No more gourds for me

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Otee977
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:42 am
Location: Prescott Ar

Third year to host martins , got k18 up two years , horizonal troyers , sunset inns on dual purpose , 12 cavities , up two years , trendsetter 12 first year , both housesing units full of eggs and young , k 18 , big lean zero
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2997
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

My colony used to run about 50/50 gourds V T14. This year I might be 60/40 for the T14. But the gourds I do have that fill up are the troyers. The martins seem to love them. I have a mix of horizontals, verticals, big bo's, and Bo 9's. The Big Bo's and Bo 9's have tunnels on them and they are still zero this year. Not one nesting pair chose any of them. As soon as the SY migration stops I will tape them off so the competitors can't move in.
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.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1491
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.

That is surprising. My sister in Seguin, TX has 2 K Series 18 gourd racks with Troyer Horizontal Gourds and each year it is full of ASY pairs.
I guess that different martins are attracted to different housing.
Maybe after all of your houses are full the martins will take to the K18 gourd rack with THGs. I would not give up on it yet.
Be watchful of starlings breaching the Conley II entrances on your Troyer Horizontal Gourds. The first year she had the THGs with Conley II entrances the starlings were a big problem. After that struggle, she added Lewis Modifications to all of the Conley II entrances and no further starling breaches.
The purple martins zip in and out of the Lewis modifications as if they are round holes.
Mark.
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.
Hanover Bill
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

It seems in my area of Western Pa. gourds are now the preferred housing for the Martins. It seems like it has been a gradual transition from a preference for houses like the T-14, which used to be preferred, to a preference for gourds. This is the second year in a row in which the gourds have vastly outperformed the house. Gourds are about full and the house is less than half full.

Not sure what the reason is. One possibility is that the house is always under some pressure from HOSP, as they seem to be attracted much more to houses than to gourds. One way or the other it's an interesting study.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
pmlover
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: OH/New Concord

the martins originally were housed in gourds by the Indians. The gourds are more natural to the pms. They normally love them more then the housing. I have 60 and they are 100 % full. I actually have four houses without nests. Good luck and I pray God fills up your gourds.
Dick
2015 69 pairs 418 eggs 396 fledged
2019 I have 148 openings now
2016 100 pairs 600 babies fledged added another t-14 and have 126 openings now
2015 Jun 24 360 babies and 58 eggs also found one that had died
2017 632 babies 11died and 20 were killed by hawks
2015 74 pairs and 9 eggs 5/14
2010 3pairss
]JOINED PMCA JUNE 6,2018
2018 651 babies 5 hawk kills 11 floater kills 25 died in houses and 610 fledged

2014 80 pairs 283 babies 282 fledged one died
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

I started with a house but gradually switched to 100% gourds. The starlings and sparrows love the houses so much, I found it easier not to have any houses. The starlings and sparrows would drive the martins away from the houses before I could shoot or trap them the scum birds.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
flexauger
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:29 am
Location: north central, ARK
Martin Colony History: 15 year landlord
117 babies in 2017
bio gourds 11 inch, on pushup poles
adding a winch pole for 2018, 24 more gourds

like Emil i started with those barn looking houses years ago and gradually gone to all gourds almost all are the bio11, the extra room in the bio11 really pays off i have several nest with 8 eggs each. The sparrows have shown no interest in the gourds which i am thankful for, i could not keep them away from the old barn style housing. on may 23 i did my first total nest check, 52 gourds, 37 gourds had 184 eggs, 13 gourds had no eggs but about 6 of those appeared to be still building the nest, 6 or 7 appeared vacant. i am hoping to gain another 5 nest by next week with maybe another 25 eggs to add to my 184 which will put me over the 200 eggs i have been pushing for the last few years. I have given two of my neighbors some of my old, some where actually new, barn type houses just to get them started and hope the martin bug bites them ha ha, would be good for me and for them to have more housing around and not just at my place. The location seems to be of the martins liking about a 2 or 3 acre field which i keep bush hogged, a power line down the middle, a wood line on 3 sides, about 7 or 8 ponds on surrounding properties for water, just scatered the poles around kinda centered on the open area. I wish all the new landlords much luck and i hope martins will soon take to the houses being offered by them, we are all rooting for you!
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1491
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.

In the city limits of this community, there are many restrictions on anything mounted on a pole. Theoretically I cannot have a purple martin house on a pole. I have been lucky so far that no one has contacted code enforcement and made me take down the purple martin houses. I have even avoided erecting a larger house such as a Trendsetter to avoid the attention.
No matter how compact a gourd rack might be, they present a larger visual impact than a compact house (like a modified Trio Grandpa/MSS12). So I feel uncomfortable putting up any gourd racks. A gourd rack might draw too much attention and ruin the purple martin housing that I already have.
I appreciate and admire gourds and gourd racks.
Mark.
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.
Ransom Graham
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:13 pm
Location: Newton, NC

The main reason that gourds are far superior is the fact that nesting areas are spaced farther apart and this reduces fighting and defending of multiple nest. Also it's a heckuva lot of fun growing and fixing up your gourds. If you hang gourds from a tree or porch you can attract all kinds of birds to nest in them. After the gourds are dry and you drill your drain holes, access hole and opening they should be soaked for 15 minutes in a copper sulfate solution. A gourd prepared this way will last 20 years if occasionally painted and put up each winter. Gourds are great housing and offer a lot of fun in preparation. I have half plastic and half natural. Don't give up on gourds.
Otee977
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:42 am
Location: Prescott Ar

I appreciate all the input, and I will keep the k 18 unit up for awhile ,I have been adding one new unit each year , my like by far is the Trensetter 12 and the birds prefer it also on a 3” sq pole and winch system, all mine are on 3” square pole with winch
Brad-AL
Posts: 566
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:00 pm
Location: North AL

Gourds rule the roost around here. I put up a Trio Castle, modified to enlarge the compartments, in the midst of 3 fully occupied gourd racks and in 2 seasons had ZERO nesting pairs in the house.

Wanna swap a Trio Castle for your gourds?
High quality plastic gourds with porched, tunnelled SREH are Martin magnets.
PMDavid
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: 2018 1 lone nut and lots of visitors
2019 6 pair -21fledged
2020 18 pair -60 fledged
2021......to be seen.
24 natural gourds on a satellite rack,9 other gourds scattered around
2-12 compartment trio houses
Rarely see a sparrow or starling,but when I do they don’t last long!
Will have a second satellite rack for the 2022 season and phase out the houses,the martins here strongly prefer natural gourds.

Well gourds fans, it’s I want your opinion time.....I’m currently finishing up a 16 gourd rack and finishing up building all natural gourds(for fledgling lookers this year) in prep for next year! Opinions.....I’m modifieing my gourds with tube through the hanging holes for the wire so I have no overhead leak. I’m drilling a tight hole for rubber hose then caulking around it well. Looks really slick and will paint out very nicely once it’s dry. Anyone else done this and what do think about it? This is my first year into martins but I think I’m doing all the right things. I’ve seen way better results around the area with gourds than with houses so I’m goin all out with gourds,and I think they are cool to build to a custom gourd. I don’t have any nesters,but do have neighbor lookers that come visit and check em out. Maybe some fledglings and later migrates will have an interest and remember my site for next year? I also have devised a neat rain canopy and I’m going to vent with a 3/4” street ell on the back of the neck. It’s takin a lot of work now ,but then it’ll be done and look cool
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I use gourds because they like the room and I can grow them (S&K big bo plastic gourds are popular also). But, I learned that you cannot just hang them and let them sway as the wind will blow. Albertro - this evening - We had maybe 60-70 MPH winds with a storm front and the gourds that I hang with complete freedom to swing failed spectacularly (AGAIN, this is the 2nd time but much worse tonight) this evening. The porches are like sails that will swing a gourd to the point of dumping eggs and newly hatched babies right 10+ ft down to the grass in the cold rain.

That was my world this evening. 24 eggs, maybe 6 hatchlings. Those that were alive I put in gourds.

The gourds I adopted to mounting on 3/8" rods that go through the top and only allow side to side swinging did OK. I doubled the number of gourds on a rack by putting 3/8 rods horiz through the tee rack and a gourd on each side of the rod. The rack swinging was much less (my racks can rotate around the pole), gourds were stable. No issues, but I will have to nest check them all in a day or two and clear out the debris.

Lesson learned AGAIN, limit the degrees of freedom on gourds, especially with porches.

I feel like a real sh*t right now. The adults are mostly OK. The barnies have 5 poopers and the adults are OK. TS are OK I assume cause they have boxes except for one that is a swinging gourd and I swill look again in the morning.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

This morning I took down 8 gourds that were dangling from a 3" PVC tee rack and had dumped eggs yesterday. I installed 4 ea 3' long, 3/8" dia 6061-T6 AL rods horizontally where the inner 4 gourds were dangling. 4 rods = 8 gourds this way as I put one on each side. I also drilled the 3/8" through holes on that rack for future expansion. I have 4 more of these rods and will do 8 more gourds on another rack this afternoon, converting another rack. 16 more rods on the way from Aircraft Spruce and that will eventually allow me to have 16 gourds per rack on 4 racks. The method of mounting by having the gourd swing on the 3/8" rod that passes through the top of the gourd, allowing ONLY side to side swinging, will be my only way to hang them anymore.

A hard lesson learned. So far, each gourd had eggs almost ready to hatch or had them dumped out. They like gourds but it is up to the landlord to make sure they are safe in a storm event. And it is supposed to get rough again today.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Hey, Otee977, Glad you've decided to keep the gourds :grin: , Just curious, how are they vented ? pre-nested ?
any way, best of luck to you next season ! :grin:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

So I switched 8 more dangling gourds under where the worst carnage was. The other remaining 8 danglers that I put the eggs and babies into are being tended but since I am out of 3' rods they will have to wait. The second set of 8 had what I think are live babies in 3 (one had 7 alive), and the others had nice empty nest bowls. What a nest check to take a occupied gourds down, dangle all 8 on a pole stretched between 2 sawhorses, take down the tee rack and drill it for the rods and install them ready to put gourds on, put it back up and then... move, open, check, DRILL a 3/8" hole through plastic, put the gourd on the new shaft mount and secure it. Repeat 8 times. Took about an hour because I have the process down- by myself. The adults came right back as soon as I pulled away the PU truck I stand on to do this.

As for the guy who wanted to sleeve the hole the wire is run through... caulk is perfectly fine and if you can keep that dangerous dangle wire from moving in the hole it helps reduce the degrees of freedom they can swing by. If the wire can't move, it can't leak or waller out the hole. My mount system was user friendly with a loop hook on the rack and an intermediate S hook, but porches and a lot of freedom to swing are bad. I used #12 insulated wire and that loop is still handy for winter storage and painting
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
PMDavid
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: 2018 1 lone nut and lots of visitors
2019 6 pair -21fledged
2020 18 pair -60 fledged
2021......to be seen.
24 natural gourds on a satellite rack,9 other gourds scattered around
2-12 compartment trio houses
Rarely see a sparrow or starling,but when I do they don’t last long!
Will have a second satellite rack for the 2022 season and phase out the houses,the martins here strongly prefer natural gourds.

Hi Chris, you are right about too many degrees of swing,in a big wind it can make for a wild ride! I’m probably over anilitical about stuff but what I came up with is this......I’m using actual 3/8” OD. 3/16” ID fuel line for the wire hole sleeves. When installed in the neck drill both holes in a slightly downward direction and when the sleeve is installed it forces it to go in with a slight curve in it inside. Then use #10 solid coated wire that you almost have to force through it and Shazam all that swing is dampened away! The swing you’re left with is whatever still exists at the attachment point on the arm. Swing is basically cut in half. I probably spend too much time on “research and development” when I could just keep it simple. I’m my own worst enemy for complicating things I shouldn’t. Thanks for your input,others ideas always help the thought process.
handyman315
Posts: 298
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.

Interesting thread.

I share the opinion/experience that HOSP take such intense early interest in apt style housing that they drive my Martins to gourd housing. Have 14 PMs in my second-year (of nesting) colony and all the PMs are in S&K gourds with tunnels.

Could not shoot the HOSP fast enough to keep them from harassing my PMs, esp the SYs; and spent way too much time closing off the enlarged 6-unit barn style housing while PMs were looking for housing - now totally empty.

The HOSP show little to no interest in the gourds, perhaps partly because the gourd rack is closer to the (people) house.

Starlings are virtually no issue, Tree Sparrow problem solved last year (shepherd hook gourd 30" from gourd rack), but despite very few HOSP overall, they are still a major problem. Trap & shoot those rats!
2020-31 Nesting Pair Fledged 133, three early deaths due to cold & rain
2019-19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84
2018-11 Nesting Pair Fledged 48, ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs
2017-3 Nesting Pair Fledged 13, FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Adult Residents
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Using the "death dangle" is OK IMO on 2" round hold gourds, but no way should you dangle a porch equipped gourd. 70 MPH winds will turn them sideways. I finished changing over the last 8 gourds yesterday. Now each tee rack has room for 16 or even 20 gourds instead of 8. At some point the PVC rack will fail, either from the weight of the gourds and/or the sun degradation.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

The rod mounting system is working really well. I have some big box hdwe store sourced rods and they are way too soft and bend easily (maybe a sign of a predator attack), but the 6061-T6 rods are perfect.

I have a dangling 1.5" gourd for a TS, but NEVER will a porch equipped PM gourd be death dangled around here again.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
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