tree swallows

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
gray fox
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:13 am
Location: Tyrone, PA

Would you have a better chance of attracting tree swallows if the box was at 10 feet instead of 5 feet?
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1873
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".

... Gray fox ... I never had any luck attracting Martins as long as I had Tree Swallows around.. Not until I keep the Tree Swallows away, did I get my first pair.. Other people will tell you that Tree Swallows are great to have, but get your Martins Colony established first and then allow the Tree Swallows to move into housing at least 40 to 50 feet away from your Martin Colony.. Good luck...

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
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Long Lake SD
Martin Colony History: 2006 - SY pair, unsuccessful nest attempt, 3 houses = 52 cavities

2010 - ASYM + SYF pair - male disappeared after storm, female fledged all 4 young.

2015 - Lone SYM stayed month of June...added 8 gourds = 60 cavities

2016 - 1 nesting pair (ASYM + SYF) 2/3 eggs hatched 2 young fledged.

2017 - 4 nesting pairs, 16/17 eggs hatched, 16 fledged, 16 banded - 2 banded SY returned in 2018 (12.5%), added housing: 11 houses w/gourds, 4 gourd poles = 376 cavities

2018 - 10 nesting pairs, 46/52 eggs hatched, 45 fledged, 29 banded - 3 banded SY returned in 2019 (10.3%)

2019 - 32 nesting pairs, 145/160 eggs hatched, 139 fledged - 87 banded - 12 banded SY returned in 2020 (13.8%).

2020 - 35 nesting pairs, 180/199 eggs hatched, 178 fledged - 150 banded.

Gray fox, Dave is correct in that inviting tree swallows to nest on your property prior to martins establishing a colony will make it that much more difficult to establish a martin colony....I learned this the hard way. It took me over a decade to get my martin colony started even though the nesting tree swallows at my site only nested in boxes 5 feet above the ground and never nested in the 12' high martin housing. The TS would just chase away any martins that stopped by for a visit.

If you are just trying to attract swallows and don't intend to attract martins, in my experience tree swallows prefer nest boxes lower than 10 feet above the ground, but will accept higher housing if that is all that is available for them to use.
gray fox
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:13 am
Location: Tyrone, PA

I had 44 martins fledge at my home site this year. Im in my 3rd year. Maybe thats some of the reason it took me 29 years to get martins. I had tree swallow interference . Now the bluebirds take a box 25 feet from the Martin rack. It seems the tree swallows wont the Martin rack. If they can't have it they don't won't the other bluebird box 10 feet apart. I moved the box about 75 feet to the other side of the garden but they never nested in it. I keep the gourds closed on the Martin rack until martins are supposed to arrive. Tree swallows arrive a little earlier than martins. Thanks for your response and anymore suggestions.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

My tree swallow boxes are about 4'-5' above the ground. The TS compete with the Bluebirds and TS seem to win out. This year the TS fledged and cleared out rather early. Later in the summer I had hundreds of bank swallows hitting the shallow end of my pond in the mornings and evening.

Swallow Hollow
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.
Posts: 2919
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I have never had any problem getting tree swallows to nest. If the house is 15 foot high or 4 foot high. We might have a higher population then you but I have them everywhere. Last year we had one of those portable basketball goals with the large square plastic base laying over in my driveway. There is a hole in it to add sand or water for weight and I had tree swallows going in and out of that hole which was about 18 inches off the ground, sitting on my gravel driveway. I had to close it up.
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.
Post Reply