Re: Newbie Wannabe Landlord Sees Advice-How to Spot Arriving PMs

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

Hello all!
Okay, guys I have put up my first PM house: a Birds Choice Waters Edge 8 suite House. I put pine straw in the nesting compartments. I put mud inside and outside the compartments. I have plugs in the holes until I see any Martins with strings attached to pull off when I see one. I'm playing my songibrd Magnet since Saturday, Feb. 18th. I placed two PM decoys on the house. Yes, I have an Owl Guard on it and a PMCA predator baffle in place. My house is out in the open 40ft away from trees on both sides and 50ft from my house in my backyard. I know I'm looking for SubAdults looking to build a colony. I have another PM house, a plastic American Barn house from S&K I just assembled and modified with large compartments, with a gourd rack to set up this coming weekend in hopes of offering variety of housing options for them. I painted the Barn green roof white and added dowel perches to it. I also added pvc elbows to vent the compartments and a vent to the roof, too.
Question: what do I expect to see? One bird arriving at the house? Will the bird(s) hover over the house, sit on it, what? I'm not sure what to look for. So far, I've sighted no sparrows or starlings. Lots of other songbirds that visit regularly are still around and eating from our feeders. I've put up a Blue Bird trail and have seen two male BB's so far, but no takers on the house, though, two houses have nests in it. I'm in North Western Mississippi.
Animal Lover. Voice for animals. Purple Martin Landlord Wannabe. Proponent for large cavities. :grin:
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:46 am
Location: Indiana

Make absolutely sure you know what a Purple Martin looks like . My first year I made a huge mistake and I had purple martins show up at my SK barn house ( I no longer have ) . I jumped up and down with excitement. Raised purple Martin babies in the barn house . Only one day I didn’t remember ever hearing purple martins sound like what I was hearing?? I was raising tree swallows .. Others have had me over to look at colonies around me to show me Purple Martins they raise and we’re proud of . Only to find out that they were raising starlings . What should you expect to see ? ? Keep other birds away and you should see some visitors if your location is good . Remember, tree swallows have bleach white bellies. Starlings have orange color beaks . Also tree swallows make a clicking sound . One bird that is a thief and looks similar to the purple Martin is a cow bird . These birds don’t sit on cowbird eggs but rather lay them in another birds nest to have them sit on the eggs for them to raise them .. A lot of factors go into what you can expect to see . Play the dawn song and daytime chatter . It should help call some your way .
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 and join.

Martin student,
I must congratulate you in ensuring you have covered all the bases in attracting martins. You have done everything right to prepare for possible new martins. The first arrivals will be ASY martins, (after second year olds) 4 weeks to 12 weeks later the SY or second year young martins may arrive. Being a new landlord without martins, your best chances are when the SY martins come back to your area. If there is a ASY martin that abandoned his colony last season, it may take up residence at your location. Through some crushed egg shells out on a feeding tray or raised platform can be a trigger for a martin to stick around at your location. If a visitor comes by, remember that it may just be flying through and moving on to his own colony at another location. So, don't be disappointed if one stops by, lands on your housing or perches and then moves on.
If you have one stick around for a day or two, he will try to call in other martins that may be flying over your housing to pull them in. I wish you the best this year. Visitors that stop and pass by, will actually go inside the cavity and even stay a while. But a keeper will stay for a longer time until a potential mate or other martin shows up.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Posts: 802
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 sucessful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged.
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged.
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
Home colony: mix natural gourds, 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
PMCA member

At first they will be looking for areas to nest, scoping out different areas and generally getting used to an area again. From what I've read, they are a little lazy about selecting their home first few days and will show up in the morning but watch for the nighttime arrivals. If you have a Martin or two looking over your houses and they decide they like it while you are at work (for example) , watch for the dusk returns, it could be very fast. They will be inquisitive but nervous so don't jump around the yard in celebration just yet. Watch the skies for soaring birds, they will want to eat and watch over the place.
My own example was ASY pair and two other pairs arrived all at once, I think they abandoned a nearby site for some reason. My neighbor saw them the day before, next day bam, had martins. So no telling.
Sounds to me that you have done everything right, so now the waiting begins! Good luck and welcome to the PM world.
PMCA member, believer in SREH and predator protection.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

I am very impressed with your martin house improvements so far.
Before your colony is occupied by martins, you might consider insulating the attic space of your houses to keep the attic heat from transferring and percolating into the compartment spaces.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
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