Three Photos Of Some Of My Gourd Racks

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4341
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Three Photos Of Some Of My Gourd Racks

As of today May 21, 2019 I have 302 plastic gourds on various gourd racks. I also have four aluminum Trendsetters. Based on close observations of my gourd racks I believe there are now only five or six gourds that are not occupied by purple martins. My Trendsetters have a total of 52 compartments and there may be around seven or eight rooms that are not occupied. All unoccupied gourds and house compartments are still being dominated by aggressive martins.

I must confess I do like gourds better than houses and am seriously considering replacing all my Trendsetters with gourd racks in 2020. But that is still tentative!

Here are three photos of some of my gourd racks with martins. These photos were taken at different years. My favorite gourd rack is the Gemini with its two rings. Just like the style.

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PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Spiderman
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Steve you just have too many birds....lol.

After talking to you, I ended up buying 3 of the round Gemini Gourd racks over a few years. They have solved most of my problems with multiple nest domination. The Troyer horizontal gourds are big and spacious on the inside. It is fairly common to have 6 eggs in most nests and 7 every once in awhile. Spacing is better so a pair find it difficult to control 2 gourds.

It seems the Hawk and owl attacks are even better since Martins are looking in all directions at once and see the Hawk before he gets close. With the deep tunnels the owl can't just reach in and pull a Martin out or pull a door off to expose them.

They are more expensive but I wish I had bought them years ago, it seems like a final solution to multiple problems.

I do still have 2 wooden houses with 18 nest boxes in each that the ASY's fight over and Love. The houses produce allot of babies and are the "initial" attraction to my Colony. Once they check out the gourds most readily move into a Gourd.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Steve
What is your sparrow population like down there? In my area there is a lot of them but they really like houses more then gourds. Last year I had a T14 and a AAA gourd rack with 16 gourds. I would catch approximately 5 times the number in the house then the gourds. This year is the same. I have killed 15 so far and only two of them have been using gourds. I have never seen them try to use my single TS gourds either but every year I fight them from the wood BB houses.
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.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1661
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.

Steve, Do you have any metal chirpy nest boxes and if so, do you like them or not ?
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4341
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Spiderman,

Really we do have possibly too many martins in our colonies: over 500 pairs between Bob and me!

The Gemini is an engineering masterpiece in my opinion. Beautiful and functional design. My four Geminis are usually 100% occupied each season with 96 pairs of martins.

Many years ago I used some wooden houses I built. Not much to look at, but the martins nested in them. Just too heavy and all the maintenance finally convinced me to go with plastic gourds and aluminum houses.

I always have more martins nesting in gourds than houses mainly due to minimize nest domination issues. But the Trendsetters with the staggered holes, one hole per floor and porch dividers have worked very well and sometimes I get 100% occupancy level in a Trendsetter.


Flyin-lowe,

Almost NO house sparrows in our two personal martin colonies. I did shoot one male sparrow back in March when he was perched in bush. We have never had them try to nest in our houses/gourds. Sparrows would have almost no chance of gaining any territory with so many martins defending their nests. Martins with strong site tenacity can successfully defend their nests from sparrows from what I have observed over the years. But sparrows can sneak into unguarded martin nests and destroy eggs and kill small nestlings. We do have some sparrows in our satellite colonies but the returning martins do a pretty good job of keeping most sparrows at bay. But there are always some very aggressive ones that manage to secure cavities. These sparrows are discreetly shot or trapped.

Dave,

I have seen the Chirpy nest boxes on Facebook. I believe a gentleman named Tom builds and sells them. They look interesting and I do like the vertical depth and ventilation/drainage system. I have never tried any yet but would consider trying perhaps next season.
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
sugarcreek
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Steve

What a great setup for martins always enjoy reading and looking at your pic's. Question do you not have starlings in your area and why not go with Starling resistant entrance holes ? Or are all your martins trained on round holes....Sorry if someone asked before.
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 ?
stevenarenson
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 10:19 am
Location: Glencoe, IL

Wow am I jealous. I've been trying for three years and still no luck. Maybe I should switch to gourds rather than the metal structure I have been trying.

I have not figured out how to insert photos into my posts? What is the secret?
Steven Arenson
sjaglencoe@gmail.com
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4341
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Sugarcreek,

Probably everyone has starlings but there are landlords who don't have major starling problems and there are landlords who can successfully control starlings through trapping/shooting. We don't have a big starling problem and I can control starlings through trapping/shooting. I started my Louisiana martin colony in 2005 and not single martin or martin egg or nestling has been harmed by any starling.

I prefer round holes for several reasons. I don't have entrapment issues with round holes and when Accipiter hawks are attacking, martins can more easily enter/exit a round hole. With srehs entrapment can be a problem. We use all crescents entrances in our satellite martin colonies and we have had multiple fatalities of martins dying while stuck in crescents. Plus I have watched Accipiter hawks like the Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks attack our satellite martin colonies, and the martins sometimes struggle to get out or in a crescent hole. This may allow an Accipiter hawk to capture a martin more easily.

However, we do use srehs in our satellite colonies because these colonies are located in more starling rich areas and we can't monitor the sites daily to control any starlings. The srehs do allow us to have these colonies with very little starling interference.

I believe there is a place for both round holes and srehs in purple martin colonies depending on the starling competition issues and the ability of the landlord to control starlings. We use both entrances with success. I appreciate ALL landlords who manage their martin colonies properly and raise martins and not starlings and house sparrows. I don't care if those landlords use round holes or srehs. We are all part of the Purple Martin Family and we should treat each other with respect and appreciation!

Stevenarenson,

Maybe gourds would help! I have had success with gourds in every martin colony I have had. You could add some gourds underneath your metal house or perhaps erect a gourd rack. Do you have any active martin colonies near you? If so, check out what kind of cavities are being used and try that approach.

I use Photobucket to link my photos to the Forum. That's the only way I do it. I believe there are size limitations and there should be information in the Forum help section.
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Spiderman
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I use round hole entrances in my Colony as well.

The Troyer Horizontal Gourds have a slide trap that closes the entrance & a pin release to catch Starlings or sparrows. I had to add a 2oz weight to the slide. The Starling could lift the slide and escape without the added weight. I just put up 6 or 8 gourds with traps in most of them at the 1st of the year.

I also use a stand alone Van Ert trap starting around Jan. 1st. It is the same height as the gourds and 30' away from the Gourd racks. I leave it up until the Martins fledge & leave. It will control Starlings while nesting is occurring. It looks like a bluebird house and the Martins don't show any interest in it

Earliest Martins returns for our site is Feb1st but usually mid Feb to early March.

I catch most of the Starlings/Sparrows before the Martins arrive.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4341
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Spiderman,

My early starling trapping program that begins usually around the first of November and continues through January eliminates many starlings BEFORE the martins arrive. I trap the starlings in Bob's Goliads and my Trendsetters using cavity insert traps I bought from the PMCA. These work great. But my best trapping system uses 4 PMCA nest box traps attached to an old Deluxe gourd rack hub that I raise up and down with a rope/pulley. I call this system the Starling Hotel where starlings check in but don't check out alive! I use this system from November until June/July and more starlings "bite the dust". So my trapping program greatly thins out starlings and I still may shoot several with my shotgun during the year. Starlings are really no problem for our two personal martin colonies. There are photos of my traps on the Forum.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
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