Three Purple Martins Arrived At My Colony

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Three Purple Martins Arrived At My Colony

Ladies and Gentlemen, three purple martins, one ASY male and two ASY females arrived at around 2:30 pm on January 28, 2020. I am located in northwest Louisiana, about ten miles north of Logansport, close to the Texas state line. Our personal colonies, mine and my neighbor Bob, are closer to the small community of Longstreet, about three miles away. But for mailing purposes we are in Logansport.

I just happened to step outside and guess what I heard? Yes, the familiar vocalizations of martins. The three martins were on a K24 gourd rack with Troyer Horizontal Gourds. The male seems to enjoy having two females with him!

They all came back to roost in the evening. The male martin entered the same gourd he was in when he first arrived in the afternoon, one female darted in a gourd next to him, and the last female went to a gourd on another rack.

There are still here this morning, January 29, 2020. The two females have already started fighting over several gourds and the male seems to be encouraging it!

Dreary weather today with overcast sky and cool temperatures.

Our purple martin season for 2020 has officially begun!

Here are some photos I took. Cloudy weather and my pitiful photography skills don’t help when taking photos but you can see the martins! You can also see one of my martin decoys on a pole placed several feet above the gourd rack. I am trying this new approach to help deflect attacking Accipiter hawks and merlins away from real martins. I primarily have martin and mourning dove decoys on poles scattered around the perimeters of my colony and my neighbor Bob’s colony to attract attacking raptors. These decoys have probably saved a number of real martins from being caught. I have witnessed spectacular attacks, particularly by Cooper’s hawks on these decoys!

Image

Image
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
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.

Hey Steve,

Well it looks like you are on your way for another great Martin season. Good for you and congratulations.! It will be a while before I see my first Birds, but that’s ok. It’s still very cold here in the piedmont of North Carolina and it’s just as well that the Martin’s stay away for now.
And by the way I think your pictures are always excellent and of high quality.
I did catch my first Starling of the season yesterday, in my Troyer Trap I made. I think this is the earliest I’ve ever caught a Starling. Could be he just went in the trap to spend the night (since nights are still very cold here), but sorry about that he’ll never fly again to harass another Martin. My traps work Great...!

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Hooray - you must be so excited and happy to have them back. I hope you have a great season! :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Rodger,

The next morning, January 29, there were four ASY females and one ASY male martin. That male and his territory were getting a lot of attention from those females! In the evening, three females and the male returned, so perhaps one of the females was just visiting that morning and continued her journey north. It's unusual to see more females than males at the very beginning of the martin season for my colony.

I have caught only five starlings since November in my cavity traps. I caught one male in January and he was almost completely in his breeding "attire". His beak had turned almost completely yellow with just a tad of black at the tip and the base of the beak was already showing the blue/gray coloration. I shot one female starling out of the top of tree in Bob's yard and she was in her breeding attire, too with the base of her beak a pinkish cream color. During the breeding season, male starlings have a light blue or blue/bray base at their beaks and the females mainly a pink or sometimes cream/light pink coloration. Boys blue and girls pink! I usually catch more early starlings. We have a minor starling problem that has been easy to control via trapping/shooting so far.

All my gourds and houses are up but I still need to add two net traps made from bird netting to the two new gourd rack poles. The earliest I have seen rat snakes caught in my net traps has been May.

We already have wintering Accipiter hawks and merlins in our area. I have seen Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks and a merlin attacking birds where Bob feeds birds in his backyard. A female sharp-shinned hawk attacked several of my martin decoys the other day! Our martins have to be vigilant as the bird eating raptors are on the prowl and looking for prey!

I hope you have a great martin season in 2020.

Steve

Hey BillieJR,

Yes, the arrival of the first martins is always exciting! I sometimes hear them first and other times see them high overhead. The males tend to be more vocal and loudly tell you they have arrived!

I hope you have a great martin season in 2020!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
PMDavid
Posts: 440
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.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Good morning Steve,glad to see your birds are returning! Maybe some of mine will begin to trickle in as well. This weekend is supposed to be nice ,so maybe some bugs will come out with the sunshine and offer some recovery food after their long trip. I should be seeing some birds anyway now. This weekend would be fine with me for them to show up! Good luck,keep us posted...David
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey David,

This morning, January 30, another ASY male martin returned to the same gourd rack where the other one is at. Already started fighting over territory and mates! I have never had this many martins to return in January at my current colony in northwest Louisiana. We usually see one or may be two. I may now have five or six martins and will check carefully at roosting time and see how many come in.

Our weather is really "yucky" with overcast sky, north wind and temperatures in the upper 40s and lower 50s. But I am seeing martins catching small flying insects. So there are some "hardy" bugs flying around here.

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
PMDavid
Posts: 440
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.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

That’s great Steve, good to know the bugs are out a bit. Starting over the weekend and all next week the daytime temps and at night are gonna be up a bit so that will benefit the insects being out. Sure wish some of my birds would show up,and believe me I’m lookin. Have a good one. David
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey David,

This evening I had five martins come to roost. There are now two "official" pairs in the gourd rack where the first martins returned on January 28. There is a lone female that seems lost! She goes to multiple gourds before finally settling down to roost. The martins are only entering Troyer Horizontal gourds.

The martins are doing fine and appear to be catching bugs even though the weather is not that good! The weather will get better over the next few days and we may even see that stranger, the sun soon!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
brent
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Wonderful Steve. I've been seeing martins flying but none have yet returned to the houses. Hoping that tomorrow will be the day. The weather has been awful but this weekend it's suppose to be much better. Thanks for sharing!

Brent
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
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.

Hey Steve,

That is so neat to hear you have several more Martin’s already for 2020. I think they must really be attracted to your Colony Site. And why not, you have everything to offer a male or a female Martin...!
I have already caught another Starling in my Troyer Repeater Trap. I have that trap tweaked and fine tuned so it doesn’t take much and they’re caught before they know what happens. It was a male and female Starling. Don’t know if they were a pair or just looking for a place to roost to spend the night.

Broke down and purchased a few Excluder Gourds with Excluder II entrances. I hope I’m not disappointed in these Gourds. I will offer Excluder and Super Gourds this year so we’ll see what happens.

I’m so eager to get my Gourds hung out and get this season started. Next week supposed to be in the 70’s. I’ve installed manufactured numbers on every one of my individual Gourds and they all look so professional. Can’t wait to get them hung to see what they look like on their perspective Racks. New Gourds, new T-14, new Numbering, new Stainless Steel Cable’s, New Nitro-D Gourd Rack hope this all adds up to Great Success. All I need now is the Bird’s.

Rodger, Patiently waiting...!
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Brent,

I'm sure your martins will be home very soon if you are seeing martins flying around.

Our weather has been nasty too, but the martins are catching some insects and showing no signs of stress. There is a warming trend coming and we will probably see a few martins coming in.

Good luck in 2020!

Steve

Hey Rodger,

I have two "official pairs and one lone female that is lonely for a mate! She flies around my colony and visits various racks. She only enters Troyer Horizontal gourds and so do the two pairs. All returned to roost this evening.

I haven't caught/shot anymore starlings but I have seen one wary starling flying around the area. He will probably end up in my traps or meet some shotgun pellets soon!

The PMCA Excluder gourd is my favorite vertical gourd. I have 36 of them and they are 100% occupied by martins each season. I like the vertically deep cavity with the entrance cut higher up on the front of the gourd. The martins are hidden deep down in their gourd and the eggs/nestlings are securely cradled. Plus the Excluder has that "organic" look and reminds of a natural gourd.

You are really making progress on your martin colony for 2020 with new gourds, new T-14, new numbering system, new gourd rack, and more! Doing things like that just adds more enjoyment to the hobby and when everything is in place and ready that makes it even better!

It won't be long before your first martin or martins will arriving.

Good luck and let us know when your first martin arrives!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
PMDavid
Posts: 440
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.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Well good morning all.......
Brent .....I expect to get word from you over the weekend that you’ve had birds return😊. Went out this morning and nothing but stars in the sky,which means.....SUNSHINE TODAY! Yaaaaaaaaaa !!!!! Today or tomorrow should be your day cross ur fingers man.
Mr. Steve........that lonely female that looks lost you have ,ive been thinking.....she’s lost lost cause she overshot my house,go out there look her in the eye and point south! I’m gettin on pins and needles man. The next two days should bring some birds. I’m fixin to go roll the Harley out,do a little chrome shining and head out for a ride about. Gonna go around lookin out in the open and pass a few known colonies 10-15 miles away and observe,just see what I see . Y’all have a good day,and ENJOY THE LONG AWAITED SUNSHINE!
David
Steven Spencer
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:53 am
Location: Jasper. Texas

They showed up right on schedule Steve!
I like the setup with the decoy in the pic. I've always wanted to put a decoy or two on top of the pole perches but didnt want to have to get on a ladder or take the pole down. I didnt think of doing it like you have with the rod attached to the rack angled up 90 degrees.
I am going to try that setup at my colony this year, I will let you know how it works here this year.

Steven
Steven Spencer
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:53 am
Location: Jasper. Texas

Forgot to ask Steve but how did you attach the decoy to the pole/stick?

Thanks, Steven
PMDavid
Posts: 440
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.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Hi there Steve spencer,I know you asked mr Steve,my $.02 worth though......I screwed mine on with a small self tapping screw from the bottom. Went through the small clamp/bracket that comes on it.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey David,

Well today was warmer with lots of sunshine! And a few more purple martins arrived at my colony today. I believe I counted around 9 with some new ASY males moving in. All the martins are going in Troyer Horizontal gourds with tunnels/porches or with cling plates. The Troyer Horizontal seems to be the favorite of my martins and it's my favorite, too.

You should be seeing more martins any day now and please keep us posted on how things are going with your martins and trapping those house sparrows!

Steve

Hey Steven,

I'm looking forward to seeing how Accipiter hawks and merlins "react" to my martin decoys on poles that are attached to gourd rack hub. This approach allows me to lower the gourd rack and decoy at the same time. I am still using decoy poles place around the perimeters of our colonies.

Here's how attach the decoy to the pole. I simply drill out the hole in bottom of the decoy, usually where the factory install screw goes. Then I stick the decoy on the pole top by pushing the decoy down and the pole goes inside the decoy until the end is tight against the decoy. Works fine so far. I push the decoy at an angle to better hold the decoy on the pole and position the decoy in an upright profile. The size of the hole depends on what type of pole you use. I have used some metal and fiberglass rods and I believe the hole was about 3/8 inch in diameter; for garden stakes it is a little bigger. Just have to work with it. I attach the pole to the gourd hanging rods using zip ties so that the decoy goes up and down when I raise and lower the gourd rack. So far no hawk has pulled any of the decoys off the poles. Plus the decoy remains rather stable on the pole since the pole is pushed tightly up inside the decoy.

I hope this helps minimize hawk attacks on your martins. The decoy approach has helped with our colonies but may not prevent all successful attacks on the real martins.

Good luck in 2020 and keep us posted on how things goes!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
brent
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Hey PMDavid, Steve and all!!! Guess what? I have 2 ASY males come to the house today. They are here!!!!!! Their song is unmistakable and their flight so graceful. I am so excited. Now, I have to keep the sparrows out. My neighbor no longer speaks with me. They feed the sparrows and I catch and "relocate" them. I tried to explain why but they don't care to hear it. Fences make good neighbors. Sparrow traps make happy martins. :grin:
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
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.

Hey Brent,

Had to LOL, Laugh Out Loud, when you said your neighbor no longer speaks with you.! I know he wouldn’t want to speak with me. BC I wouldn’t just relocate those sparrows, I would permanently illuminate them.. The same I do with Starlings and Snakes. If I catch em - they’re Gone Baby.! And yes I mean permanently.!
I know some folks are squeamish and or tender hearted. But someone has to look out for and support the Martin’s. I’m that person. And I don’t mind telling you or anyone that I will stand up for Purple Martin’s

I’m glad and fortunate that I don’t have any neighbors like that around me. My neighbors all respect me and my Bird’s. They know that Martin’s eat a lot of insects that would ordinarily be disastrous to our environment.
Mostly I would think that people like this are people that are not really educated on different species of Bird’s. I guess you can’t blame them for their short comings. But by the same token - don’t put us Purple Martin Landlords down because we choose to support and help our Purple Martin’s.

Not ashamed to say and or claim that I stand to be called a Friend of the Purple Martin. They have so many things against them anyway. We should all try to help them as much as we can.!

Rodger
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Brent,

That is great news! Lots of sunshine today and warmer weather. I believe there may be some more martins that arrived. I will check at roosting time to see who is sleeping here tonight in the colony!

Many folks who don't "raise" martins can't understand why we eliminate starlings and sparrows from our colonies. In fact many of these people are hostile to us. I have seen read some rather "heated" discussions on purple martin Facebook groups.

Today, Bob, my neighbor and I visited some of our satellite martin colonies to replace two old houses with two new ones. We didn't see any martins but there are already some house sparrows moving in. But these sparrows will soon meet the Grim Reaper! Bob will make his visits and discreetly shoot any sparrows he finds. Those that are too crafty to be shot will be trapped. We often use the Trio spar door to catch these sparrows that are trying to nest in Trio houses.

When the martins arrive in force, they can usually keep most sparrows out but there are always a few aggressive and persistent ones that have to be shot or trapped.

Thanks for letting us know about your martin arrivals!

Steve

Hey Rodger,

Fortunately, we don't have any close neighbors and we can trap and shoot all day long if necessary to eliminate any starlings or sparrows.

It is true that there are many folks who don't understand how destructive an invasive species such as a house sparrow or starling is to our native cavity birds. These folks tend to view all birds as the same and we should let them nest where they want.

Most martin landlords understand the situation and they protect their martins from sparrows and starlings. Thank goodness!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
PMDavid
Posts: 440
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.Here late in season seemed to have as many as 18 Pr of nesting birds. Huge upscale in birds from 2019. Will also have a 20 gourd satellite rack prepared for the 2021 season.

Good day peeps....... just got in from a nice long ride in the sunshine! What a pleasure. Mr Steve ,you must not have looked that lost female in the eye just right cause she ain’t showed yet! CONGRATULATIONS BRENT on your first returning birds. The scouts I have posted so far are not at my own sight they are hit and misses at the feed store. On that note I am fighting a battle over there that can’t be won😩 . The owners told they saw three more martins thurs or fri morning so I went ahead and opened the house and put up the four gourds they had and you should see the party goin on now OMG!! Martin bro ....I concede✌️. The birds are wise to the trap and paper,bread ,feathers,feed,corn,string etc ain’t workin... The trap works great,but after 30-40 sparrows I think the rest have wised up. I’m gonna leave it and see if some still get caught but it been nothin for two days. There is sparrows covering the house ,starlings in the gourds and no real end in sight. The only thing good is that if there are martins attempting to get in the house ,all the packed in stuff is gone at this point and they have a fighting chance. So we shall see what goes from here. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of sparrows and a fair many starlings,I think having cleaned out the house so the martins have a small chance is better than not,and things will have to take their course from here. Congrats and good lucks guys.....waiting on some of my birds to show up now and keep me posted on your birds returns
Post Reply