Time Warp!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
RANDALL RAY
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:39 pm
Location: IL/Milford
Martin Colony History: My father who has passed almost 40 years ago had a very large colony of Martins. A storm blew over his houses and he passed shortly after and I did nothing about fixing or erecting houses again until this spring of 2019/

I'm very new here to this forum but in no way new to Purple Martins. If you have some time, please read thru this entire post. Because my jourmey here has taken 32 years.

To begin with my father was a Purple Martin landlord when I was in my youth, This was before the internet (I'm 53yrs old now) or easy access to keeping in touch and learning from others as it is here now. This period of time was back in the early-mid 1970's. My father loved to build in the wintertime when farming wasn't being done and one winter he built a 16 room 4 story martin house in hopes of attracting them.

He erected a steel pole with guy wires and had the house up in mid march and soon he had a few pairs. The next year the house was completely full so that winter he deicided to build another house,this one being of a diffrent design than the first and was only 2 stories and had 16 rooms as well. I remember it was a very large square that had a big overhang for shade and the cupola on top was designed to allow ventilation thru the middle of the house where the pole was and each room he had maybe a 1"x2" opening covered with hardware cloth to allow airflow in each compartment.

The first year this hause was up,along with his original one,he attracted 8 more pairs,giving him a total of 24 breeding pairs. By his fourth year all 32 holes were full and the farmstead was full of martins.

My father passed in 1982 and that spring we had a tornado come thru very early and took down and ruined both houses. My father didn't have time to build anymore before the spring planting season on the farm and then his untimely death in July of that year,the Martins were forgotten about.

Over the years when I see a martin house I remember back on how anticipated my father was each spring for their arrival. When the males would sit on the electric wire coming to the light pole and would sing,and to watch their arial dances as they went after insects. I realized I too miss them.

Fast forward to this past x-mas at my aunts house and she says she had found some old records and drawings my dad had made and would give them to me.

She finally got around to mailing them to me last week and what she found brought back great memories and a tear to my eye. My father had made very concise drawings of each of the two martin houses he had made and there was also a plan that he must have made after the spring tornado came and took down both of the ones. That house was never started. Also there was records of each year of the number of adults that nested here and a record of how many young was raised thru the season.

My father also leg banded some of these birds and I'm sure he was not aware anyone else was doing so, especially back then. But in particular one male he banded the very first year when only the first few pairs came to the four story house continued to come back for 8 years. He banded the female that he paired with on the second year of the 4 story house when it became completely full and she too came back at least 4 more years. She only paired with that first banded male 2 years and the two years paired with another male.

His records are unique because what he was doing back then now seems common practice in what I've been reading here. He cared for his birds and brought both houses down twice each week for recordkeeping and checking the young. He was very vigilant about warding off starlings and kept the entrances closed until he first spotted scouts in the spring,then if they built nests inside he would immediatedly clean them out. Now I know why he also kept a .22 rifle with a scope next to the door.

I always loved these birds. I guess I'm a birdlover by heart as we raise peacocks here numbering about 100 breeding pairs. But the front yard where my fathers 2 martin houses were along with the power line is still relatively unchanged over the past 32 years and last spring I'm very positive while at home for lunch one day in mid April,I spotted 2 male purple martins on the electric wire. No house for them to check out and I'm sure they moved on and I didn't see them again.

I have the last house plans my father made plus the drawings of the first two houses I remember we had. I think it's time Purple Martins made this place their summertime home once again. I'm not a carpenter by trade but can get by when wack'in up a 2"x4" with a circular saw.If we remember the movie "Field of Dreams" and the phrase "Build it and they will come"? I think it's time for me to "build it" so they indeed can come.
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Nice story Randall, very special! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
Waydog
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:08 pm
Location: Alexandria, La.

That is a great post. Build it...for your father. Your reward will be very heart warming. You'll see your father in a unique way...his housing, and the pms will reward that. Great read...post pics of the housing...well be looking for them!!
2012 -first year landlord.... 2 pair, 9 fledged.... 2013- 5 pair 20 fledged..
2014- 8 pair 32 fledged
Matt F.
Posts: 3896
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Welcome aboard Randall!
Great post about your dad, and his colony.
He was definitely a master, Martin landlord!
It will be great to see the house you're going to construct as well.
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 Randall, Great Story, of course I hope you get to build your Dad's Houses again! I'm sure you will, But if you have the Time, you can always get a pre made House and/or Gourds from The PMCA's shop, it has fine examples of each! & I 'm SURE the Martins wouldn't mind, Just incase you may not have the time to finish building the house for this season, Good Luck, Anthony
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

RANDALL RAY wrote: "Build it and they will come"? I think it's time for me to "build it" so they indeed can come.
Great read Randall.

When do you plan to start working or rather cutting and whacking?

This is my first year/attempt. I hope there are Martins in my area.

What size house are you doing?

Tim
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

Great story and good luck!! I do think its time for you!! You have many years left ahead of you to enjoy this great hobby of martineering, and I'm sure it would make your Dad proud!! :)
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
Don Strickland
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Shady Point

I enjoyed the story Randall. Now it's time to get out the saw and build one for your Dad....
Don
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.

Randall,
I really enjoyed your story.
Not only did I read it through, I read it several times.
If you share the plans, we might be able to help you with modern improvements that even your father will approve of (I know he is gone but he is definitely in our thoughts and therefore with us in spirit.)
In the meantime, I agree with those Forum members who recommend that you get some kind of housing up for this season. PMCA has great starter housing. Your father did his first house before he expanded his colony.
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 Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Randall,

Welcome to the Purple Martin Forum and thank you for your wonderful post!

I still remember my first purple martin house built by my Dad way back in the early 60s! That wooden house was loaded with purple martins but the house was on a stationary pole and so difficult to monitor!

We will look forward to reading more posts from you about your purple martin plans. And you might even consider trying some of the plastic gourds offered by the PMCA. The Troyer Horizontals, Troyer Verticals, Super Gourds and Excluders are outstanding plastic gourds and I have many in my current martin colony.

Thanks again for your post and good luck with your martin plans for 2015.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2121
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Nice post Randall
I was about 4 or 5 when my dad built a martin house . I can still remember the nice coat of fresh white paint. The paint was barely dry the evening he installed it on top of a pole near our chicken coop There was a lot of excitement the next morning when martins arrived to check out the house. In the following years the chicken coop became a favorite spot to watch the martins in action, I often climbed up on the roof to get a close up view.
~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
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 :-).

Hi Randall! I enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing it. I am confident that if you build it, they will come!
PMCA Member
_____
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

Great story Randall, now get to work. when that first Martin moves in you will be so glad you did.

Best of Luck;
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
MamaBruff
Posts: 1466
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: SW Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.

Great story, Randall! Best wishes for re-establishing a colony in a proven location! :grin: Your father would be so very proud!

( Tick Tock! )
~Mary B~

Lifelong PM Admirer and Nature Enthusiast.
Ruthless trapper of S&S year round.
2013-2016 Unsuccessful at starting a PM colony. Health problems.
Rehomed all my PM stuff. Good Luck and Best Wishes to All.
avesrun
Posts: 1113
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

Thanks Randall for sharing your story. What I find impressive is that your father had the wherewithal to build a martin house that could be lowered for upkeep during the nesting season. It seems most martin houses erected in those years were placed on poles that required dangerous ladder climbing, hinge mechanism that required entire pole to be dropped/leaned down, or where house was not be taken down at all between seasons.

I have a guy that lives up the road from me in his late 50's/early 60's who has a similar story. His father built a martin house and had martins for several years and then his father passed away two years ago. He did not put up the house (which is on a hinged pole ) and really missed having the martins around. I will be helping him this spring put up a new pole with cable and winch and am trying to convince him to get a new house with larger nest cavities and a predator guard for the pole to keep out snakes, coons etc. This is very important and all landlords should assume they have every kind of possible predator around that could cause nest failure and worse losing a colony. In fact, this neighbor remembers one year when their martins disappeared mid season and he recalls finding raccoon feces on top of the house when they took it down in the Fall!!
Anyway, best of luck in your future martin efforts and I truly believe yor father's spirit is with you all the way!
Tim
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Prs.!
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair, fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
RANDALL RAY
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:39 pm
Location: IL/Milford
Martin Colony History: My father who has passed almost 40 years ago had a very large colony of Martins. A storm blew over his houses and he passed shortly after and I did nothing about fixing or erecting houses again until this spring of 2019/

The last set of plans my father had made was for a 50 room 5 story house. Four compartments each lined up 8" wide by 6" high and 12" deep. Same on opposite side. He had one compartment squeezed on each opposite side which gave an opening for the pole 1/2" on each side and 2" on each of the other walls.

Each floor had a total of 10 compartments. Each opening has a 4" porch. per say with a sight barrier between each opening extending to the very edge of the porch.

It has a very large overhang of the roof which was typical with the other two houses he had built to offer shade. It also has a cupola on the roof that offers ventilation down the pole opening in the middle of the house as before.

Dad also had plenty of perch space around the edge of the roof and on top of the cupola. I'm a great fabricator and welder and making a pole that will be capable of raising and lowering this enormous house will be easy for me to do. But for the size of this house I need a table scroll saw and a table circular saw to cut the big floor pieces. Don't think my attempt with a hand held circular saw would do good enough on this project.

I can easily cut the boards with the dimensions he has laid out but when stacking compartment walls on top of each other as the stories goes up I'm a little confused how to make them solid since you cannot drive a nail directly into the compartment wall thats on top,all would need toe nailed.

Dad would use wood putty and sand to super smooth on the outside then treat the wood,then paint it. On his second 2 level house he took fiberglass matt and resin and laid 2 layers of this down before he applied paint to keep the roof from ever warping.

I'm no carpenter and it may not be near as ornate as what my father had built but I think I will try and begin in a few weeks Theres an old saying,carpenters calls their mistakes scraps? Others calls it wasted trees.

I may try to upload a picture of his drawings later so all can see them but the paper is faded so I can always re-draw on graph n paper which is darker and would show up better here. I will try to do this over the weekend for imput on his idea for this big expansion of a house.
GeneP
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:35 am
Location: Kansas, Lawrence
Martin Colony History: 1 gourd rack with 24 gourd capacity. 2018, my 11th year hosting martins.
18 pair in 2017.

Sounds like your father was ahead of his time. Thanks for sharing.
PMCA Member, Single Gourd Rack, 2019 marks 12 years hosting martins.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1883
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

Randall --- First of all, welcome to the forum...

Wonderful story.... Many of us here have stories just like your.. So glad to here yours. My Father also built Martin houses when I was young and I could hardly wait for them to return each year.. Build it, for yourself and your Father, they will come..

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
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

Hi, Thanks for the great story. I can't wait to see your house when you are finished. I bet those male Martins are coming around just waiting for you to give them a new house, who knows maybe your dad sent them. Good luck with the build :grin: . Send lots of pics.
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

4th Gen Martin Fan wrote:Randall,
I really enjoyed your story.
Not only did I read it through, I read it several times.
If you share the plans, we might be able to help you with modern improvements that even your father will approve of (I know he is gone but he is definitely in our thoughts and therefore with us in spirit.)
In the meantime, I agree with those Forum members who recommend that you get some kind of housing up for this season. PMCA has great starter housing. Your father did his first house before he expanded his colony.
Mark.
Wow,

Does your user name indicate your really a 4th generation; whose been PM'ing their whole life???
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