/8 fledged
2012/9pr/33 fledged
2013/27pr/101 fledged
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Jeff thanks. I sure hope that they do not show up this week, it is cold and right now snowing and 34 degrees.
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