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Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

I have heard a lot of times that a new colony will be started by a SY male. I know mine was started by an ASY male and have heard of others as well. Just wondering as a little survey, which one started your colony?
Jeff Dean
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: Carriere(Hide-A-Way Lake), Mississippi

PMCA Member
Posts: 878
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature



After reading below posts on SY males, I began to recall my first year without a breeding pair. Idid have several Martins show up every day in April and June but none ever spent the night. I'm recalling now the most repetitive visitor was an SY male. Maybe he came back as an ASY but, like I said, he never stayed the night so I couldn't pin him down to a single gourd to confirm his return.
Last edited by Whippy on Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2016 - many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
2021 - 29 pair, 117 fledged
Posts: 561
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. 0 pairs
2015 0 pairs
2016 0 pairs
2017 0 pairs but visitors
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 10 pair
2020 25 pair

Posts: 1308
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
PMCA member

PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1963
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit and join.

Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
James Strickland FL
Posts: 2249
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

Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:02 pm
Location: Saskatchewan Canada

Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Wow, :shock: this a very small sample size but it's a landslide. I did think the ASY crowd would be close to the same number as the SY group. I know there is a lot more people out there that has input, so keep them coming.
Jeff Dean
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: St Johns, MI
Martin Colony History: 2015 A few Visitors
2016 1 ASY pair 4 eggs 4 Fledged
2017 ASY male returned chased off by starlings
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 3 Pair with nestlings and an ASY male bachelor and 2 SY males around all the time fledged 16

Posts: 129
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Long Lake SD
Martin Colony History: * 2006 - SY pair, unsuccessful nest attempt, 3 houses = 52 cavities
* 2010 - ASYM + SYF pair - male disappeared after storm, female fledged all 4 young.
* 2015 - Lone SYM stayed month of June...added 8 gourds = 60 cavities
* 2016 - 1 nesting pair (ASYM + SYF) 2/3 eggs hatched 2 young fledged.
* 2017 - 4 nesting pairs, 16/17 eggs hatched, 16 fledged, 16 banded - 2 banded SY returned in 2018 (12.5%), added housing: 11 houses w/gourds, 4 gourd poles = 376 cavities
* 2018 - 10 nesting pairs, 46/52 eggs hatched, 45 fledged, 29 banded - 3 banded SY returned in 2019 (10.3%)
*2019 - 32 nesting pairs, 145/160 eggs hatched, 139 fledged - 87 banded - 12 banded SY returned in 2020 (13.8%).
* 2020 - 35 nesting pairs, 180/199 eggs hatched, 178 fledged - 150 banded - 39 banded SY returned in 2021 (26.0%).
* 2021 - 89 nesting pairs, 363/446 eggs hatched, 355 fledged - 150 banded.

My colony too was "started" by an ASY (if by "started" you mean first nesting attempt with eggs). I believe my colony was actually started by a SY male the year prior to my first nesting pair. I had a SY male stay at my housing for the month of June, but he was unable to attract a female that would stay to nest with him. The next May a male in ASY plumage came to my site and chose the same compartment the SY male had stayed in the previous June. I feel confident it was the same male from the previous year, as I offer over 300 nesting compartments on 14 different housing systems and he came back to the same compartment.

I think this is probably the case more times than not that a visiting SY male from the previous year returns to a site the next year in ASY plumage to start a new nesting colony.

It would be interesting to find out the ratio of current landlords that had a ASY male start their nesting colony the first year they had their housing up vs. a SY male. That is likely the only situation one could easily tell if a nesting colony was truly started by a wondering ASY male or a wondering SY male with no influence from a previous year's attraction to the site.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

I'm with randym. I'm certain that my colony was started by an ASY who returned from being the SY that hung out here the year before. The reason of my certainty is that before finding the PMCA I put up a small gourd rack down at our pond. It only held 6 gourds and they were small gourds. That rack was also 300 yards or more from the house. After reading on this forum and learning more about Martins, I put a gourd rack up behind the house at the barn. I left the small gourd rack at the pond, but took the gourds off it. That next year, an ASY male came here and stayed. It wasn't long until he attracted a mate. That male would fly from the gourd rack at the barn, to the empty gourd rack at the pond, trying to get the female to follow him.

Incidentally, I'm relatively sure that would have had a nesting pair of SY's that first year down at the pond. The day the SY male arrived that I think started my colony, he arrived with a pair of SY birds. The male of that pair entered a gourd, and a male HOSP followed him inside. They fought in the gourd, then came out fighting and fell to the ground. When the fight broke up, the pair of SY birds flew off, never to return. That lone SY male that was with them kept coming back and did so for a month or more. That's the day I knew I had to do something about the "dozen" or so sparrows that I had hanging around. A few months later, I had trapped 300 of them.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:02 pm
Location: Nashville, Arkansas

I was too stupid to know. Surely there are others as stupid as I was. I just remember it was like a whirlwind of maybe 8 pair.
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Yes, I am considering " starting " your coliny as having a mate and successfully raisy young. The reason I wonder is I have often heard advice given to someone starting a colony to not worry about trying to attract them until the SY's arrive. I have always wondered as to why not at least try when any Martin is arriving to the area. You never know.
Jeff Dean
Bird Brain
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

I agree that attracting ASY should be as much of a goal as attracting SY. There is also another advantage. Leaving your housing open early for ASY also gives you more HOSP shooting and trapping opportunities. I just don't see a compelling argument for plugging entrances unless you don't want to eliminate HOSP, or are very bad at it.
Why do Americans only flee blue states? Why don't Americans flee red states?
Posts: 534
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: 2018 1 lone nut and lots of visitors
2019 6 pair -21fledged
2020 18 pair -60 fledged be seen.
24 natural gourds on a satellite rack,9 other gourds scattered around
2-12 compartment trio houses
Rarely see a sparrow or starling,but when I do they don’t last long!
Will have a second satellite rack for the 2022 season and phase out the houses,the martins here strongly prefer natural gourds.

The first year I had any degree of success was one lone bird named the “nut”, as he spent his days with the neighbors birds and at black dark would rush down here and dive in a gourd.....ASY mature. The second year he returned and went in the same gourd as well as a bird named hot rod also ASY mature,he was small and flew like the wind! Then a mix of SY and ASY followed to make 7 pr.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

I forgot to put this in the first post I made. Before I moved back to the farm, I did start a colony at the house we lived at in town. It was started, first year by an ASY male and SY female. So that’s 2 for me started by ASY’s.

Deancamp, every local person that I’ve helped start a colony has been “instructed” to have their gourd racks up and open by no later than March 1. Our earliest arrivals average mid February but we’ll only have a handful of birds here by March 1. I think that the recommendation to try and attract SY’s was wrong to begin with and surely needs to be changed.

I really think that the locals that I’ve helped have all started with at least a few ASY pairs. Some of them I’ve never heard from again but I know of at least 2 that were started their first year after talking with me by ASY’s. The most common problem with people who have failed to attract Martins is not having their gourd racks in the right spot. Both wanted them in their back yard so they could sit on their porch and watch the Martins. My standard line is, “you can’t watch them from your back porch If you don’t have them.” Both of them moved gourd racks to their front yard and got Martins the first year after doing that. As has been stated millions of times. Open flyways trump everything
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:02 pm
Location: Nashville, Arkansas

In retrospect and in view of all the ASY responses, I am sure my start those years ago was mainly with ASY, but maybe there was an SY in the bunch because I did experience fledges that occurred later in the nesting period that year. This points toward at least the female being SY.

Another sort of interesting thing occurred during this period, a couple years later at my Mom's house which was about 1/2 mile away from my burgeoning colony, I erected a 16-gourd rack. In the two years following, she had only SY pairs, a single pair each year, and after she went to a retirement home, I took it down, because I concluded that as long as I had unclaimed cavities at my house hers was never going to be utilized.

This could be interpreted...possibly....just possibly...that if you are only luring in SY's and are having trouble getting a start, you just may be too close to a successful, active nearby colony.
Posts: 3176
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Mine was kind of both.....I had an SY male stay at my colony by himself for a season. The next year he returned and drew in a crowd and started my colony.

That was at my old house. This current location was started by SY's.
2021 Currently 62 nest 138 babies plus 110 eggs (6-317-21) HOSP count-9
2020 42 nest, Fledged 164 HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional lone SY's
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 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair 14 fledged.
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
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