Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4321
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Steve Kroenke » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:43 am

Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Each purple martin season I try to take a photo of a bunch of martins swarming above my colony in northwest Louisiana. Some seasons I get a good photo. Here are three photos showing martins swarming above my colony taken at different seasons. You may be able to see how my martin colony changes in housing composition over the years.

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PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Rodger Drye
Posts: 645
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: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Rodger Drye » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:33 pm

Great Photo’s Steve. You have the Bird’s my man.! Do you offer oyster shells or egg shells to your Bird’s.?
That middle picture can’t tell if you have your Trendsetter’s up or not.? Didn’t you say you were eventually going to all Gourds.?
I’ve always said that my Bird’s like the Gourds the Best. However, just being different I broke down and purchased a T-14 from Andrew Troyer. I personally will never use a Metal Martin House ever again.
They are a lot Hotter exterior and interior and I feel that my Bird’s prefer the privacy an individual Gourd can offer over a cluster of rooms in an Aluminum House.
Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4321
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:07 pm

Rodger,

Yes, I offer both egg shells and oyster shells each season. My martins definitely prefer egg shells but I can't eat enough eggs to provide for our martins all season! But the martins will eat and feed the oyster shells to their babies.

For some reason, when I link certain photos from my Photobucket account to the Forum, the photos link in a smaller format. But on other photos they are full size. I can't figure that one out! So the Trendsetters that I had at the time are in there but behind gourds racks.

I still have two Trendsetters for 2020 but plan to convert both those systems to gourd racks in 2021. At least that is what I plan to do and that could change!

I have good success with aluminum houses in both north Florida and now in northwest Louisiana. The Trendsetters have an internal venting system which helps to circulate air through the rooms.

My next door neighbor Bob used a number of wooden T-14s in his personal colony in northwest Louisiana for many years. He finally got rid of all of them several years ago and now uses all aluminum houses and gourd racks. He really likes Trio Castles and also has some Lone Star Goliads and several of his own aluminum designs. The wooden T-14s are much heavier than aluminum houses and may require more maintenance. His martins completely adjusted to the changes and now his aluminum houses are almost 100% occupied each season.

I am getting close to raising all my gourd racks/houses. We usually see our first martin the last week in January.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Ladybug
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: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Ladybug » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:22 pm

BEAUTIFUL;; Gets the HEART to Pumping. Have a wonderful year, 2020..
Joanne

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: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby PMDavid » Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:52 pm

Mr.steve, I read the posts where Rodger asked about egg and oyster shells. I know this is great for their diet. Can you offer some advice or even photos on how to make a eggshell feeding tray and how high it needs to be and would you just use a hammer to bust up oyster shells? I work at Rapides Regional hospital in maintenance and pretty tight with all the folks in the kitchen so I would be able to acquire a quantity of eggshells. And there is a seafood place that shucks oysters and probably can get some of those also. Pics and your advice would be appreciated. David

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4321
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:55 pm

Ladybug,

Glad you like the photos! It will be purple martin time very soon. I will be raising all my gourd racks and houses in a few days! I wish you the best of luck in 2020!

Steve

David,

You are fortunate to have access to plenty of egg shells! My martins prefer egg shells over oyster shells.

I don't place my egg and oyster shells in any kind of feeder though many folks do. I just spread mine out on my driveway near my martin colony and the martins readily eat and collect them for their babies. In the past I have even placed a piece of square plywood, say maybe three feet in diameter on the ground and spread the shells on it. Worked fine.

The PMCA sells a feeder system for egg and oyster shells.

You could build a simple feeder by attaching a square board maybe two feet in diameter to a pole. To keep the shells from blowing off the board, you could nail/screw strips of wood to the sides maybe one or two inches high. Drill some holes in the bottom of the board to drain off rainwater. Have the feeder three or more feet off the ground. Place the feeder in the middle of your martin colony.

Before you use any egg shells, clean them off to remove any membrane/yolk.I store my egg shells in my freezer until I get ready to use them. When I get ready to use them, I place them in the microwave for several minutes to kill any bacteria. Some folks use their ovens and bake the egg shells. Break up the egg shells into small pieces that a martin could swallow. I use pieces around 1/4 of an inch in diameter; could be a little smaller or a little bigger.

I buy 50 pound bags of pullet size oyster shells at a local feed store. Most of these shells are the right size for the martins. I don't crush these up. Some folks will place oyster shells in a sock and then crush them with a hammer or some kind of metal roller. I would rather buy the bag and oyster shells are not that expensive. I use the oyster shells right out of the bag.

The female martins need calcium for egg development and they readily eat egg and oyster shells. The martin nestlings need the calcium for bone development. The oyster shells may also provide grit that the martin's gizzard will use to grind up insects for digestion. My martins make repeated visits to the egg and oyster shells scattered in my driveway, collect them in their beaks, and feed them to their babies.

I hope this information has been helpful.

Here is a photo showing a bunch of my martins in my driveway feeding on egg and oyster shells and collecting them for their babies.

Image

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

Rodger Drye
Posts: 645
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: Purple Martin Swarms Over My Colony

Postby Rodger Drye » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:33 am

Steve,

As always a Great picture and explanation of the message you are trying to convey.
Several years ago I built a 4 pan feeder out of cake pans and mounted them to a pole not far from my Colony. The Martin’s readily accepted it and frequent it quite often. I will try spreading oyster and egg shells on the ground on my driveway which is not far from my feeder. I see Martin’s on other parts of my drive way I always thought were gathering gravel for their gizzards.

I tried feeding them Crickets out of the same feeder pans but that didn’t go over to good. Maybe they were not hungry enough I don’t know. Actually living here in North Carolina were I do the climate is pretty good so I don’t have to supplement feed like some folks do further North. I.E. like throwing Crickets they way some people do.

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


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