I think we are now landlords!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
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karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Hi!
We moved our Trio castle this year to a new location on our property with greater open space, cleaned it out, painted it all white, put SREH openings on the house, and added 4 Troyer horizontal gourds with Conley openings hanging underneath. We had already done the modifications to make the apartments twice as large, reducing the total from 24 to 12 (closing off 12 entrances). Put 2 fistfuls of pine needles into each gourd and house apartment.

We opened the house the first week of May. Used the Dawn Song CD for first week starting at 4 am each day. PMs checking out the gourds within 2-3 days. House check from 2 days ago shows 1-2 eggs in one gourd! And today it looks like we have 6 pairs at the house - maybe more. The Martins are coming and going from to the gourds (they took to them first), now they are figuring out the house apartments!! :lol:

They don't seem to be staying overnight at the house yet. Do they stay after more eggs are laid? Any tips?

This is SOOOO exciting for us. Had the house up in the other location for over 10 years with no luck. The PMs seemed to really be drawn to those gourds, and love the new location!

We are setting up Blaine's sparrow trap end of this week. Have one male house sparrow trying to attract a female and a few starlings occasionally - we want to get rid of all of them.

Karen Sheehan
Haymarket, VA
------------
2015 one nesting pair?! Moved house, added gourds, changed entrances
2001 Trio castle - no takers
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Karen,
Congratulations. Location is key, as you now know. Assuming that the eggs are martin eggs, the female will be spending the night. They may be coming in at dark and you are missing their arrival.

The eggs should be all white, no other colors, no speckles. Watch that gourd to make sure the martins are entering. Sparrows are devious but you should be able to tell the difference between a neat martin nest and the cavily filling mess that sparrows construct.

Good luck.

Ed
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Thanks for responding! The egg is all white. No messy sparrow material, just the pine needles and some green leaves they added. No evidence of sparrow mess in any of the gourds or house apartments.

Does the female stay at the gourd by herself at night, or is her mate there also, maybe outside?

Do we need to keep nest checks to only every 3 days or so?
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

With multiple pair possibly accepting your site, I would do every other day checks to determine when the first eggs are layed. For example, if you check on Monday and there is no egg and on Wednesday check the nest has two eggs that would mean that it was laid on Tuesday. They lay one per day. You determine hatch date based on the last egg. I count use 15 days from the date that the last egg is laid.

Watch for green leaves being brought to the nest. It usually precedes egg laying. I assume you have a supply of oyster shell availsble for the hen. She will need it to replace the calcium used to produce the egg.

I am sure others have suggestions also.

Ed
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

We'll do a nest check now. Oyster shells in something on the ground at the base of their setup - or on their porches?

Thanks - Karen
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Finished nest check. There were 6 martins at the house. They circled around making noise while we did the check. Unfortunately, the one gourd that had an egg now does not have an egg. A male was on the porch of this gourd before we lowered the house, but no female with him. And there were some long pieces of grass in the gourd along with green leaves. So perhaps a starling or HOSP got into to the gourd and removed the one egg? No evidence of it on the ground. We had observed male and female PM pair at this gourd, bringing green leaves.

There were green leaves in one more gourd - and some long grass leaves in one other.

No evidence of starling or HOSP stuff in any other cavities. We left dried egg shells and oyster shells in a ground feeder at the base of the house.

Hope we haven't scared the PMs off and they will keep working our site. We should have the sparrow/starling trap in place by end of week.

Karen
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

This is exciting. Give them time and I bet they will lay more eggs. I place oyster and egg shells in a bare earth area about fifteen feet from the pole. I used to place on porches too. The year I started putting out shell I noticed the eggs were less translucent and more viable. It makes a difference. The pair both spend the night in their compartment. Usually the males tuck in last. Sounds like you are on your way.

Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
Don~VA
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Virginia/King George
Martin Colony History: Had a colony many years ago which dwindled over a couple of years and then did not return. Kept trying each year for almost 20 years and finally had a small success in 2011 with two pairs nesting. Colony has grown slowly each year with 22 pairs in 2015. In 2016 my gourd rack of 18 gourds filled up so I added 4 more gourds and then put up a small rack of 6 gourds. All of those were claimed within a few days so I believe I have at least 25 pairs this year.

Hi Karen and Welcome to the forum :) You have come to the right place for information, answers, and tips. It sounds like you are doing every thing right to attract Purple Martins especially adding those gourds under your PM house and modifying those compartments. I to made many changes and moved my housing several times over the years. Finally got it right I guess and had 4 or 5 pair over the last several years. This year has been a banner year with about 20 nesting pair. Be very vigilant of predators, especially snakes. A predator guard and snake netting will save you from a possible disappointment. Best of Luck!
Don~Northern Neck of Virginia-PMCA Member
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Thanks Don -

We'll get that netting added today. We have it and it has ensnared rat snakes in our garden shed. Didn't think we would need it with the house way out in the open - but will add it tonight.

Also received the sparrow trap today and will be getting that set up before the evening.

There are many more martins coming and going. Looks like one pair has a fully matured male! Saw that pair bringing in nesting material yesterday and today. We'll do a nest check later today also and advise.

Thanks -

Karen
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Great update Karen!
That is exciting news about your new Martins!
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Update:

No Martin eggs.

Sparrows had filled one gourd and two apartments with junk. Cleaned out all. Set up sparrow trap.

Martins are still active. Hope to get those sparrows removed in next day or so.

Any suggestions or tips?

Thx - Karen
patw
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:40 am
Location: NJ/Farmingdale

Karen I see you have the blaine, you do know troyer has single traps for there gourds right? I have both and when a sparrow shows interest in a gourd I put the trap in and monitor it, if I leave the house I remove that trap so I don't catch a martin and not be around to free it.
good luck!

pat
2013 1 pair 4 fledged
2014 4 pair 17 fledged
2015 10 pair 44 fledged
2016 22 pair 95 eggs-most fledged
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Hi folks -

We have 4 martin eggs in the first gourd the PMs were attracted to!

Also some green leaves in one of the apartments. No sparrow mess in the other three gourds, but sparrow mess in 4 apartments, which we removed.

We have had the Blaine sparrow trap set up for 4 days but no takers. I had put some sparrow nesting stuff in it and around it, and followed all directions. Added the nesting stuff we pulled today all around it on the ground. We will move the trap to underneath our bird feeder and hope we catch a decoy that way.

Martins were right back to the house after we put it back up. Had eight PMs circling in the air while we were working the house. Sure some other pairs start something.

Karen
------------
2015 - one nest with 4 PM eggs in gourd!
Moved house, painted all white, added 4 Troyer horizontal gourds underneath - all has SREH openings
2001 - Set up Trio castle - no takers
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Sure "hope" some other PM pairs start something soon!

Karen
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

5 PM eggs now in the gourd.

Sparrows only set up nest in one apartment with 2eggs. Pulled that out.

Still haven't trapped any sparrows. Moved the trap near the bird feeder. Going to bait it with bread pieces and put other feed around for native birds and hope that makes it less formidable.

Two other PM Martin pairs hanging around the gourds/house. One apartment one pair has been going in and out of had lots of green leaves.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Karen, many here can advise you that pulling out house sparrow nests with eggs is risky - it can set the sparrows into a revenge mode where they enter martin nests and destroy eggs. If the house sparrows rebuild, let them lay eggs and then trap them (unless you can get them in the bait trap - during nesting season in-cavity traps can be a better option). Is shooting the house sparrows with a pellet rifle an option?

Here are the traps for Troyer Tunnels, which (the tunnels) work on Troyer and other brands of gourds: http://shop.purplemartin.org/Troyer_Tun ... tails.aspx

For the Trio Castle, this is a wonderful trapping option: http://shop.purplemartin.org/Spare_O_Door-details.aspx
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

Karen,
Yay for the eggs and more green leaves!

Louise is right. I have had pecked eggs. What I started to do until trapping, (I have one insert trap), is poke a hole in the sparrow egg. Then replace it to the nest. Not of course if I am using it for bait in the insert trap. I will switch compartments when successful. This way I know I have rendered the HOSP egg useless but don't pull the nest to set off rage. I also shoot sparrows since I am out in the country but I am finding time wise the trapping to be more successful.

I added additional perching rods to my house secured with zip ties. I use a corner of the cut off tie to puncture the HOSP egg.

Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

The good news continues! :grin:

A second pair has taken up residence in the house and laid 3 eggs in a compartment, the 5 eggs in the gourd are being diligently incubated by the female, there are still other Martins hanging around, no eggs have been pecked.

We installed the SparO door trap on the compartment being used by the HOSP this morning since we will be here all day today - will check shortly to see what has been trapped. That HOSP pair have eggs in that compartment and are very present.

Thanks to EVERYONE for guidance and support! This is such a nice feeling to see that we have been doing the right things and it is paying off. :wink:
Karen

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2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities/nests with 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nests with 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nests with 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nests with 6 fledglings (painted house white, moved house and added gourds)
2001: Trio castle - no takers for years
karensheehan
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 pm
Location: Haymarket, VA
Martin Colony History: 2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities - 16 nesting pairs - 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nesting pairs - 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nesting pairs - 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nesting pairs - 6 fledglings (moved 12 cavity house to front with better flight area, painted all white, and added 4 gourds)
2001: Set up Trio castle in back - no takers...

Trapped the female within 30 min. Now to just get that pesky male....
Karen

---------------
2019: 16 cavities - 12 nesting pairs - 51 fledglings
2018: 16 cavities/nests with 71 fledglings
2017: 16 cavities - 15 nests with 60 fledglings
2016: 16 cavities - 10 nests with 44 fledglings
2015: 16 cavities - 2 nests with 6 fledglings (painted house white, moved house and added gourds)
2001: Trio castle - no takers for years
Archer
Posts: 758
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

I hope you kept her and set her up in the Blains with food and water and shelter at night, Now that you have some bait(female sparrow) the Blaines can be very effective. Congrats
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
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