Answers to the decline of the Purple Martin

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Ransom Graham
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:13 pm
Location: Newton, NC

Ii think a major future problem is the young people coming up are not gonna kill anything so another can survive. So when us old folks are gone this type of landlording will die with us. Hawks feed on Starlings and we kill the starlings. So what will they eat next - Martins The new excluder entrances make it unnecessary to kill Starlings and I personally think we should encourage this instead of trapping and killing. The sparrows are a whole nother problem! I think constant nest removal is a good solution but it requires a lot of time and effort. The young folks of the future will not go for killing them. My point is if we want people to be serious about being future landlords we need to think out of the box about what we are doing.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1850
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 www.iamartin.org and join.

The troubling sparrows are a tuff bunch. The downfall of sparrow nest removal is the "sparrow revenge" that occurs when nests are removed. They will go to nearby compartments and kill babies and other adult martins. It is sometimes unseen by landlords, but it occurs during sparrow nest removal. Killing sparrows around your colony is the best practice so far. I'd like to see a sparrow proof entrance developed someday. When I switched my entire colony to SREH entrances it stopped all starling problems.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
G Saner
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Here is my take on this important topic. I became a martin landlord at 13 and have been interested ever since.

When my wife was still teaching elementary school, we had her whole class (with parents, siblings and grandparents) in our backyard for a martin lesson each May. I also mentor and three times I have given a martin talk to 40 people at the local WildBirds Unlimited location.

What I have found is no shortage of people who want to become landlords. They are not young people but newly retired or empty nesters who now have the time (and the money) for such a hobby. When I got started, I didn't know anyone my age that was a landlord. As a mentor, I have found the same thing. However, I do believe that it is important to expose young people to martins. They may be young now but the exposure could lead to a new landlord when they get older. Also, mentoring a newly retired person can lead to their grandchildren becoming martin fans.

In short, I believe I will be replaced by someone that is right now 20 years away from the kids getting out of the house or them retiring not a young person. Kids today are into technology but not every kid will be like that when they get older. I believe the source of new landlords are people in their 50s and 60s not young people. As far as I know, it has always been like that.

As to killing sparrows, about half of my mentees have no problems doing so. The other half tell me when I meet them that they couldn't kill a living thing. Then they get martins and do nest checks. Eventually, I get an e-mail that a sparrow pecked THEIR martins eggs and they want to know how to trap those *$#@& sparrows.

Gary
G Saner
Dave Duit
Posts: 1850
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 www.iamartin.org and join.

Gary,
Thank you. I enjoyed reading your perspective and great positivity and all the mentoring. You gave us a breath of fresh air in inspiring our future with martins. Thanks again.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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