OMG! OMG! OMG!!! I just had 2 purple martins here!!!

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BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

I have been imagining how it would feel - what would I do - if I ever saw purple martins here again! And I just did - about 20 minutes ago! I had the Dawn Song playing out on our deck (thanks Ed) and, as I've been doing every day and evening, I looked out at the martin housing, not really expecting to see anything (because I never do) but hoping that one of these times I will. And I'm so beyond ecstatic to report that I did, indeed, see 2 purple martins flying around. They did not stop at the gourds or houses but hey - they were here! I went out onto the deck because every one says they are people birds and I was hoping they would like knowing people are around. They circled and came in close to the deck, I'm sure checking out the Dawn song as one of them came down fairly close by the boombox. I just loved watching them fly over and circle around, checking the place out. So then I ask myself - should I go out and open up a few of the gourds or shouldn't I? I decided to. But I seriously did not see them anymore from the time I left the deck to when I came back into the house to go outside to open them up. They are gone. :( Now I have to watch to make sure nothing else thinks about using the gourds and also to see if they come back. My husband says they will (I'm sure he's just being overly optimistic cuz he knows how badly I want them) but I hope he's right. I also hope by going out onto the deck I didn't scare them off. I've read, on here somewhere, that going out to open up the housing will not scare them off. I just wonder if I jumped the gun and shoulda waited until they actually started showing interest in them.

Well - my highlight of the summer has just happened! Now I start to pray they return and actually take up residence. I hope they liked what they saw. I think it's not a good sign that they didn't stop at the housing or stick around, tho, so I'm fairly pessimistic on this.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
ToyinPA
Posts: 2134
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

It's an amazing feeling isn't it :). They just put a electric shock thru you, as they swoop & circle around.

You did OK going outside. I always go out as soon as my first one returns. I talk to them. Normally they will circle many times, checking to make sure it's safe, before landing. Hopefully they will return.

Make your housing look used....smear a little mud around the openings & just inside. This lets them think that Martins nested there before.

Good luck,
Toy in PA
PMCA Member
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks for the vote of confidence in how I handled it. I was so excited - I had to talk myself out of going too looney tunes and scaring them for sure. haha! I have some mud smeared on the outside - I'll do the inside today. Thanks again! I needed someone to tell me I did ok and that going out on the deck or out and opening up some of the gourds didn't scare them off. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
C.C.Martins
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021:
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021:
PMCA member

They are such graceful birds and own the air! It is a shock, hope your husband is a understanding man because your martin stalking days are here...my wife calls me the martin stalker. I make it a point to let them see me, we have hummingbird feeders, I walk nice and slow and make my rounds. They don't mind a bit...I know the feeling though, its like having a very breakable crystal vase in your hands! They are tough birds and understanding of us.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Yah, he's a pretty understanding kinda guy. He's been very helpful in letting me get serious about trying to get them back again, after so many years without them. He goes with me to our friend's place who has a whole boatload of martins and listens to us talk about them for lengthy periods of time. haha! He's been a real good sport about it all and I think he likes them around, too. He always asks if I've seen any yet, to which I always reply no - until this morning. Our oldest son stopped by and he told him about seeing martins this morning before I had a chance to. :) I still haven't seen them back here yet - or any other martins either - so that's disappointing but I'm not giving up hope quite yet. I have a meeting I'm supposed to go to tonight but I've already decided I'm staying home to see if any birds show up. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Annie G
Posts: 341
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:09 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Portage

Omg! That's awesome Billie!!! Congrats on your siting. They know where you are now. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you. :wink: keep us posted! Annie :grin: :grin: :grin:
Keep trying and keep your chin up, its easier to see the martins coming!!
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thank you so much Annie G!!! I sure will keep you all in the know! If they don't come back - hopefully there will be more to follow. Thanks again! I'm so on a high today. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

Hey, BillieJR, my first martins in march just flew around and then left. I had all my gourds closed because of interested bluebirds, so I worried, but eventually martins came and stayed. Not sure just when. I have 12 gourds open now, and at various times, there are martins on all the front porches.
so keep the faith. Barbiejoe
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thank you for the ray of hope, barbiejoe! That's what I'm hoping! They didn't return this evening so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best. I'm glad your colony seems to be growing. :)
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!

Congratulations Billie! It's a great thing when they visit! Keep your cavities open and keep playing your song! It's what they do before they want to stay! They circle and fly over first! Then maybe they'll land the next visit! Then when you see them enter the cavities you know their interested big time! This can be over a period of a week just checking it out to see if it's safe! Good luck we're rooting for you! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Oh - I like the sound of that, taxidermy lady. I was so happy today - I can't imagine how I will be if they actually land on a house or a gourd and actually then go inside. Thanks - I'm so glad to have such an awesome cheering section in my corner! :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

I still haven't seen any more martins around. I put the Dawn song out this morning again but had to bring it in when it started raining. It was much more fun yesterday than today so far. haha!

And now I have a pair of sparrows who think they have hit the jackpot - they keep flying back and forth between the gourds that I opened up yesterday. At some point I will go out and close them back up and put up the sparrow trap again. Their time is limited.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Pdaigle
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:30 pm
Location: Thibodaux, LA

I glad to hear that I am not the only person known as a "purple Martin stalker"
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

LOL! Welcome, Pdaigle! :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

So I went out and close the gourds back up yesterday and sure enough - I had one heck of a good sparrow nest in one of them already. I figured I would but it's not there any more. It's amazing how quickly they can put nesting material in when they find a place to nest. Or when they THINK they found a place to nest. Less than 12 hours if work for them before I was able to get out there. I need to move faster!

So I closed up the gourds and put the sparrow traps back on - 1 for each house. I see I have caught one - haven't been able to see if the other trap has been successful - it's raining and as soon as I can get out there I'll take care of that problem. This time I guess I'll leave the traps on the houses. I haven't seen many sparrows this year but that's probably only cuz I have kept everything closed up. As soon as there is an opening - the sparrows miraculously appear!

I also had a pair of mourning doves sitting on the balcony of one of my houses this morning. I know they have, in the past, made a nest on one of the balconies so I hope they don't think they are going to this year. It didn't bother me then because I didn't have any martins anyways but now that I've decided I'm going to be working as hard as I can to get them back, I don't want anything to deter them. I dont' have my houses open and probably won't this season due to the compartments not having been made deeper yet but I am worried the mourning doves may cause an issue for the martins.

Does anyone else have experience with mourning doves?
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Martinfarmer
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 6:33 pm
Location: Guthrie KY 42234
Martin Colony History: 2015 put up a S-k house, visitors but no takers
2016 homemade Martin condo (40 nesting boxes) several visitors no takers
2017 changed crescent openings to Troyer Conley 2 openings and installed 4 super gourds with Conley2 adapters and 12 vertical Troyers.
Several nests and eggs. Hopefully will exceed one hundred eggs this year.
6-21-17 nest inspection 68 chicks and 26 eggs
6-30-17 inspection 90 chicks and a new nest with 4 eggs.
8-30-17 successfully fledged over 85 martins.

I thought I saw a putty cat! I did! I Did!
Amazing martins, mine just started laying eggs. I just can't wait to see the babies poke their heads out of their new homes.
Whippy
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature

The mourning doves won't cause a problem n my opinion. I've got them all over my house and surrounding areas. I've built nesting trays for them under a few eaves of my house. They don't go inside of things like gourds or martin houses rather, they prefer open nest sites. My friend has had a pair return to his back yard every year for the last three years. They nest in one of his hanging plant bowls and usually produce two broods in the year.

I've had the martins and mourning doves share the same perches but have never had a mourning dove on my gourd rack. They sit on the roofs and fences and will nest in surrounding trees.

If anything, they are good bait for hawks so i don't mind them being around. I don't think the martins mind either.

I'm not expert but that is an account of my findings.

Coolwhips
2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks, Coolwhip! I won't worry about them, then.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
James A Lenz
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:30 am
Location: AL, Athens, Limestone County
Martin Colony History: 2017 New Landlord 11 cavities offered 3 pair fledging 8.

BillieJR wrote:Thanks, Coolwhip! I won't worry about them, then.
Billie I had problems with tree swallows but everyone on this site helped me deal with them which invoked closing down my housing until they started nest building seriously. Chuck told me to wait till they layed eggs. To open my gourds but the swallows were being very protective of their gourd and I came home from work one day and saw a Martin sitting on my rack so opened my gourds and started playing my Martin songs as whenever I could and one weekend Morning all of a sudden there was 5 or 6 martins circling over my head. I was so over whelmed I got up and started talking to them saying your homes are open come see and walked towards the gourds motioning for them to come but they just turned and flew away. Later one arrived back and the last month they have been coming in one or two every few days. My point is when they know your rack is there they will not forget so keep on playing that song and make sure your site is as good as you can make it and they will come one day and then they will bring more and more as they communicat as a community. I don't know how but they talk to near by colony's and will bring in new prospects so don't give up. And don't worry about sparrows if you can tear their nests out just watch and tear them out as they start building. They will get the message sooner or later. Good luck!
KaraInTexas
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:29 am
Location: North Texas
Martin Colony History: 2020 - 10 nest sites.

2019 - 8 nest sites and 28 fledged.

2018 - Three mating pair. 12 babies, all fledged. Found one adult female dead in house. Cause of death - unable to ascertain. Very sad day.

2017 - First mating pair in Heath house. May 3-5: 5 eggs laid. June 1-3: all hatched. July 3: all 5 fledged.
Approximately 20 adult martins here for the fledge party.

July 1: Installed 4 gourds as well as the 3 houses. The Martins love them!

2016 - Many martins, no nests or eggs. Too many HOSP.
I have a 12 compartment Heath house I converted to a 4 compartment house to allow the Martins more room and hopefully evade owls. I have put in a second house, the S&K 12 compartment one which I converted to 6 compartments. My neighbor also has the same S&K house I converted to a 6 compartment house.
I have eight or more Martins that visit daily.

It is exciting, isn't it!?!!? Enjoy them!!
May the Martins be with you. :grin:
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