Newbie from Ohio

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Hi All,
Great site! I've already learned a lot about attracting and caring for PM's. I live and farm in central Ohio. There are good numbers of PM's in my area with two neighbors within a mile or so with several productive houses (very jealous!!). Last year I had a pair hang out for a couple weeks but had no success. I hope they'll give me another look this year. I've got houses ready to go up when the weather turns around. Any helpful hints or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mark
Mark
Central, OHIO.
mwren
Posts: 108
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 last season during late march and 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.

Buckeyefarmer,
Welcome aboard! We are in southeastern Ohio, just outside of Athens. Our birds have not shown up as yet. Hopefully they have a safe haven someplace to protect them from this seriously bad weather. I wonder how many birds are lost each migration to terrible weather.
Good luck, we will be watching for a post from you celebrating your first birds nesting! Just curious, what type of housing do you have up ?
Mike "Bird" Wren
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Last year I had a 12 hole Heath and a 12 hole Trio. My neighbors have T14 houses and are covered up with birds. So, this winter I built a T14 house and pole in the shop. I'm hoping this will encourage them to stay.
Mark
Central, OHIO.
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Image
Mark
Central, OHIO.
John Evans
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:56 pm
Location: Cocoa Beach Florida

Welcome to the forum Buckeye farmer. Fellow Ohioan here. Your T-14 looks great. My bet is copying the housing that your successful neighbor has will give you birds this year. The picture shows plenty of open spaces. As Mike said look forward to you posting your first birds..
PMCA Member
mwren
Posts: 108
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 last season during late march and 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.

Newbie,
Great job building and going to a T-14. One of the first things I learned some time ago was the importance of giving these birds the type of housing that they like the best. They will choose the larger, safer cavity size the majority of the time. I am curious if you have issues with starlings or house sparrows ? I know that they tend to gravitate toward barns, feedlots etc, just curious if you have them around. Don't let them near your martin house! Does your neighbor's housing have SREH type holes in their T-14's or they round openings also ?
If you have a colony close by, I am betting that you will pull some birds this spring ! Good luck!

"Bird"
Mike "Bird" Wren
Dave Duit
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

It is so nice to see a new purple martin landlord getting into the hobby. I think your set up looks great in the wide open fly zone area. Best of luck this season my friend.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Thanks for the encouragement. My neighbor's houses just have round holes, so I opted to build mine the same. We do have lots of starlings, Sunday I counted 27 marching through the yard picking at something. I guess my next shop project will be some sort of trap.
One question on the T 14. Should I add rods of some kind for perches? If so what size?
Mark
Central, OHIO.
Bird Brain
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2019-nothing
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

If my neighbors had round entrance holes, I would not copy them. I would go with SREHs instead. You already said you had lots of starlings. Just a matter of time.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2919
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

If I were you I would get some plastic SREH entrance plates and screw them over the front of your existing doors. You might have to cut out your existing holes a little bit. It is next to impossible to have a thriving martin colony in the Midwest with round holes. We have tons of starlings and unless you are retired and ready to commit your days to trapping and shooting you will have some problems.

I use the plastic crescent plates on mine. I trimmed the bottom of them so there is about 1/8 of an inch below the bottom of the opening. Then I screwed the plate into the door so the bottom of it was directly onto the porch. I have had them like this for 8 or 9 years and never had a starling breach it. I know some new landlords get discouraged with SREH but martins can get in them. I would guess that there are probably more good colonies with SREH then round holes so odds are any SY martins you get this year were fledged from SREH. You'll have enough trouble keeping the sparrows at bay, you don't need to have to worry about starlings also.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Bird Brain
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2019-nothing
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

Manufacturers that continue to market round entrance holes should be ashamed of themselves. They don't have the martin's best interest. It is up to us to vote with our dollars, say no, and not buy their outdated product, or at least modify their product.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Ordered some plastic crescent SREH plates today. The starlings are already trying to move in.
Mark
Central, OHIO.
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

Way to go Buckeyefarmer! Your taking steps in the right direction. :grin: BTW you did great on your t-14. I have one and love it. Welcome to the forum as well.
handyman315
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
Location: SW Ohio
Martin Colony History: Colony established May 20, 2017 after three unsuccessful years. Persistent and aggressive Tree Swallows plagued the site, but beyond learning - and practicing - to control them, was the return in 2017 of a 2016-SY-M previously unable to find a mate. As a handsome ASY-M, he brought along two females and a swagger that soon put the Tree Swallow issue to rest. As the anchor pair, he and his mate hatched all six of their eggs into fat and healthy babies into what settled in to be a three-pair, flourishing new colony with up to 11 birds total, including 3 SY-M trouble makers.

Had the same angst over SREHs as I continue to struggle to establish a PM colony, but SREHs have NOT been my problem.

Starlings will be a MUCH bigger problem without SREHs!

Beautiful house. Good luck.
2019- 19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84 babies. The Pattern is Full.
2018-ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs, Season of 11 Nests W/48 Babies
2017-FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Resident PMs, with 13 Fledged from Three Nests and Operated a Daily Flying Circus :grin:
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Thanks handyman. I just got the SREH plates today. I have one door completed. The retro wasn't all that bad. The tricky part was carving out a notch on the back of the porch to fit over the edge of the plate. I carve duck decoys for a hobby so I just used a carving burr to make the notch.
Image
Mark
Central, OHIO.
birdbrat
Posts: 259
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: Ohio/SouthSalem

Great job on those doors Buckeyefarmer! That should keep the starlings out. At my site while the starlings are struggling to get in, I give them a little push with the pellet gun. They make a pretty easy target with their head poked through those doors! Have you opened up any compartments yet for the martins? Everyone does things different but what I do is open a couple that are facing my house. Perfect view in case I have any intruders, and it gives any passing martins a place to get in. Then as they start coming in, I keep opening them a few at a time. Within a month I generally have everything opened up. Good luck to you this year. Looks like you are ready. Keep us posted on your progress.
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

I have all the openings open. I've been working on the starlings with a Crosman air rifle and built a hillbilly version of the sparrow/starling trap. The trap hasn't produced anything yet. I may move it higher on the barn.
Mark
Central, OHIO.
handyman315
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
Location: SW Ohio
Martin Colony History: Colony established May 20, 2017 after three unsuccessful years. Persistent and aggressive Tree Swallows plagued the site, but beyond learning - and practicing - to control them, was the return in 2017 of a 2016-SY-M previously unable to find a mate. As a handsome ASY-M, he brought along two females and a swagger that soon put the Tree Swallow issue to rest. As the anchor pair, he and his mate hatched all six of their eggs into fat and healthy babies into what settled in to be a three-pair, flourishing new colony with up to 11 birds total, including 3 SY-M trouble makers.

Yes, a fine job on those openings.

Just a great looking house and pole.

The SREHs will give you some rest and peace of mind.

Sure hope you get some nesters this season; you've certainly put in the front work. Good luck!
2019- 19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84 babies. The Pattern is Full.
2018-ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs, Season of 11 Nests W/48 Babies
2017-FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Resident PMs, with 13 Fledged from Three Nests and Operated a Daily Flying Circus :grin:
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
Mudflap
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:07 am
Location: SE Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2011: Set up 16 room S&K house.
2012: nothing.
2013: lookers but no takers.
2014: lookers but no takers.
2015: 3 pair nested, 7 fledged.
2016: second year: S&K house is now an 8 room house and added a separate pole with eight Troyer Vertical Gourds. 13 pair nested, 50 fledged.
2017: third year: S&K house is now a 6 room house (blocked attic access). Same Troyer gourds.

Welcome to the forum from a fellow Buckeye. Your house and modifications look great and I'm glad you found this site! Here's hoping you have a successful season!
mwren
Posts: 108
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 last season during late march and 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.

Buckeyefarmer, Great job of changing your "door" openings! This modification should really help you manage your site. I am predicting a great first year for you and your colony. Stay on top of those starlings and sparrows!
I am just outside of Athens and we do not have birds as yet. I am expecting to see some of my returning veterans to show up anyday now. Some of the larger colonies that I am aware of down here in southern ohio are still waiting on their birds. I am surprised to see so many other scout reports farther north than me and am beginning to worry .
I have some serious issues with hawks and owls because my colony is somewhat remote, with lots of very good hawk and owl habitat all around.
Good luck and keep the forum appraised when your birds arrive !

"Bird"
Mike "Bird" Wren
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