Some Morning Photos Of My Purple Martin Colony

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Some Morning Photos Of My Purple Martin Colony

I took a few photos of my purple martin colony this morning, March 9, 2017. Many martins are “hanging out”, others are inside their cavities and still others are flying high in the sky. I believe our two personal martin colonies, mine and my neighbor Bob’s site, have more martins at this date in March than we have had at the same date in previous years.

New ASY male martins have arrived this morning and some fierce fights have taken place with some continuing on the ground.

Here are photos showing three sections of my martin colony. My favorite gourd rack is the Gemini with its two rings. Martins like it a lot too! I have three of these racks each with 24 gourds on them. In 2016, all 72 gourds on the three Geminis were occupied by martins. I have five Trendsetters, three 12 room houses, one 16 room house, and a large 28 room system. I like the 16 room house the best with its “tall” profile. The Trendsetter houses are my favorite commercial aluminum houses.

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Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
warbird
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:04 am
Location: Calofornia MO

Very nice
joe
2015 8 pair
2016 35 pair
2017 55 pair
James Strickland FL
Posts: 2249
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Reidsville NC
Martin Colony History: 2017 Had a lot visitors no Matins nesting, hoping 2018 will be different.
2018 Had 1 pair
2019 had 30 pair

Looks great my friend :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
PMCA MEMBER
Otee977
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:42 am
Location: Prescott Ar

No wonder i only got 1 pair , they all stop at your PM luxurious paradise , great job
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Thanks for the nice comments! Having a large martin colony is a lot of work, but it is worth it when I see all those fledglings and know that many will colonize new sites and bring the joys of martins to other folks!

We had some more new martins arrive later today and I enjoy watching the males dive down and return to their cavity or house/gourd rack from last season. But it can be a struggle at times as there are often other males already trying to control those cavities. Some intense fights are occurring. In my big 28 room Trendsetter there are 7 ASY males, 3 of which are paired, dominating the entire house. These males are even fighting each other at times! The males will eventually "settle down" and other males will be able to move in, but it can take time.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Donnie Hurdt MN
Posts: 1717
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:14 pm
Location: North Prairie, MN

Enjoyed your pictures as always Steve. I was looking at your snake netting around your polls and was wondering how early in the season do rat snakes become active down there?
PMCA member and Martin fanatic....
2011 A pair of subbies fledged three young but none returned in 2012 :-(
2015 One Pair of subbies came and stayed a few nits but got chased away by Bluebirds and Tree swallows. :-(
2017 0ne pair of subbies nested and fledged 4 young
2018 Tree Swallows AGAIN chased away any martins that wanted to nest :evil:
2019 Same old story................ :-(
MichaelH
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:10 am
Location: IL/Gillespie
Martin Colony History: 2015 28 cavities 2 pairs
2016 big upgrade 56cavities 16 pairs great year
2017. 76 cavities 36 pairs
2018. 146 cavities

Great to see your pics as always have a great weekend with your birds must be such a wonder to see so many birds ,one day lol
Mick
2018 146 cavities.
Okie
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:26 pm
Location: Claremore, OK
Martin Colony History: 2016 Informed landlord now Have 2 pair returning from 2015 That is a miracle. Hoping for a very successful year, sparrow population on decline.
First house was plastic with crescent holes Had martins within a few days. Ignorant landlord gradually lost them
Then got Trio House and still lost most of them. Lots of sparrows

Martin haven for sure.
Don't get dizzy mowing though. :lol:
Okie
PMCA member
2016 Started with 2 pair, 1 pair abandoned after HOSP destroyed eggs
1 pair= 6 eggs, 6 fledged
2017 1 pair so far, But they abandoned before nest complete for ?reason? Now Bridless and joined the Wannabes
2018 One pair ASY male SY female 5 eggs, 5 fledged
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Donnie,

Good to see you on the Forum! I hope you will have a great martin season!

I have already seen black rat snakes crawling back in late February! February was warmer than normal and that is probably the reason. I caught my first rat snake in a net trap at my current martin colony during the first week in May a number of years ago. We usually see our first rat snakes later in March and more as summer approaches. The rat snakes I saw in February were SO SKINNY and I know they were hungry!

Steve

Hey Okie/Mick,

Thanks for the comments! I hope both of you have great martin seasons!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Kyler
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 7 different colonies in Colby Kansas.

Steve,
Colony looks great just like always hope you have another great season. I just put the snake netting on my four poles a couple days ago! I'm prenesting my compartments tomorrow so I'm getting closer.

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 136 Hatched - 131 Fledged -
2021 - ??
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Kyler,

Thanks for the nice comments! It is so important to get your predator guards in place and be ready for those rat snakes. When I lived in Florida, I remember catching a gray rat snake in a net trap in March one year!

I hope you have a great martin season, too!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Kyler
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 7 different colonies in Colby Kansas.

Steve,
Im not sure if I have rat snakes in my area but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and put them up you know? Also I have a couple questions? When do your martins start building nests and laying eggs? Yours probably dont have to do much nest building because you did most of it. But im just wondering. I think last year mine started in the middle to end of April!

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 136 Hatched - 131 Fledged -
2021 - ??
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Kyler,

Yes, you do have rat snakes in Kansas! You have black and Great Plains rat snakes which will climb martin poles. Probably have some others. So it is important to have some kind of predator guard.

We have already seen several real early males going to the ground and getting dry oak leaves. Just a few have done it. Most of our martins start carrying nesting material later in March and continue on into April. I try to build good pre-nests and this helps to reduce the time in nest-building. But the males and females still add other material, particularly leaves. Some females may also build mud dams.

The first early eggs are usually laid near mid-April and first babies may hatch the last of April.

Our weather can be unpredictable at times and April and even early May cold/wet spells can create major issues for the eggs/nestlings. We have had cold snaps that caused many eggs not to hatch and the martins to lay again. Even cold in early May one year caused some mortality to small nestlings.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Kyler
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 7 different colonies in Colby Kansas.

Steve,
Here are some pictures of my netting. Will they also stop raccoons? Or just snakes?

Image

Image

Also thanks on when you martins start doing what they do haha!

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 136 Hatched - 131 Fledged -
2021 - ??
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Kyler,

Your net traps look great! Netting will not stop raccoons so if you are concerned about these predators then you probably need to add some kind of cylinder/cone type baffle below the netting. Some folks have had success with PVC/metal cylinder type guards in keeping raccoons/snakes at bay. The PMCA offers a metal cylinder type guard.

I have never had any issues with raccoons with any of my martin colonies, but there is always a first time. At my current site, we have local coyotes that will hunt raccoons out in the open if given a chance. Raccoons tend to stay in the woods around here.

Your martin houses/gourds look great! I hope you have a great martin season!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
j6745l@gmail.com
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:35 am
Location: Raynham MA. 02767
Martin Colony History: 2016, put Troyer pole with 6 units Horizontal with Conley 11 Tunnels.
Had some visits (two sittings) last year. A visit this year 2017.

Wow, Seems early. I just put up a pole unit last year and had some visits, but no nests. I'm located half way between Boston and Providence and Cape Cod. Supposed to get 12/18 inches of snow Tuesday. So,We're still 4 weeks away before Matins arrive. I've got my fingers crossed.

Keep up the great work.

John :grin:
j6745l@gmail.com
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:35 am
Location: Raynham MA. 02767
Martin Colony History: 2016, put Troyer pole with 6 units Horizontal with Conley 11 Tunnels.
Had some visits (two sittings) last year. A visit this year 2017.

Forgot to mention, I Have Troyer Horizontal Gourds...

John
Okie
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:26 pm
Location: Claremore, OK
Martin Colony History: 2016 Informed landlord now Have 2 pair returning from 2015 That is a miracle. Hoping for a very successful year, sparrow population on decline.
First house was plastic with crescent holes Had martins within a few days. Ignorant landlord gradually lost them
Then got Trio House and still lost most of them. Lots of sparrows

Kyler I like how you have your poles along the driveway. Bet that makes it easier to mow, but it also looks very neat & organized.
You've done a great job. Good luck this season.
Okie
PMCA member
2016 Started with 2 pair, 1 pair abandoned after HOSP destroyed eggs
1 pair= 6 eggs, 6 fledged
2017 1 pair so far, But they abandoned before nest complete for ?reason? Now Bridless and joined the Wannabes
2018 One pair ASY male SY female 5 eggs, 5 fledged
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey John,

It can be challenging to attract purple martins in the northeast, but there are martin colonies in your area. If you have an open location and keep other birds, like house sparrows and starlings, out, then you have a better chance of attracting martins. Also if there are other martin colonies nearby, then the overflow from those colonies may go to your new colony. Also, if those colonies are in disrepair, tree encroached or overrun with sparrows/starlings, then the martins may seek out new territory like your colony.

Troyer Horizontal Gourds are outstanding martin cavities and I have MANY of them. They are the first gourds occupied by the first martins returning to my colony. I believe you made a good choice using Troyer Horizontal Gourds.

I wish you the best and please keep us posted on how things go with your new colony site.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Kyler
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 7 different colonies in Colby Kansas.

Steve no im not that worried about raccoons as of right now but like you said it only takes one night that it will happen! Snakes are my worry. I see snakes all the time in my backyard and front. I have never seen any rat snakes though but that doesnt mean they arent there you know? I think I going to add more netting because there isnt that much there at the moment. Also thanks for the comments and I hope you have a great season too!

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 136 Hatched - 131 Fledged -
2021 - ??
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