Owls Guards

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
keckbird
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:54 pm
Location: Cunb. Co., Pa.

I SEE SEVERAL TYPES OF OWL GUARDS NOW BEING OFFERED BY PMCA. I USE THE ALUMINUM RODS ON MY GOURDS. WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE?
mwren
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 pm
Location: OH/Athens
Martin Colony History: I have had my martin colony on the dam of one of my ponds for nine years. The colony has grown each year, but I am now concentrating on helping friends and acquaintances who have shown interests in martins. My colony consists of three T-14's with 8 Troyer gourds attatched to each T-14, a Troyer gourd rack with 12 gourds, and another gourd rack with 18 Troyer gourds for a total of 96 nest cavities. I am having serious predation issues with hawks and owls and am experimenting with various hawk guards and "screens". Established successful supplemental feeding last season during late march and had a blast flipping mostly meal worms and some crickets. Faculty from Ohio University are using my colony as a research site to study parasites that target cavity nesting birds. In exchange for access to my bird trail nest boxes and martin housing, they are banding all birds involved in their study.

keckbird,
Very interesting question. Over the years, landlords across the country have experimented with a number of different types of "owl guards" to protect their housing, gourds and "apartment housing types". Most of these attempts are different designs of metal rods shaped around the cavity openings and porches to make it difficult for owls to get close enough to the cavities to reach into the housing and pluck the birds out with their talons.
Some experienced landlords will reccomend one type or design over others, and some landlords will say that they are not very effective at all. There are some You Tube videos out there that show owls actually appearing to use the rods to hold onto while they flap their wings on the gourds to flush birds out and grab them with their "free" talon. (videos not for the faint hearted)
Other landlords have designed what appears to be effective ways to enclose gourd racks and T-14 type housing with light weight "fencing".
I have tried a couple of different types of "guards" but have still experienced significant losses the past two seasons. My farm is ideal habitat for owls with plenty of mature hardwoods and also some acreage in softwood with plenty of openings and fields in between. I consistently have a pair of both Barred owls and GHO's. One species tends to nest in one end of the property, and the other is at the far end, other direction. The martin colony is about half way in the middle. I am certainly not an expert, but my experiences seem to be steering me towards the "wire enclosure" approach.
I am still awaiting the return of my martins anyday now. I have purchased some wire to experiment with on at least one of my housing units. I may wait to see how many birds return this season, and observe the activity around the colony before I decide to experiment.
I to would be interested to hear from other landlords on this topic.

Bird
Mike "Bird" Wren
Post Reply