Finally Done!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Finally Done!

Postby Steve Kroenke » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:47 pm

For my personal purple martin colony, all gourds and nest trays pre-nested with pine straw. FINALLY DONE! I will be raising everything around the middle of January. There are 352 plastic gourds, including Troyer Horizontals with tunnels/porches and with cling plates, Troyer Verticals, PMCA Excluders, and Super Gourds with outside/inside porches. I have two Trendsetter aluminum houses, one 16 room house and a 12 room system for 28 cavities. The total cavities for the 2020 martin season will be 380.

Bob, my next door neighbor, and I are making changes to some of our satellite martin colonies in our general area. We are replacing some of the real old Trios with Bob’s own aluminum designed houses. We currently have five satellite martin colonies and two are largely monitored by other folks helping us. We hope to have all changes made during January, weather permitting. When we get everything ready, I hope to post some photos of these satellite colonies. Bob started all these colonies many years ago, I believe some in the 1980s. Since moving out here, I have helped him upgrade the colonies with new systems and monitor the sites. Our satellite martin colonies raise many martins each season and hopefully inspire other folks to become martin landlords.

Here are two photos. One photo shows my entire colony with all systems lowered except a 12 Trendsetter which has three starling traps inside to catch any early starlings that make the mistake of “checking in but not checking out alive”. Another photo shows my largest gourd rack, a 36 gourd Super System. This system was 100% occupied by martins in 2019. I have a variety of gourd styles on the rack, including Troyer Horizontals with tunnels/porches, Troyer Horizontals with cling plates, Troyer Verticals, and Super Gourds with outside/inside porches. Most of my gourd racks utilize a variety of gourd styles.

Image

Image
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

PMDavid
Posts: 370
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

Re: Finally Done!

Postby PMDavid » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:57 pm

Great work Mr. Steve! That makes me tired just looking at all those gourds to clean and nest. Maybe one of these days when I get my birds built up and a bit more time I can increase the size the size of my operation. I’ll let the birds dictate,if their numbers rise well I will respond in kind with more accommodations. Looks great,enjoy your season
David.

Rodger Drye
Posts: 649
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Rodger Drye » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:20 pm

Hey Steve,

Looks like you’ve got everything squared away and headed in the right direction for the 2020 season. I see you have a great open space all around your Colony, providing easy access flyways for your Birds. I’m sure they appreciate that as well. It must be Great to have a friend like “Bob” to help share experiences with. How long have you known him and where did you guys first meet up.? I wish I had some close neighbors that enjoyed Martin’s as much as I do. I do have a friend that seems interested in Purple Martins, as he is always asking me questions about them. However, I don’t know if he has ever put up any gourds. He lives about 45 miles from me so it is a good ways from here.
Looks like your hitting on all cylinders, keep it up and hope you have a Super Season.

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Steve Kroenke » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:41 am

Rodger,

So glad I moved to northwest Louisiana which has proven to be a purple martin paradise! Finally I have a truly open location without all the tall trees surrounding my martin colony!

I "met" Bob online via this Forum! We often communicated about Accipiter hawk problems with our colonies. I finally met Bob and his girl friend Sharron at Purple Martin Fest at Victor Stoll's large martin colony in Finger, Tennessee in 2000.

I decided to retire early and asked Bob if there was any land for sale near his martin colony. He contacted a lady who owned a lot next to his and she sold it to me and I also bought another lot on the other side of his property from the lady's sister. So I retired to northwest Louisiana in December of 2004, started my martin in 2005, and the rest is history!

Yes, it's great to have a friend who loves martins. I have enjoyed working with Bob on his satellite martin colonies, too.

Our purple martin season is rapidly approaching ! I hope you have a fantastic martin season in 2020!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

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

Re: Finally Done!

Postby rrmartins » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:15 am

WOW!!! How long do nest checks take? Whew, that’s a lot!!
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

brent
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Re: Finally Done!

Postby brent » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:16 am

Awesome sight! I bet it's spectacular when the martins arrive and build. I live in Raceland and have two trendsetters and the sight of them filled with happy martins in incredible. I can only imagine your sight. It must be overwhelming. I am eagerly awaiting my arrivals. Have a great season.

Brent

James Strickland FL
Posts: 2245
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Reidsville NC
Martin Colony History: 2017 Had a lot visitors no Matins nesting, hoping 2018 will be different.
2018 Had 1 pair
2019 had 30 pair

Re: Finally Done!

Postby James Strickland FL » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:31 pm

Steve as always your site is looking great. I still have 6 weeks before I have to get my site ready for there return. I have not seen any Starlings as of yet and I hope I have really reduced there numbers over the years. I am thinking of putting a few round holes that are just sitting in the shed. I had around 30 pair last year and it was my 3rd season. So I am hoping to increase that number. I went from 1 pair to 30 in a short time. I think I am going to put up 70 gourds to see what happens. Good luck as if you need it and keep posting as I always enjoy reading your postings. It hard to believe that I have been reading you work since 2004 maybe before when you were in Fl.
PMCA MEMBER

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Steve Kroenke » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:45 am

Rrmartins,

I do "spot nest checks" to check things out. I did a massive nest check last year on all my stuff, counted nestlings and it was overwhelming! So I will focus on my usually procedure.

Having a huge martin colony does make it more difficult and time consuming to conduct nest checks. That is one of the negative aspects of super martin colonies. But I observe my martin colony very closely and try to keep a watch for possible problems.

Steve

Brent,

We usually get our first "scout" the last week in January. During February more ASYs come back and by the end of the month there may be well over a 100 martins here. Then during March comes the main influx of ASYs and both our personal colonies, mine and my neighbor Bob, are loaded with martins. April is the main month for SYs to arrive and they continue well into May; we still get some ASYs in April.

Louisiana has a large purple martin population and most folks in this state can attract them if their site is appropriate.

I know you enjoy seeing all those martins on your Trendsetters and my Trendsetters are usually well occupied each season. I generally have higher occupancy levels in the gourds as martins seem to like the territorial privacy provided by gourds in my colony.

I hope you will post some photos of your Trendsetters with martins on them! Have a great martin season in 2020!

Steve

James,

Good to hear from you! We have been enjoying each other's posts on the Forum for many years and remember how you worked so hard to attract martins in south Florida where you previously lived. And you established a nice colony there!

Now you have a great martin colony in North Carolina and it's growing! Yes, you should add some more gourds and see if your colony can expand some more. I believe I have seen a photo of your current site and it is open and looks ideal for martins.

I usually eliminate what I call "early starlings" during the fall and early winter. I catch a few starlings in my cavity traps in several raised houses and in a separate system with only traps. So far I have trapped five early starlings and all were in their winter plumage. We don't have much of a starling problem and I have been able to easily control starlings through trapping/shooting. I started my current martin colony in 2005 and not a single martin or martin egg or nestling has been harmed by any starlings.

We use all round holes in our two personal martin colonies and all crescents in our five satellite colonies. Both entrance types have worked well. We use the crescents in our satellite colonies because there are more starling issues in these locations and we are not there to monitor the sites daily.

I wish you the best in 2020 with your martin colony and look forward to seeing some photos!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

tor
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

Re: Finally Done!

Postby tor » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:10 pm

Good Luck on your season, Steve. Just got done this afternoon myself. They usually get here around Feb. 20ish.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
Torlo.com - Live Life Like There is No Tomorrow

Rodger Drye
Posts: 649
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Rodger Drye » Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:11 pm

Hey Steve,

Just got through visiting with one of my son’s and family and picked up my I-Pad Air. I told him that I spend some time on this Forum talking to Folks all across the U.S. about our beloved Purple Martin’s..! I pulled up your last post to me showing your Colony with all the Poles, Gourd’s, and Trendsetter’s. He liked to have fell over.! Wow!! He said who has time to care for this many Martin’s. I told him you had 17 Poles and Systems and had over 300+ Pairs every year.! And that you fledged well over 2000 new Martin’s each year.! He said “Dad” I thought you had a lot of Poles and Martin’s, but nothing like this. He was really surprised.

All I can say is Hey “Keep Em Coming”.!

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.

Steven Spencer
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:53 am
Location: Jasper. Texas

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Steven Spencer » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:04 pm

Looks awesome Steve. I always look forward to your reports and insights! Yes we are getting very close here down South. Your birds show up about 7 days before mine which is interesting since I'm about 90 or so miles south of you.
You keep us well informed about your techniques for avoiding/deterring predators but have not seen you mention owls. Do you do anything special to deter owl predation? I have lots of GHO around me and I think one may have gotten past my guards last year. I ending up buying one of those "dancing scarecrows" much to my wife's dismay but I think it may have helped. Hawks....that's a different story. Last year was the worst in all of my 15 years of this hobby.
BTW tell Bob I still have the green/white T-14 he gave me years ago. I've had to replace two of the doors but its still going strong!

Steven

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:05 pm

Tor,

Good luck to you on your season, too! It is always a good feeling to get all your martin stuff finished and ready. Though it is still just a little early, I am already looking and listening for that first martin! I had an ASY male return on January 31 in 2019.

Steve

Rodger,

I think some of the local folks around here must think we are just a little "eccentric" with all our purple martin gourd racks and houses in our front yards! People often slowdown when they drive by and some even take photos! Occasionally somebody will actually stop by to ask about our martin colonies.

I know eventually we will have to downsize our super large martin colonies as we get older and can't keep up with all the management. But hopefully that is still a few years away.

Glad your son was "wowed" with my martin colony!

Take care!

Steve

Steven,

Good to hear from you and glad you like the photos and updates!

We seem to always get a purple martin during that last week of January. The earliest so far has been January 24 one year. I remember one January I got an ASY male one day and Bob got his "scout" the next day!

I will definitely tell Bob you still have the T-14 he gave you years ago. Glad you are putting it to good use!

We have great horned owl problems every year and these owls are mainly after the hundreds of martin fledglings that roost all over the gourd racks and houses in June and July. The fledglings are easy pickings sitting out there in the open. The owls catch some and eventually the martins quit roosting in large numbers out in the open. The owls never bother with the martins inside the gourds and houses. There is not much that can be done with all those visible and exposed martins sitting out in the open. I sometimes even start chasing the martins off the gourd racks/houses to keep them from roosting and becoming owl food.

I have seen that "dancing scarecrow or man" for sale! Now I don't blame your wife's dismay about having "that thing" in the yard and dancing all night long! Seems like that would work at least for awhile, but I do wonder if the owls would get used to it. i have tried regular scarecrows and these did work for a few nights but then failed even though I moved the scarecrows around. I wonder if the "dancing scarecrow" would cause the martins that are roosting out in the open and all over the gourd racks/houses to flush into the night?

We have Accipiter hawks and merlins attacking our martins frequently as they migrate through our area during February, March and mainly April. The resident Cooper's hawks inflict heavy losses on the martin fledglings during June and July. I have seen as many as 5 or 6 martin fledgling kills a day at times. We probably lose well over 100 martin fledglings to the hawks each season. Nearly all these kills are AWAY from our colonies. The hawks catch the martin fledglings out the tops of trees or off power lines usually several hundred yards away.

My use of martin and mourning dove plastic decoys does help to deflect the migrant hawks from the real martins but has little impact on the resident hawks which hunt the martin fledglings "at a distance". I have seen some awesome attacks, particularly by diving Cooper's hawks on the martin and dove decoys!

Thanks for responding and wish you much success in 2020 and many fewer hawk attacks!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4322
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:15 pm

David,

I am sorry I missed your January 7 response initially! Thanks for your nice comments. Yes, see how your martins responds to your houses/gourds and if you see lots of new martins trying to move in and fight with existing pairs, then perhaps add more gourds/houses.

We do have problems with later arriving SY male martins that try to usurp the nests of ASYs with eggs and small nestlings. Unfortunately, some of these SY males will commit infanticide by throwing out featherless nestlings in an attempt to take the nest and mate with the female. Last year I even added some some gourds to the bottoms of several of gourd rack poles to try to encourage these males to move. It did help and most of the gourds did have nesting SY pairs. These gourds were only about 6 feet off the ground.

Wishing a great martin season!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Rodger Drye
Posts: 649
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Re: Finally Done!

Postby Rodger Drye » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:21 pm

Steve,

You and your Colony really remind me of my Dad’s Colony. I think if I remember right he only had 10 Poles - Systems. But every single Gourd was occupied. He lived right on the river at a place called “River Haven”, back up in a cove.

There were some huge Power lines that ran right next to his property. His Martin’s would flock to these Power lines and it made quite a spectacle.

On the weekends folks would drive by his place and circle or loop the drive that was in front of his house. Quite often people would stop in and talk about all the Bird’s. My Dad really favored this, in other words “He ate it up”..!! He had a huge Juke Box on his patio facing the river. He had it were a small cassette with I think “Day Time Chatter” hooked into that Juke Box.
Anyway he would play that tape and it would literally drive his Martin’s Wild. They would start flying all around and some would bomb dive us. Dad thought that was really something when they did that. And the visitors were just in “AWE”.! Like something out of a Movie. You couldn’t believe it unless you seen it.

I don’t know exactly how it got started but someone thought his site should be turned into a “ Registered Bird Sanctuary”, because of all the Bird’s.!
Albemarle, NC made a large sign and installed it out in front of his home. He couldn’t have been more proud.!!
He did all that with just those small little brown 6-7/8” plastic Gourds with Round Holes and all his Gourds were made to swing back and forth. You remind me of him because he didn’t have time to do Nest Checks. But let me tell you he did have the Bird’s.!!
At the end of the year I’d always help him clean out his Gourd’s. I’ve always thought that location and being in close proximity to water was always a plus. He was right on the River and the Martin’s just Loved it.

I know that he was really puzzled when he’d ask me how many Bird’s did I have and I’d have to say “Not Many”. I have a huge reservoir (Mt. Pleasant, Reservoir) right across the road from me. Which is a good source of not only water but also dragon flies witch Martin’s Love.

That’s why I say you and your Colony reminds me of my Dad’s Colony.

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot], Tommy Coley and 8 guests