Best time and direction for dawnsong

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Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

I'm wondering what time experienced landlords think is best for me to play the dawnsong in my situation,and what direction. Here's the quick background. I'm in about year 7 of trying to attract PM's. I'm up northeast, right at the tip of the range. I don't believe there are any colonies to the north of me, but I do have a decent sized colony to the east of me, 27 miles away. That's the closest unfortunately. I also have further colonies east of that point. Basically nothing West that has been recorded in decades.

Last year I really set up a good speaker horn and played the dawnsong very loud more than ever. I pointed it South and played it early from 4:30am to about 10:30am. I was really surprised that I did not see one purple martin last year. I rarely see them as they're scarce, usually only one every couple years, but with my new set-up I was certain that I'd attract one to hang around for a few days to at least witness. Nothing.

Looking back, I think the volume was maybe too high. I'm not around to monitor the situation all day, so I can't turn it down if a PM happens to check things out. I also think that maybe I should target the colonies east of me, and point the horn towards those colonies, since there has to be more travel of the birds that way??

I also don't want to play this set-up all day, since I'm in a public area and don't want any complaints. I'm fine playing for a 4-5 hour block, I just don't want to play it all the time. Am I still best to go very early in the morning, or is there a better time when the PM's wander from existing colonies, since that's the style of bird I'm trying to attract?

Just curious I want to try and give it my best go this year.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

This is a great question - I'd love to know the answer, too.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

There's really no right or wrong way about playing the cds! I have heard some play it all day! I have heard they play it all night and day! Some play the dawnsong from 4:00a.m.- 6:00 a.m.!!! Some switch over to daytime chatter all day! Then turn dawnsong back on for a few hours before dusk!
The mornings are the best for visiting!

It's really just up to the individual how it's played! I've done it every way the last few yrs. and still waiting for a keeper!
Good luck!
Sharon from southern Illinois
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Ryan,
I've only used the Dawn Song and Daytime Chatter for a few years now. I do believe it helps along with all the other little specifics. Location, Location, Location, I guess in Real Estate for Martin's this means a lot.
As you may know there are so many different things to consider when trying to attract Purple Martins.

Are you close to a source of Water is a plus. Do you have Predators and or Invasive Bird species.? If you do have any Predators that may harm or kill or eat your Bird's - Get Rid of Them.!! Do you have open fly ways.! If you have any Large Beautiful Trees close by or in a crucial fly way - Cut, Take it down.

I think the PMCA recommends 2 Hours Early in the Morning when the Male Purple Martin would actually be singing his "Dawn Song". Different strokes for different folks, but I play mine from 4:00a.m. To 6:00 a.m. And Daytime Chatter from 4:00p.m. To 6:00p.m.

Sure if I knew where a successful Colony was I might point my speakers in that direction. At one time I thought that Loudness would be better and more apt to reach out and pull that unsuspecting Martin in. However, Now after I've walked out a few times at 4:00 a.m. I've discovered it's actually rather quite. And they say that Sound Carries, so I think my small I-Pod speakers might be o.k.

And another thing to consider like my friend Chuck on Chuck's Purple Martin Page told me - You can over-do anything. And if you do attract Martin's it may not be necessary to keep playing the "Dawn Song".! That in itself may confuse your Bird's and they might just leave.

I hope some of this helped you.! I'd keep playing until I got Bird's, but just not all day. It may be that Quality is actually better than Quantity.!!
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Archer
Posts: 757
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 continue to follow your story Ryan. What I recall reading is that sounds travels best on cool still air, that's why martins dawnsong when they do. The morning hours would be my choice. Martins also like to socialize in the morning hours, moving around to see who's new in the neighborhood. In the afternoon they get busy feeding, pairing, nest building, etc. I would point my speaker towards that far away colony. At least you know that there will be martins moving up in that direction. A light west wind might help carry the sound a little farther too. Keep it up, you never know when it will happen.
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.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Thanks Roger, I have pretty decent housing and good open areas. I think I have all of that checked off, I'm just in a tough area with very few martins. They were common decades ago. The fact that few, if any, actually migrate north of me hurts my chances of pulling one down. Hoping this year is luckier. I've added some pictures of my two chalet sites for you to see.

Thanks Archer. Always good to see hope from other landlords on the northern range. Thank you.

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Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
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.

Dam that looks like a perfect location!!! I'm sure once they take hold this would be a great site. Good luck.
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Ryan,
Yes it does look like you have a wonderful site with the water and open spaces. And your houses "cavities" are like Mansions compared to regular Gourd's or Aluminum Cavities. I suggest trying some different Gourd's. My Martin's like the small 6 7/8" Gourd's like my Dad used I think because they swing. Check out what kind of Cavities the other Colony uses and try some of those. I know it's not possible but ideally I'd put up 2 of every Gourd on the Market. You just don't know what combination will Click to bring them in.!!
Keep trying. Good Luck :!:
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Matt F.
Posts: 3894
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Rodger Drye wrote:I think the PMCA recommends 2 Hours Early in the Morning when the Male Purple Martin would actually be singing his "Dawn Song". Different strokes for different folks, but I play mine from 4:00a.m. To 6:00 a.m. And Daytime Chatter from 4:00p.m. To 6:00p.m.
I agree Rodger - the ideal time to play the dawnsong, is when the real males actually do it - in the predawn hours like you mentioned.
Following that protocol helped me get that first pair at my previous site, which was not ideal by any means (nearby trees, etc.)
Matt F.
Posts: 3894
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Hi Ryan,
Like Archer mentioned in his post, I too have been following your Martin attracting endeavors for sometime now.
It definitely warrants mentioning again, that in addition to the fantastic chalet housing you erected at your home site, as well as your public, in-town site, you also built and erected a gorgeous North Star house for that older gentleman, who had a dwindling colony at that time.
Side note: I noticed Bob's website is down. I hope he is doing well.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Thanks Matt. I'm not giving up yet.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Two years later and I still haven't seen a Purple Martin. I was looking for more info on the science of the dawn song and this old thread popped up.

The next 2-3 weeks are critical up here so I have the dawnsong set to 4am - 2pm playing quite loud seven days a week.

I'd really like to at least see one again. I think the last fly-by was 4 years ago. Getting a pair is a long shot but just seeing a single SY Male hang around again is a home run for me. I've seen two since 2010. They're rare up here which is surprising since they once were very common.

Here's hoping.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
sugarcreek
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Ryan,
Nice site and nice houses....I live in Ohio and our males as of this morning were still out singing dawnsong at 4:30 am. So sy 's they must still be travelling through.....usually they are out at 4:30 every morning.....wish you luck. Dont give up it can and will happen.
2016 - 1st Yr. 14 Compartments 4 Active Nests 9 fledged, 2.25 Fledged per Active Nest
2017 - 2nd Yr. 36 Compartments 18 Active Nests 65 Fledged, 3.61 Fledged per Active Nest
2018 - 3rd Yr. 54 Compartments 43 Active Nests 169 Fledged, 3.93 Fledged per Active Nest
2019 - 4th Yr. 108 Compartments 67 Active Nests 209 Fledged, 3.12 Fledged per Active Nest
2020 - 5th Yr. 108 Compartments ?
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I am curious how often you are at your house or what your schedule is like during the day. Reason I ask is that the dawnsong will definitely draw them in but some martins can be confused by it. It's possible you could be getting a visitor that does not stick around long if it is blaring too loud. At my old colony I had one martin that would literally drop down and land on my player and flutter around, like it was attacking it, then flying off. Others did not seem to be bothered by it at all. I would always schedule mine to play from 4:00 am until about 9:00 am and the rest of the time if I was outside I would turn it on but I would turn it off as soon as I saw any visitors. Depending on how loud it is if could see it seeming too un natural and could cause a negative effect.....
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.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

I'm not there all that much. The two that I've seen in the past were on a schedule and would stop by in the afternoon. I do see your point that I may be getting flyovers and not seeing but with so few actual Martin houses up I figured they'd check the place out here and there and I'd see one at some point, like the other two did. They would sit on house and hang out. I've got decoys, mud, nests and even mirrors to hopefully hold them there so I can see them on a drive by. I probably go past housing unit 5 times a day.

I say I have the volume loud but it's not much louder than natural. I went too loud one season trying to draw them in and saw nothing, then dialed it back the last couple years to something more natural.

There is really only one colony north east of me at 27 miles straight line. Literally nothing west of me for 100 miles and south of me for probably half of that, so the flyovers are just rare. Anyone reading this is more south of me so they'll get more northern birds passing them.

The water housing that you see above is 1/2 mile from my other housing in the lower photo. The dawnsong plays at lower housing photo so my thinking is maybe I could attract one to hang out at the quiet water housing if they're bothered by the dawnsong.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Ryan,

Looking over some of these old posts and found this one. Here’s hoping you have or will get some Purple Martin’s by now 2020. You must have the patience of a Rock to wait every year and still not see any Birds.
I went through many many years were I just didn’t have that many Martin’s. At least I had some Birds but just not in the quantity I thought my site could handle. My Dad had thousands of Martin’s and we just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have any more than I did.

I was doing a lot of things wrong. Cut down a large Water Oak, changed the type of housing I had up, changed the entrances on my gourds, and incorporated a strict regiment of Predator Control. All that combination finally worked for me. And yes I did start playing the “Dawn Song”. And the Birds started coming in, and they kept on coming in.

I went from like 20 to 90 Pair in the past 5 years. I played the Dawn Song from 4:00 am to 6:00am for 2 weeks after I started getting several Birds. Then I turned it off, didn’t want to confuse them.

Just hang in there, if I had given up and quit which I have to admit I thought about doing several times. I’d travel about 35 miles to my Dad’s place and he had all these hundreds and thousands of Birds and I didn’t have hardly any, and it was demoralizing. One thing I did discover is that he didn’t have that many Starlings and Sparrows like I did around here.
Seemed like those invasive species would just take over each year and root my Martin’s out. But like I said with trapping and changing the entrances on each and every cavity I eradicated the little Monsters.

Keep playing your “Dawn Song” and don’t give up. You may wind up with the largest Colony in your area and you can produce Bird’s to populate your little corner of the world. Just don’t QUIT...!!

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Ryan
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Three SY males seen in 10 years.

Rodger Drye wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:32 pm
Hey Ryan,

Keep playing your “Dawn Song” and don’t give up. You may wind up with the largest Colony in your area and you can produce Bird’s to populate your little corner of the world. Just don’t QUIT...!!

Rodger
This happened a couple days after my last post in this thread.

https://www.purplemartin.org/forum/view ... hp?t=35476
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June and built a nest. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Hey Ryan,

Evidently you have a positive candidate for a foundation Martin to start your Colony, GREAT for you. Looks like he’s making himself right at home. I wouldn’t change anything to quickly with the mirrors and playing of the Dawn Song.
Remember though the PMCA suggest you play your Dawn Song early in the morning as if the Bird’s were singing it themselves.
I like to stop it at 6:00 am because egg laying is taking place also in the near to early morning hours. So you don’t want to disturb your females when they are preoccupied.
And then I start my DayTime Chatter at 4:00 to 6:00pm in the evening as the majority of my Bird’s are coming back in from feeding or Nest building duties. Do you have a DayTime Chatter CD.? They are very different from each other.

I would if it were mine eventually take the mirrors down and stop playing the Dawn Song and Daytime Chatter all together.
And as far as decoys go I don’t use them at all, I have a couple but I have never put them up. I thought it would attract Predators, Hawks, Owls, and such. I don’t have a problem with any of these but I don’t want to help by bringing it on. Some folks have to use them as they have Raptor problems. Knock on wood I don’t have any of these problems and I don’t want them either.

I think you’re doing fine my friend and try not to worry. If you’re supposed to get Martin’s you’ll get Martin’s. It does seem like your SY Bird has bonded with your site especially if he hung around and squawked at you while you lowered his housing. If he did that then my bet is he won’t ever leave.
I would think your Bird is spending the night there as it looks like he is on his way to building a neat little Nest for himself.
I watch my Birds of a night and most of them go into a Gourd (Their Gourd) when it gets dark. However, I have seen with a spot light that some of my Male Martin’s don’t seem to go into a Gourd. For whatever reason I don’t know. Maybe they’re on “Guard Duty” like I said I don’t know. And again I haven’t watched all night so I can’t say for sure.

You’ll probably have more Bird’s than the rest of us one Day.......Just Don’t Quit..!

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
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