Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

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Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:58 pm
Location: Dakota Cty, MN
Martin Colony History: 2014 - first year, zero activity
2015 - Nothing
2016 - SY male visited and stayed a few weeks, unable to attract a mate
2017 - SY pair arrived June 6 - 3 eggs laid, 2 hatched, 1 fledged.
2018 - ASY male, SY female - 5 eggs, 5 hatched, lost all 5 prematurely
2019 - SY male hungout for a month, no mate, several visitors
2020 - Hopeful....

Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby MNguy » Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:15 pm

Hi All,

Middle of winter here in MN, but looking ahead to green grass and hopefully purple martins. Haven't been able to establish a consistent colony, hoping this is the year. Looking for reviews from the experts on the Songbird Magnet. The reviews on Amazon are all over the map.

Tips/tricks? Do's/Don'ts?

Planning to hook it up to a timer right under my gourd/house setup and running it for a few hours each morning...

Any feedback is appreciated.


Posts: 2721
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby flyin-lowe » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:29 pm

I searched for several good players when I was starting off trying to start a colony. At that time the SBM did not have good reviews, maybe that has changed. What I ended up doing, and what worked best for me, was a dual alarm CD player alarm clock. At the time I would get them from Wal Mart for around $20.00 and they would usually last 2-3 years, but that was due to my set up. At my original colony my housing was behind my pole barn and not real near my house. So I had the alarm clock wrapped up in a trash bag sitting against my barn under the eaves. I had it sitting on a milk crate so it was off the ground, but moisture will still eventually get to it after a couple years. The CD I had was about 75 minutes. So I would set the first alarm to go off at 4:30 and it will play until around 6:00 and I would have the 2nd alarm set for 6:00 and it would play until around 7:15. By the time I started a colony (5 years) I was on my 2nd clock so it wasn't too bad cost wise. Once I had returning martins I never had to mess with it again.

If your house is in a location that is somewhat close to your PM house, I know many people that download the dawn song onto a computer and just run an external speaker from there and set the timer on the computer to play. The player doesn't have to be right on your housing, as long as they hear it and it draws them to your yard they will check out the housing while they are there.
2020 (HOSP Count 2)
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.

Posts: 97
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: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby randyM » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:16 pm

The setup I use at my colony to broadcast the martin CDs is an old CD player that has speaker jack connections in the back for 4 external speakers. I just took 4 old car stereo speakers (just the magnet and shell) and connected them to the CD player with speaker wire (you can get 100' of speaker wire for under $10 at some box stores). I ran each wire to 4 separate perching sites I have scattered throughout my martin housing and hung a speaker next to my martin decoys at each perching station. I just stick the magnet of the speaker directly onto a metal post at each perch station and it's self supporting. I keep the CD player in the garage and just run the speaker wires out a door or window. The CD player has a timer and continuous repeat option so I can set the amount of time the CD plays even when I'm gone for the weekend. I wrap the speakers in plastic bags if I plan to be gone for a day or two to help protect them from the elements. However, the speakers have been rained on dozens of times and keep transmitting the Martin songs even when wet (in the middle of, and after a heavy downpour). I've had the same setup and used the same equipment for over 10 years. I mostly play the CD's when the first martins show up on the scout arrival map for my area and then again every day from when my last martins leave my colony until about Sept. 15 during the fall migration. If you're on a tight budget, you could get car speakers from a salvage yard for little or nothing and if you already have a CD player with connections for external speakers all you'll need is additional speaker wire and the martin CDs and you'll be set to go. Good luck this year!

Posts: 1399
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby rrmartins » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:31 pm

A Bluetooth speaker will let you stream it through your phone. As soon as I saw a martin show up, I would turn it off, they do a much better job on their on. Good luck!!!
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby deancamp » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:54 am

I used a song bird magnet to start my colony by plugging it into a timer for when I wanted it to play. It did handle the weather being mounted outside. The sound was not extremely loud and not real smooth, but it attracted Martins and that's what I wanted. My first one only lasted 2- 3 years, so I don't feel the overall quality is best.

Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:21 pm
Location: South Side

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby MartinBro » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:21 pm

My songbird magnet let me down. Its not as waterproof as they say it is. I left mine out with the speaker pointing up towards the sky. Sometimes I forgot to bring it in and it got rained on or dewed on. Didn't take long before it crapped out on me. It plays dawn song only not daytime chatter. I recommend you buy both C.D.'s on here. Then go to best buy and buy your own ghetto blaster. You can get a good one for about a hundred smackers now.

Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:58 pm
Location: Dakota Cty, MN
Martin Colony History: 2014 - first year, zero activity
2015 - Nothing
2016 - SY male visited and stayed a few weeks, unable to attract a mate
2017 - SY pair arrived June 6 - 3 eggs laid, 2 hatched, 1 fledged.
2018 - ASY male, SY female - 5 eggs, 5 hatched, lost all 5 prematurely
2019 - SY male hungout for a month, no mate, several visitors
2020 - Hopeful....

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby MNguy » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:00 pm

Thanks to all for the replies.

We do have external speakers on the house, right below our bedroom. My wife was not pleased when I was blasting the dawn song at 5:30 am with the windows open. :???:

I think I will give the magnet a try. I have power right below my pole, which is about 30 yards from the house. I can point in out over the pond, so hopefully the sound will carry. Based on some feedback, I'll try to rig up some sort of raincover so water doesn't get into the speaker. I've got a solid 3.5 months to figure it out before the martins arrive in my area. :roll:

Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Indiana/ Jamestown
Martin Colony History: 2005-2019. Lots lookers, 2 successful nesting's.
2010- 1 pair nested,eggs destroyed(Wren).
2012- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2019- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged.

Re: Songbird Magnet - Reviews?

Postby Ladybug » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:49 pm

I bought the SBM 2 years ago, used it lots the first year. I used it last year until the Martin pair nested.
It did bring in the Martins, but I put it up before the season was over as I did have 1 pair nesting, 1 pair
very interested. The male from nesting pair kept chasing 2nd Male off. Better luck this year.
The SBM worked fine for me.

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