Should we plug up and hope for next year?

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We've been working on our purple martin house for the last couple of months. We've been doing our homework and we've learned a lot along the way.

We had 3 units with babies. It looks like one nest made out with 2 babies that fledged (the other 2 were not as fortunate). The other units were well on their way.

We noticed this weekend, however, that the purple martins were no where to be found. During our nest check, we found that all units with PMs were empty - dry as a bone. The heat has been killer here in TX (HELLO - welcome to July, bleh!) and we thought that the PMs abandoned ship. However, the evidence leads me to believe that an owl attacked at night.

Many lessons were learned this season ... like I always say, next year we're going to be kick butt PM landlords (KBPML for short).

Our first step to KBPMLhood was to pull all of the sparrow nest that remain in the house (I know, I know!). HS are nasty, nasty, nasty birdies! Unfortunately, we accidentally pulled out a nest with very young babies (oops!). I guess this is our way of keeping HS population down. But, out of guilt, we kept 2 units open with HS babies. We'll keep our eye on the nests and once they are out, we're pulling their nests, too.

Once we pulled the nests, we plugged up the holes. Was this a smart move??

After the HS overhaul, we jumped in the pool and ritualistically looked up to see if our PM friends were flying around ... they were. Next year, folks, next year!!

Happy 4th and thanks for all of the guidance.

:shock: Don't plug up yet! If it was me, I'd keep the sparrows out, put up an owl guard and keep the house open. I'm in Texas too, :oops: and still have birds in my housing although its so HOT!! The martins are still around scoping out housing for next year and sometimes visiting or sleeping in housing that is open until they migrate. If the owl thinks he can get more to eat there, he'll come back every night. If the martins get raided too much they may not come back.....I read something like that in the archives under the top 10 reasons people lose their martins.

From my experience, if you plug up where the sparrows were, they will just take over the martin compartments..... you really should trap and/or destroy the sparrows until the house is closed - especially the males.

Sorry to hear about the owl and sorry if I sound too strong. :-( Just hoping you have a successful end to this season and better than ever next season.
CUL Lou~Mich

Kellyannut. You really need to get rid of those other HS babies. No one should ever allow EHS or EuSt to live in their PM housing. CUL Lou
John Barrow
Posts: 940
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Hello friends from Texas,
I am afraid the martin season is over in Texas---we saw our last new arrivals along the coast in mid May. You may or may not have martins in your house next season, but one thing is for sure--if you allow house sparrows to successfully nest in the house at any time--they will be back. I have fouund martins in southward migration to do little house searching. The local fledglings might for another week or two. I, like Emil, am in the process of pulling down, cleaning, de-bugging and storing my housing. I have only two active nests left out of 85 or 90. Everything out of their way is coming down. And keeping starlings and sparrows out of my vicinity has allowed a birder's haven.

Keep reading and learning and best wishes in the years ahead.
John Barrow, Corpus Christi & Port O'Connor, Texas

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)

Hi there, as the season is at a close for our area, we will be taking the gourds down, cleaning them up very well, and then storing them for next year. We always have the repeating trap in hopes of gettng any sparrow we can. ridding our area of sparrows and starlings is a year long endeavor, but it is one that must be continued if the martins are to stand a chance to prosper while here in the Good ole USA. Please keep up on the ever constant knowledge that is here, as well as other wonderful sites dedicated to the martins. It is only with the sharing of our love of them, that we will all be seeing "purple" for many more years to come.
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hi KellyannUT,
Don't plug your housing, some Traveling PM's may need a Place to rest,
Please give your Martins a chance by taking care of those HS's now and stay after those sparrow Nasties, i know you probly don't want to hear it but it's the only way to help the PM's and their survival in the future, if you don't want to do it yourself ask someone close to your area to come over and help you out on this, i'm sure any landlord would be glad to help you.The reason i'm saying all this is I lost my colony and had to start over from not doing what i needed to do and it was a very Heart breaking thing to come home and find what i found,it's something you don't get over easily if you care anything at all about the Martins and i don't want you to have to experience it.If there's anything that we as Landlord's can do to help just let us know.
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,

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