RE: New Landlord Seeks Any/All Advice to Start Out Right...

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MartinStudent
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:24 pm
Location: Mississippi

Hi all! I'm also NEW to PM's and have been scouring the forum over the last week. I already feed/take care of other wildlife on our property including BlueBirds. Why not PMs? I've been reading up on them over the last few years and finally feel ready to take the plunge, but I want to do everything right from the outset. I just purchased my first real PM house from PMCA, Predator Guard and Owl Guard for the BirdsChoice WaterEdge Suites with XL rooms,Songbird Magnet, Mealworms, Pine Straw and Oyster Shells. When I bought my home it came with an old run down aluminum hexagon house in the back yard. Birds visited every year but no takers except Blue Birds. I'm taking down the old house (some BBs used) and putting up the new house and not opening until I see PMs. I'm also putting up another new hexagon PM house with all the same precautions nearby for variety. I plan on using member tips and making the houses look already used and play the Songbird Magnet when I see them.
Anything else I might need to do to be a good PM landlord? All advice is appreciated. We have 20 acres in Mississippi. Most of it is treed on both sides of the property but there is a direct fly in from the west. We have about 5 acres open that we keep mowed down with a few trees scattered about. We plan on putting the house out in the open area about 30ft from our house with flyaway access all around and at least 40ft away from trees. I'm prepared with food for them in bad weather. Thanks so much!! :grin:
Animal Lover. Voice for animals. Purple Martin Landlord Wannabe. Proponent for large cavities. :grin:
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.

It looks like you have made some good choices. I wonder about the more basic stuff. House sparrows and starling presence will deter investigating martins. What is the situation like where you plan to have your housing?
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.
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.

I didn't read anything in your post about trapping or shooting house sparrows. It will be your first major challenge. I leave my martin housing open all year. When it's not martin season, I take advantage of the off season to destroy as many sparrows as I can. When you eradicate the invasive species, all the other native species will flourish, including bluebirds, martins, chickadees, titmice, nuthatch, tree swallows and on and on. The more house sparrows I eliminate during the off season, the safer my martins will be when they here. I have trapped and killed house sparrows every month of the year, even the winter months. They just can't resist the martin housing. Get started on that right away before your martins arrive. They will be glad you did. It's a characteristic of a good landlord. My first year so far I've been nothing but a house sparrow terminator. But when my martins do finally arrive, they will safer because of it. Also, read http://www.chuckspurplemartinpage.com/. It was an enlightening moment for me.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
William A
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:35 am
Location: AL/Marion

Welcome to the most satisfying and rewarding hobby as a martin landlord. I wish you all the luck in the world. We tried for 15 years without success and decided to move three gourd racks about 130 feet to a new location approximately 20 feet away from the house with the first rack and the others staggered away from that one. We had martins that first year after moving them and that was over 20 years ago and still strong. I always felt like being so close to the house with us being outside all the time made the difference. My advice would be to read everything you can on this forum and also on the PMCA facebook group also. I believe that for about maybe 15 years that my gourds were predated by rat snakes until I read about using snake netting. I now average 4 snakes caught a season and feel terrible about the years before I started using that technique. Just one snake having access to your housing can devastate a colony. Good Luck.
PMCA Member
Dave Duit
Posts: 1701
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 may sound simplistic, but there is great information in the education sections FAQ on this website. I always suggest reading as much as you can from martin source websites. As mentioned before, sparrow and starling control are the big two. Use attraction techniques such as dawnsong CD early in the morning, smear a little mud around the outside of the entrances, put our crushed egg shells near your martin housing off the ground on a feeding platform, pre-nest cavities with soft white pine needles, use starling resistant entrance holes, etc...
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1701
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 appears as if you are already following the basic in getting ready for and attracting martins. Good job and welcome aboard.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1881
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

Martinstudent .... First WELCOME to the forum... You have come to the right place for information.. Just reading the posts that the other members have posted is a lot of good information from great Landlords.. Wishing you great success this year..
Enjoy..

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:

PMCA Member
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

If I understood your post, you said you would play the Bird Magnet (Dawn Song) when you see the Martins. You should play it before dawn and well into the morning if not all day. It will attract Martins in the area to come in and check out your housing.
Good Luck
MartinStudent
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:24 pm
Location: Mississippi

THANKS for all your input! It is greatly appreciated!! :grin: Fortunately, where we live, we don't have any starlings and very few if any House Sparrows. The sparrows we do see are in the city limits where they forage. Hopefully, they'll never find out about the quality sunflower seed we put out for the native songbirds. (Fingers crossed) We did see this winter for the first time in 7 years, grackles and juncos, but that was probably a quick stop over because of the "deep freeze" we had here. They're gone now. With the usually warmer climate down South, we only put out feed when weather takes a turn, though we always have suet out year round.
For those invaders that do show up, I plan on removing/trapping. I don't kill animals. None. Period. Not even invasive species. We welcome all wildlife to our property. We help those who need helping. Bluebirds have returned year after year to raise their young, as have other songbirds: Cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, tit mice and more are regular visitors. We must be doing something right. None of the Blue Birds nests were destroyed or hindered in any way, even though we do see raccoons.
Thanks again. I shall continue reading and learning and doing my best to do what is best for our feathered friends.
Animal Lover. Voice for animals. Purple Martin Landlord Wannabe. Proponent for large cavities. :grin:
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.

Every time I kill a house sparrow or starling, I make the world a better place.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.
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.

I realize that you don't like to kill house sparrows and starlings, but relocating rarely works and really is just dumping your trash on to the neighbors if they don't come back to you. For a martin colony to flourish, the landlord will have to eliminate them or have a friend do it for him. Its like gardening but allowing all the weeds to grow. For a good crop the weeds must be eliminated. Trapping and shooting these pests isn't optional. It's imperative.
tor
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

You're saying you had a house in the back yard already, and took it down. Is the new house going in the same spot as the old? If so, how does the area around look? What I am getting at is since you had visitors but do stays, there is usually a reason, so you might want to evaluate the back yard a little closer with regard to trees and other obstackles.

Just make sure the "airspace" around the new house is relatively free from high trees or other tall obstacles to make the site is as suitable as you can get it for the martins.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11 - 71 pair - 298 hatched as of last nest check.
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
2020 Season
MartinStudent
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:24 pm
Location: Mississippi

Hello again and thanks for all your useful comments!
First, as I've said, I've never seen house sparrows or Starlings around my property, though I see lots of songbirds, which I feed. If I do, I'll trap first and see what happens from there. If these "invasive' birds don't show up, I have nothing to worry about.
Second, the first house I once had, if you can call it a PM house was an old, dilapidated, abandoned and falling apart aluminum house with round entrance holes I inherited when I purchased my house. I don't know if the previous owners had PMs or not. I saw the birds circle but never stay, but neither would I in the house that stood. I'm not placing the new house there.
I wasn't into learning about/taking care of PMs until now. I knew nothing about them. Now, I do, I hope to be a landlord. We'll see. I picked a high point in my yard with open space and clearing all around. The two nearest trees are on each side about 100ft away on each side. No power lines of trees near the PM house. Our house is about 50ft nearby. Our woods on each side are about 200ft away on each side.
Thanks again for all your input. I'm looking forward to the 1st PMs to arrive whether it is this year or in 20yrs. I'll do everything I can to keep them safe.
Animal Lover. Voice for animals. Purple Martin Landlord Wannabe. Proponent for large cavities. :grin:
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.

I certainly hope you never have to deal with the sparrows and starlings cause they are really nasty. My first bad encounter with sparrows was when I was anxiously watching one of my first nests of bluebirds in the bluebird house that my dad helped me build. One afternoon, I went to peek in on them and instead of a bluebird nest, I found the male bluebird pecked to death on top of his nest! An english house sparrow did it. :x I was very disappointed. Now I don't let any sparrows hang around my place, unless they avoid my traps and gun. :) Best wishes in attracting the martins!
Last edited by marcus on Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.

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