bluebird questions

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Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

This fall I have had a couple of pairs of eastern bluebirds roosting in the martin house (the martin housing is lowered but not closed up). I plan on adding a bluebird nest box this spring. How far from the martin housing should I place the bluebird box? Will the bluebirds readily accept the new nest box? I am assuming my returning martins and the bluebirds will coexist...any advice?
Craig Dyer
Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

They will coexist! I have a BB box about 60 feet from my Martin housing. This will be my fourth year with Bluebirds. I've had many checking out the box recently too.
PMCA Member
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Don Strickland
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Shady Point

I have BB boxes on the same pole as Martin house....About three feet below bottom of martin house....They raised young in it last season. Several other BB boxes on individual poles scattered around also. I don't know if they would nest in the same house that martins use. I have 6 boxes with BB size entrances.
Don
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

I'm with Chuck on this one. They do coexist! My BB house are placed 35 feet to the sides of the gourd racks, however the perches above the gourd racks belong to the Martins. lol

Image
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
Gauxt
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:03 pm
Location: Louisiana/Prairieville
Martin Colony History: Started 2007
2013 1 Pair
2015 2 Pair
2016 4 Pair
2017 12 Pair
2018 15 Pair
2019 15 Pair

A couple more questions on bluebirds box locations.

Distance from ground to box?

Near a fence, either wood or chainlink?

Near bushes?
2010-0
2011-visitors
2012-visitors
2013-1 pair
2014-0
2015-2 pair
2016 4 pair
2017 12 pair
2018 15 pair
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.

Gauxt,
Jose exemplifies the perfect environment for bluebirds. He has the nest boxes mounted on a pole by itself with predator guards on the poles. They are widely spaced and they are near a "meadow" area. The pasture for cattle will provide plenty of ground insects where the bluebirds feed.
The nearby fence will provide a perch from which the bluebirds can look down on the ground for insects.
I presume his success with bluebirds and martins is that the bluebirds established in the bluebird nest boxes first before the martins arrive. When the martins arrive, they take up residence in the gourds. In his setup, they coexist.
Heaven help Jose if the bluebirds take up residence in the martin gourds first. He will have to work hard at coaxing the bluebirds away from "their" home.
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.
Courtney-NC
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Martin Colony History: 2009-2015-Helped to manage Raleigh site, 36 cavities
2016- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 1 pair at home site.
2017- 34 pairs at Raleigh site, 3 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2018- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 5 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2019 - 32 pairs at Raleigh site, 7 pairs at home site, 2 pairs at new Holly Springs park site

If you do not have an established martin colony, you need to watch the bluebirds carefully, as they can and will take over martin housing and chase martins away from it. If the martins already have an established colony there, then there is less to worry about as they will defend it. However, the bluebirds in my area are pretty aggressive and I have had to put their box 75 ft away from the martin housing so they would not try to claim it. (They were even defending the perching rods and not just the housing, and made quite a nuisance of themselves). If it were me, I would not let them roost in the martin housing; I would plug it up and let them roost in their own bluebird box. However, 'your' bluebirds might be a little more mild-mannered than mine.
8)
-Courtney
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NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
http://www.ncpurplemartin.org
threelilkids
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:11 pm
Location: Denham Springs, La
Martin Colony History: 2014 1 pair 3 hatched 3 fledged
2015 1 pair 5 hatched 5 fledged
2016 1 pair 5 hatched 4 fledged
2017 2 pair 8 hatched 8 fledged
2018 4 pair 15 hatched

I have a BB house 40 feet from both my martin houses. Last year was my first year to get Martins but I have been getting BB's for 6 years now :grin: everyone getting along just fine.
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

I agree, ours get along fine also, but the Martins do not play with their perches/homes. That's their territory. :grin:
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

These two guys are trying to get the same girl shown at bottom. It's funny how they try to call her in the BB house today. You have to love the sound the BBs make. So peaceful. They were eating while I was putting pine needles in our gourds today. I usually carry my camera with me when tending to the backyard.

Image
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
Gauxt
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:03 pm
Location: Louisiana/Prairieville
Martin Colony History: Started 2007
2013 1 Pair
2015 2 Pair
2016 4 Pair
2017 12 Pair
2018 15 Pair
2019 15 Pair

Good info, thank you all. Blue birds were perching on the PM racks so I put up a box 40 ft away and plugged the PM holes for now.
Not an established colony. One nesting pair 2013 and did not return 2014 so I'm still trying. Thanks again.
2010-0
2011-visitors
2012-visitors
2013-1 pair
2014-0
2015-2 pair
2016 4 pair
2017 12 pair
2018 15 pair
Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

My thanks too for the advice. I will have returning martins this season, but I will plug the martin house entrances for now. Probably a good idea anyway to keep the house sparrows away. Hopefully the blue birds will take up residence in the new BB box. Great picture of your blue birds Jose!
Craig Dyer
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