The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4283
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

Postby Steve Kroenke » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:31 pm

The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

The 2019 purple martin season for our two colonies, mine and my neighbor Bob, in northwest Louisiana is ending. It has been a good year for the most part and probably between 1500 and 2000 martins have fledged so far with a few more to go before it all ends. We probably had over 500 pairs of martins nesting this season.

We had our usual problems with single SY male infanticide incidents during late April and through May, migrant Accipiter hawk and merlin attacks during March and mainly April, and now resident Cooper’s hawk predation on martin fledglings. Only one rat snake so far has been caught in a net trap and little evidence of great horned owl predation. Most starling issues eliminated BEFORE the martins arrived with my early starling trapping program. Others later on shot/trapped and our colonies were starling free. Only shot one male house sparrow back in March and no other problems with sparrows. No parasite problems such as mites found in the nests. Using 5% Sevin has done a great job keeping these pests under control. So a pretty good season so far!

Here are two photos of our now “lonely looking” martin colonies on July 18. We do have martins visiting in the mornings and still have some roosting. But I believe I have only about 15 pairs left with nestlings and some of these are getting ready to fledge any day now. Bob may have a few pairs left, too. The first photo is my colony composed of 17 systems, including 13 gourd racks and four Trendsetter houses, two of which have gourds underneath. Bob has 13 systems, including three gourd racks, five Trio Castles, three Lone Star Goliads, and two of Bob’s own aluminum systems.

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PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Birds
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:35 am
Location: Northeast OH
Martin Colony History: 2017: nothing, 2018: discovered the PMCA, new house modifications 2019:Still no Martins. House sparrow and starling hate forever.

Re: The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

Postby Birds » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:04 pm

Seeing the Martin s leave always gives me a depressed feeling. It helps me to think of next year .
Last edited by Birds on Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2017 :installed a Martin house hoping for Martins.
2018 :discovered the PMCA made modifications to a heath house .
2019 : Still no martins yet. House sparrow and starlings hate forever.
Tip :never give up

Black Jack
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

Postby Black Jack » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:20 pm

Hats off 2 both of you Steve! Love hearing what you and your friend accomplished this year. God Bless. :grin:

Birds
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:35 am
Location: Northeast OH
Martin Colony History: 2017: nothing, 2018: discovered the PMCA, new house modifications 2019:Still no Martins. House sparrow and starling hate forever.

Re: The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

Postby Birds » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:24 pm

Yes amazing accomplishment I would rather visit your colony vs a zoo !! For real. Good work 👍
2017 :installed a Martin house hoping for Martins.
2018 :discovered the PMCA made modifications to a heath house .
2019 : Still no martins yet. House sparrow and starlings hate forever.
Tip :never give up

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4283
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: The Season Is Ending For Our Two Purple Martin Colonies

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:25 pm

Thank y'all for the nice comments! Bob and I really enjoy raising MANY purple martins and hope they will seed new colonies and expand existing ones. We also have five satellite martin colonies in northwest Louisiana and two are mainly managed by some helpers. These colonies also raise many martins.

Not near as many martins coming back to roost now as the season is almost over. We have a few pairs that have recently fledged their young and they have been bringing their babies back to roost. I believe I have about 12 or 13 pairs still with nestlings but some of these are ready to go. I believe there will be at least two pairs that will fledge their young around the first week in August if they survive. We rarely have martins still with babies in the nests in August.

For the last several days another aerial predator has arrived to hunt the martin fledglings. The other being the Cooper's hawk. This new predator is the Mississippi kite and occasionally they will try to catch martins. I have watched a mature kite and several juveniles make dives at martins and none have been successful. The adult martins can out fly the kites though these kites are agile and swift in a dive; the kites are not that fast in level flight and adult martins have little to fear. Recent martin fledglings are vulnerable. In the past I have seen kites catch two martin fledglings by snatching them off power lines. The adult martins give their predator alarm vocalization and readily mob the kites in the sky. Kites eat many dragonflies and cicadas.

I am already thinking about 2020 and possible changes to my martin colony! I do this every season!
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season


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