Blue Bird Predator Control Suggestion

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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.

There are many posts here that mention blue birds, which go hand in hand with martin colony management. In April 2001, in the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, there was an article which caught my attention. It dealt with bb house design and more importantly to me, a more predator resistant mounting pole. I had been frustrated with racoon/ cat predation on my bb trail. All houses were mounted on either t posts or wooden posts and were easily climbed by cats and other critters.

This article mentioned using 1/2" electrical conduit as a mounting pole. I tried it and found it to be very successful in minimizing the loss of bb nests and young. It is inexpensive and has resulted in few attacks on my trails, especially those where I am not in frequent contact. I have only one bb house on a wooden pole at home, more out of aesthetics than anything else. All the rest are on this electrical conduit. You may want to give it a try.

Google Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine blue bird April 2001.The article is "Thinking out of the Box'.

Ed
Ravens5281
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:14 pm
Location: Seymour, Indiana
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member:
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest

Ed I'm trying to attract blue birds what do i do in drawing them in!!!??? Here's my site!! Image

Thanks Stu III
PMCA Member: From Seymour, Indiana
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest
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.

Ravens,

All of mine are well away from trees. I found that when I had them too close to tree lines, wrens took over. In the past, blue birds nested in rotten fence posts. I have mine next to cattle pastures and in the open on my property. If blue birds are around, they will inspect the houses. Many years ago, I placed my first blue bird house on a fence post down the middle of a pasture with my kids. We walked away and turned around about 50 feet away and there was already a blue bird on the house. Open country is my suggestion although you will get other suggestions.

Good luck,

Ed
Ravens5281
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:14 pm
Location: Seymour, Indiana
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member:
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest

Ok thanks ed!! Yea I put my where I did bc I read that in an article to put it along the edge of a woods facing out towards a meadow/ pond which I did!! But we used to have blue birds & the sparrows & tree swallows ran them off & haven't seen any for years! But decided to try again this year to see what happens & just wanted to know how to get them back to this area!! But I had others say it was in a good spot so idk what to do!! & I live in southern Indiana so not even sure if they are back yet!!

Thanks Stu III
PMCA Member: From Seymour, Indiana
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest
mwren
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 pm
Location: OH/Athens
Martin Colony History: I have had my martin colony on the dam of one of my ponds for nine years. The colony has grown each year, but I am now concentrating on helping friends and acquaintances who have shown interests in martins. My colony consists of three T-14's with 8 Troyer gourds attatched to each T-14, a Troyer gourd rack with 12 gourds, and another gourd rack with 18 Troyer gourds for a total of 96 nest cavities. I am having serious predation issues with hawks and owls and am experimenting with various hawk guards and "screens". Established successful supplemental feeding the last few seasons and have had a blast flipping mostly meal worms and some crickets. Faculty from Ohio University are using my colony as a research site to study parasites that target cavity nesting birds. In exchange for access to my bird trail nest boxes and martin housing, they are banding all birds involved in their study.

Ed, I have converted my entire bluebird trail to electrical conduit pipe, and my predator problems have been greatly reduced. My original trail is on my farm property, 70 boxes, and I also am building another trail not far away at our country club. We now have at least one bluebird house on every hole...am converting most of them to the thin conduit poles.
Mike "Bird" Wren
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.

Mike,

Thanks for the positive endorsement. Your results with the conduit echoes mine. Putting a bb house on a wooden post provides easy access by predators to the nest box. There is nothing worse than seeing the nest contents hanging out of the entrance after being raided by a critter. Nothing is 100% predator proof but this is close.

It also appears that your bb houses are widely spaced. In the "old days of blue bird recovery" the recommended distance between bb houses was 100 yards! I frequently see bb houses placed much closer, which actually produces fewer blue birds. I had too many crowded on my property and had a tree swallow invasion. I removed half of the houses and actually ended up with more nesting blue birds., plus only a couple tree swallows. I placed the excess along a farm field where the farmer had not seen blue birds in years.I set out 4 along about a half mile of fenceline. He ended up with two pair the first year and was thrilled. He thought that blue birds were no longer in the area.

Ed
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