Very late this year (me, not the martins).

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Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Apologies for my late segue into the forum this year.

To briefly catch up, our school colony appears to have endured the late spring this year unscathed, although this far south we did not have the prolonged killing temperatures that must have been experienced further north.

The big "event" this year has been unprecedented starling pressure. In mid April three pairs in rapid succession invaded three Troyers with slightly enlarged Conley 2 entrances. And then in the space of a single week and a half I trapped out and killed twelve starling from just those three gourds. I have since replaced those entrances and the starling wave appears to have passed.

Five pairs of sparrows trapped and tail-clipped this year, one more recent gourd invasion, entrance trap set even as I speak.

Me and my students have been doing nest checks for the past four weeks, here's a pic a young man took yesterday (EVERYBODY has a camera on their phone now, and they all have phones).

Image

An SY female. I haven't sat out in the evening to determine the exact composition of the colony yet but we appear to have a lot of SY's this year, especially females. Likewise gourds from which sparrows and starlings were evicted have been rapidly occuppied by martins. We have only two "empty" gourds at this writing (ie. no nesting material added) and both appear to have picked up interested male martins in the last week.

Likewise, riding my bicycle into school pre-dawn I'm hearing quite a lot of dawnsong over the neighborhoods.

As of today our colony looks like this:

For our forty-nine gourds:
202 eggs among thirty-four nests.
28 young among six nests.
Six finished nests, no eggs yet.
Two gourds with no nest material added yet.
One sparrow nest.

At this point the martins appear to be doing fine. The oldest brood of nestlings hatched five days ago, five more broods hatched over the previous 48 hours, many more are due next week.

Our average clutch size, just about six eggs per nest, is very good for our colony relative to other years. How many hatched young survive to fledge though remains to be seen. Since we started keeping records in 2002 the best predictor of fledgling success has been the rainfall over the previous fall and early winter. We were pretty dry this time around.

Good to see so many familiar people posting :cool:

Best Regards,

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
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.

Mike,
I was about to inquire about you. Glad to have you back on the Forum.
I have mentioned you several times in my posts over the past year. All favorable.
We needed an SA update from you.
I still look at some of your pictures of sad sites in SA.
How does the Trio house on the school grounds with the martin on it supported by a piece of lumber look now? Gone after that one season?
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.
mikeinkaty
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:54 am
Location: TX/Katy

Without looking I knew you were from Texas based on the leaves in the nest. Then I looked at the top left of the page and sure enough!
Mike
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.

Mike,
They look like Texas live oak leaves to me.
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.
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