When to Take Down House?

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Guest

Can anyone help me in deciding when is the right time to take down my PM house? I still have a few martins that come back to sleep at night, but they are becoming fewer every day.

The only reason I'm asking this is because the sparrows think it is their turn to move in. They keep building nests and I keep shooting them and tearing out the nests. I would like to put my martin house back up next year with a few less pellet dents. If I keep the house up too much longer I'm thinking the sparrows will start to believe it is theirs, and when I put it out next year they will be the first to move in. I'm also suprised some of the martins still sleep there with the sparrows moving in. Interestingly, the sparrows don't stay at night...yet, but they're there first thing in the morning.

The sparrows just don't get it. It's like if you kill one the others say thank you and move into the same house. It seems to be never ending. I'm glad I didn't have this problem when the martins were laying eggs and the babies were little.

Any ideas on what I should do?

Glen
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Hi Glen.

The sparrows come in waves. When they have started nesting elsewhere - they leave the PM housing alone. When their young have fledged - then here they come back again. Seriously, you might consider trapping rather than shooting, before you destroy your PM housing. Let them build their nest - then, put a trap in it and catch them. It works very well...

Do you know which cavity the PMs are still returning to? I was going to suggest plugging all other cavities - but, I don't think that would work. The sparrows would start building a nest in the still PM occupied cavity. Maybe you should plug every cavity - and just unplug the one the PMs are using in the evening when they come back. Then each morning - after they leave - plug it back up. They don't return to the cavity except to sleep at night.

They will only return for a few more days. My fledged families usually come back for 7 - 10 days. Then, they are gone...
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

So, when would be a good time to take down the house...after they all leave even for the nights? This month, next month, ???

Glen
apundt-TX
Posts: 983
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas
Martin Colony History: :
Starting over in 2018
9 pair 2017
17 pair 2015
12 pair 2014
8 pair 2013
5 pair 2012
2 pair 2011

Since I do not have birds yet we are both just starting out. I plan on closing up most of the holes in order for some of the southbound martins to check out my site while on there way to Brazil. About the middle/end of August I will start to take things down.

Now if I had an established site I would take the house down after the last nest fledged which is about now in our area.


A.P.
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

I'm sorry, Glen - I forgot to say: You can take your housing down as soon as the last Purple Martin from your colony is gone for good. I see no reason for the landlord of an established colony to leave housing up in an attempt to attract PMs passing through on migration.

The PMs from all your local colonies have already been by and discovered your site. PMs from areas far from your site will find your colonized site next season if they are looking for a place to call home.

Have a nice quiet off season - and best wishes to you for many great Purple seasons in the future!
Sincerely,
Laverne
Sparky
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:04 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

I've done it a couple of different ways once the last martin leaves: For one, I plug all the compartments and leave the house up. Or Two, I plug the compartments and leave the house at 1/2 mast or all the way down. Then in September-October, I disassemble the complex, houses and gourds for cleaning and maintenance when it's somewhat cooler. It's way too HOT now for all that cleaning mess and stuff! LOL :lol: What can I say, I'm a transplanted Yankee. You would think after 26 years of these summers, one would get used to it.
I'm a "nestcamaholic" Is 18 hours a day a bad thing? (I have 2 this year, luckily I have 2 eyes!)
CUL Lou~Mich

Glen. You don't say what kind of housing you have. However, if it's got big enough apartments to put in a Universal Sparrow/Starling Trap, I'd do that. (I believe they are around 6 1/4 by 6 1/4 by 6 1/4, but could be off a bit. I can measure them if you'd like.) I'd trap all winter if necessary, so the PMs wouldn't have to fight them in the spring. I have a North Star wooden house which has 7x11 rooms. This gives me way too much room for the USTs. I took some 2x4s and ripped them lengthwise the correct size so I had one on each side of the USTs so the door was lined up with the house door. I also put in a piece behind the UST so it kept the trap out front against the house door. I've caught way more English House Sparrows than I would have imagined there were in the neighborhood. I had NO idea there were so many around. After all, I trap, and shoot them all year, and have for 30 plus years. Anyway, these two traps have caught over 40 Starlings, and around 20 EHS. I think it's the best money I've spent in years. ha ha. Anyway, if you have trio mussleman houses, then you could buy yourself a couple of SD-1s which are pretty much EHS specific. IE The hole is too small for PM, or Starlings. Anywho, Personally, I'd leave the housing up, but close all the holes except where you have traps. The EHS will be all over them. Good Luck, CUL Lou
Sparky
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:04 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

Glen,
Yea, CLU Lou has another good idea. You can utilize the housing as traps and like he said plug the compartments that don't have traps. I've personally have traps all over the place, I didn't think of this. Great ideas, that's what this forum is for!
I'm a "nestcamaholic" Is 18 hours a day a bad thing? (I have 2 this year, luckily I have 2 eyes!)
Guest

I have a 6 room Coates aluminum house with SREH. This is the 3 story jobby with the entrances and the nesting area divided by a piece of aluminum with a hole in it. The front door of each room swings up so you can see the entrance room and the nesting room.

I don't know what kind of trap would fit into one of these houses. What do you do with the birds after you trap them?...kill them or take them somewhere far off and release them?

Do they make plugs for the SREH or can I make the plugs out of something? Any ideas?

What would be the disadvantage of just taking the house down and putting it back up next spring? There seems to be a lot less sparrows in the spring when the martins are coming in. I see a lot more this time of the year. I guess what I'm asking is if I take it down now and put it up next spring, will the sparrows flock to it right away since they knew it was there the year before?
apundt-TX
Posts: 983
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 7:34 pm
Location: Dripping Springs, Texas
Martin Colony History: :
Starting over in 2018
9 pair 2017
17 pair 2015
12 pair 2014
8 pair 2013
5 pair 2012
2 pair 2011

What you have is a Coates Watersedge 3 stories high. I use a pool noodle to block up the cresent entrances when I had sparrow problems in the spring. You should buy one now as march time they are not available in a store near you.

What kind of pole do you have it on?
Sparky
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:04 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

g,
You might check out the smaller trap in the PMCA store. I'm going to check it out myself as I have the Coates houses as well except they are the standard ones modified to 6" X 12", But they are not 6" high as the 2 Troyer T14 traps that I have won't fit. I believe the trap in the store is a 3" X 3", but I don't know how high it is.
I'm a "nestcamaholic" Is 18 hours a day a bad thing? (I have 2 this year, luckily I have 2 eyes!)
Sparky
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:04 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

Aw crud! I just checked it out, it's 4-3/4" each dimension, but will not work with metal houses with crescent or excluder entrances! I'm "excluded", pardon the pun! LOL. :lol: It appears to be the opening height that won't work in the metal houses. I thought of getting the metal T-14 trap and cutting it down, but that will require some metal working. I think it would be easier than the wood ones which I have 2 of. I'll be doing that for next season. Now it dawned on me why I didn't have a compartment trap this year.
I'm a "nestcamaholic" Is 18 hours a day a bad thing? (I have 2 this year, luckily I have 2 eyes!)
ldybala
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 1:32 pm
Location: Texas/Houston

I've used the UST successfully in my Coates houses with crescent openings. I doesn't look like they will work, since they don't line up nicely. I was replacing the crescent doors with doors with round holes and putting the trap in (as the PMCA UST description says that they will not work on crescents), but someone on this board said that they would work. I catch as many sparrows with the UST and crescents as with the UST and round holes. And when I use them in crescents when Martins are around, I don't have to worry about Martins getting trapped.
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

ldybala wrote:I've used the UST successfully in my Coates houses with crescent openings. I doesn't look like they will work, since they don't line up nicely. I was replacing the crescent doors with doors with round holes and putting the trap in (as the PMCA UST description says that they will not work on crescents), but someone on this board said that they would work. I catch as many sparrows with the UST and crescents as with the UST and round holes. And when I use them in crescents when Martins are around, I don't have to worry about Martins getting trapped.
...and that is a great idea!

Thank you very much!
Sincerely,
Laverne
jonkertb
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: Coatesville, IN

I leave mine up year round and use them to thin the EHS population!....I have very llittle competition when the PM are here because the sparrows have all gone away by then. For my houses I made little cages from hardware cloth and a front that has "the door" that trips when they enter. This fits behind the doors of my Coates and My Trio Castle. I can just glance up to the openings to see if the doors are closed. Off season I use large openings on my "cage" and during the season I use the small 1 3/8 so all I get are sparrows as the PM can't get in. Work on lowering the sparrow population instead of the house! By the way....anyone have a good sparrow soup recipe? :lol:
2004 3pr 13 f 2005 18pr 80 f 2006 36 pr 138 f
2oo7 38 pr 176 f 2008 41 pr 154 f
2009 51 pr 209 f 2010 61 pr 247 f
2011 124E 122Y 55P so far

2 Sweet 16s SREH homemade
2 Trio Castles converted 24 into 12 w/porch dividers + SREH (for sale EOS )
1 towering "20" 76 total cavities
Guest

Thanks for all the tips.

What do most of you do with the sparrows after you trap them?

Glen
Guest

You uh, ahem, er, kill them. However you see fit. There are lots of ways that I beleive are humane. Most folks around here are getting skittish about this subject-and it has been addressed ad-nausem. Feel free to email me if you like if you really need to know how to dispatch them. It's no fun but necessary.
Jschneider
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:37 pm
Location: Beaufort, NC

Question: All my PM have fledged and have not seen any for 2-3 days. A potential hurricane is predicted for Monday so I took down all my houses and gourds. Tonight I saw a single PM on a perch. Would you recommend putting houses back up or is this PM just a traveler.
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