Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

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Bird Brain
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX

Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Bird Brain » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:51 am

Hi. I'm already thinking about next year. Next year will be my 4'th year trying, which is a good thing in my opinion. Time served. Does offering different types of cavities help attract martins ? Currently, I offer Troyer verticals and Troyer horizontals. I'm thinking about integrating a few Chirpy Nests and Heritage Farms Quad Pods to the mix. Does offering more diversity of cavities help attract that first pair ? Also, one more question. I currently offer 12 cavities. Would increasing the number of cavities offered help attract that first pair ? I have the ability to offer as many as 40 cavities. Just not sure if it would help. Money is not an issue. I just want to attract that first pair.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.

Hanover Bill
Posts: 583
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

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Hanover Bill » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:05 am

I would say yes. Especially when trying to attract your first nesters. In my own case I started with a plastic house, added gourds, Troyer horizontal and verticle, and finally found success when I also put up a T-14. The T-14 seemed to put me over the finish line. Of course all of this took 5 years to attract those first two nesting pairs. Strange thing is that even though the T-14 seemed to be the difference maker, my Martins now prefer the gourds.

For whatever reason a Martin picks a certain type of housing, I guess it stands to reason that the more options we present them with the better chances that they will be attracted to one type or the other.

As for the question is more better, just keep in mind that every empty compartment is an invitation to HOSP and Starlings. You will probably be better off adding housing as you go, but starting out with a reasonable number of compartments.

Best wishes for next season.

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

Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Long Lake SD
Martin Colony History: Had 2 wooden and 1 plastic house up since 2004. Added plastic gourds to housing in June of 2015, had SY male stay for 3 weeks. Had lots of late visitors during late fall migration while playing martin chatter CD. Added more decoys and multiple styles of plastic gourds to my spread in worked - 1 pair (ASYM + SYF) fledged both young that hatched!! S & S control done studiously every year.

2017 - 4 nesting pairs, 16/17 eggs hatched and all 16 young banded and fledged. Also had 5 extra SY males and 1 SY female stay during the nesting season.

2018 - 10 nesting pairs (7 ASYM, 3 SYM & 3 ASYF, 7 SYF), 52 eggs, 46 hatched, 45 fledged, 29 banded. Two banded males from 2017 hatch returned home. One successfully nested, the other stayed a few weeks and left.

2019 - 32 nests, 160 eggs - 25 ASYM & 7 SYM. The two males banded in 2017 again returned home now in ASY plumage, and two SY females and one SY male banded in 2018 returned in 2019. 87 HY banded in 2019.

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby randyM » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:09 am

Before you add any additional housing to your site, make sure you have open flyways to your existing housing, with any existing trees in the area as far from your housing as possible. As these variables will likely have more of an effect on birds selecting your site to nest than what type of housing you provide.

If you're looking to add different options for martins to choose, I'd suggest adding a multi-unit house to your site instead of more single unit nesting options. When I started my colony site I had a situation opposite of your set up as I only had multi unit houses and no gourds to begin with. I had a plastic house and two wooden houses up for a decade with little interest from martins. I added gourds to my housing and the very next day I had that stayed a month and came back the next year with a mate to successfully nest. They nested in one of the wood houses I offered. Interestingly, I offer about 3 wood house cavities for every 1 plastic gourd cavity (Super gourds and big bo gourds) and have only had one pair nest in a gourd in the 4 years I've had an active colony. I have all round holes at my colony. Not sure if adding gourds made my colony more attractive to martins or not, but I sure don't think it hurt anything.

Good luck next year...year 5 typically seems to be a good year for many beginning colonies.

Black Jack
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Black Jack » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:51 pm

Where I am from in North Carolina. Open farm fields with house as back drop and home grown gourds painted white seems to be the ticket.

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