New Landlord-where do they go?

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CSXengr
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:33 am
Location: Rockingham, NC

This is my first year so naturally I have tons of questions and lots to learn.

1) Where do the Martins go around noon? I have three pair that have been nest building for the last 3 days. But around noon they go somewhere and don't show up till late in the afternoon. Then they resume their nest building.

2) A 7th bird showed up yesterday (which I assume is a SY male can't get a get a good look at it) cause when it showed up their world turned upside down. One ASY male jumped it and they went to the ground. Am I correct in my assumptions?

3) I have two decoys up on my rack, should I take these down? I don't want to attract hawks or owls!

4) How many days after nest building starts do they start laying eggs? And when should I do a nest check?

One note to add, yesterday afternoon I couldn't help but laugh at one female. She went to the ground and picked up a leaf that was almost as large as her. She went to her gourd and struggled to get it in the opening. But after a bit she finally managed to get it inside. That was determination.

Thanks for the help.

Gary
Spiderman
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Our Martins leave at lunch time and go to a transmission power line that crosses the lake. They socialize with other Martins in the area and just take a break in a safe place. They are high and can see for ever and just hang out away from the Colony to confuse Hawks on where they might live.

SY's will be showing up now too. You can tell because they are really small in thickness but fly very fast. They will challenge the resident males for possession of cavities.

Use of decoys is a personal choice. I took mine down, while the Cooper's hawk would attack the decoy and spare the live bird, I noticed that the Hawk would always be near and wait for the real birds to return. The decoy was a telling sign that Martins where there somewhere and he would wait them out.

When you see the Martins picking green leaves off of the trees you will know that egg laying is imminent.

I usually do my 1st real nest check on May 1st and then roughly weekly after that. Mainly I'm looking for mites but also I have a spreadsheet and document the number of eggs and later babies in each Gourd. If mites are present I add 1/2 teaspoon of 5% Sevin dust to the nesting material.

Eggs take 16 days to hatch and the hatchlings take 26 days to fly. If I walk out to the Gourd rack later and a Fledgling is on the ground, I will have some idea of which compartment he came out of.

Hope this answers some of your questions. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people on this site that have been doing this for a long time. If you have any other questions, post them and someone will help you along.

Hope you have a Great Martin Season.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
tor
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

Gary,

Early on they can leave mid-morning, and stay gone almost all day on the wing, feeding, exploring, looking for other martins, or just having fun :) .
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11 - 71 pair - 298 hatched as of last nest check.
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
2020 Season
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2897
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I am one who leaves the decoys up. You have martins which will attract the attention of the hawks regardless of decoys. The hawks will often times go for the "martin" that is not paying attention or that is the slowest to take off, which is typically the decoy...... A decoy will not attract hawks to a site that is active anymore then the existing martins will, it will only give them a chance to get a way. I have my decoys mounted in spring manner so they bounce around a little in the wind. Several times a year I come home and find them completely knocked over after being hit by a hawk.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
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 (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1660
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I was going to answer all your questions, but spiderman beat me to it. He does a great job answering questions. Good to hear you are having luck with your martins.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
CSXengr
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:33 am
Location: Rockingham, NC

If I forgot to thank everyone for your replies I am sorry. Been very busy getting the garden in, lawn mowed and dodging the wife! Honey do list in this quarantine! :grin:

Thanks for all the answers they are very helpful. Added another pair since I posted last. So this morning it seemed there were 8 birds all total. Nest building continues and they are hanging around longer or so it seems. They were having a great time this morning as I went to the garden they would fly out and about just singing. Loving it!

Thanks again everyone. Keep it touch.

Gary
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

4 pair and potentially more is great for your first year. Keep enjoying.
TNMartins
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN

Added another pair since I posted last. So this morning it seemed there were 8 birds all total.
Wow - Great results for your first year! Any details on what you've done to attract new PMs? Where is your PM housing located vs. your house? What type of housing? Are you playing Dawnsong? If yes, what time of day, etc. Are there other colonies near you?

You've accomplished something that's not always easy - Appreciate any inputs you might have.

Thanks!
12 S&K B09 Gourds w/ 2 S&K barns converted to 6 cavities each

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 Fledged
2019 - Visitors
2020 -
Whippy
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

TNMartins wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:19 am
Added another pair since I posted last. So this morning it seemed there were 8 birds all total.
Wow - Great results for your first year! Any details on what you've done to attract new PMs? Where is your PM housing located vs. your house? What type of housing? Are you playing Dawnsong? If yes, what time of day, etc. Are there other colonies near you?

You've accomplished something that's not always easy - Appreciate any inputs you might have.

Thanks!
I'll back this up. Please post these things as others will be very interested to know. I got 4 pairs only in my 4th year so having that many your first year is fantastic and must feel very rewarding. However, here I am in my 5th year looking at possible full occupancy of 24 and this is really cool to sit here and watch all of the Martins.

Good luck to you. It is great to hear of your first year success.

Coolwhips.
KaraInTexas
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:29 am
Location: North Texas
Martin Colony History: 2020 - 10 nest sites.

2019 - 8 nest sites and 28 fledged.

2018 - Three mating pair. 12 babies, all fledged. Found one adult female dead in house. Cause of death - unable to ascertain. Very sad day.

2017 - First mating pair in Heath house. May 3-5: 5 eggs laid. June 1-3: all hatched. July 3: all 5 fledged.
Approximately 20 adult martins here for the fledge party.

July 1: Installed 4 gourds as well as the 3 houses. The Martins love them!

2016 - Many martins, no nests or eggs. Too many HOSP.
I have a 12 compartment Heath house I converted to a 4 compartment house to allow the Martins more room and hopefully evade owls. I have put in a second house, the S&K 12 compartment one which I converted to 6 compartments. My neighbor also has the same S&K house I converted to a 6 compartment house.
I have eight or more Martins that visit daily.

Congrats on being a PM landlord! Aren't they amazing? Did you have to kill many HOSP? I am becoming quite the sharpshooter with my bb gun. Fortunately, only had to shoot 2 males this season before they got the hint.

My PM birds fly in and out all day. I imagine they are foraging for food, getting a drink, and checking out the city while away.

This year my birds seem bigger. They all seem really healthy which is good because I was worried about the Brazil fires several months ago while they were all migrating down there for the winter.

My neighbor and I provide them housing. My neighbor has gourds and I have a house. They REALLY seem to prefer the gourds. I will be replacing my house for gourds after this season.

I look forward to hearing your observations. Right now I am working outside and watching them flying about and singing. It is the best. Quite windy in north TX today.
May the Martins be with you. :grin:
Whippy
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

Kara,

Are you able to ADD the gourd rack without taking down the house? If so you might find that to be a good set up. I have both an 18 cavity gourd rack and a Trio Wade with 6 cavities. The Trio, I believe, is responsible for starting my colony as the over flow from that came to my gourds. The past and current homeowners did not service or maintain the Trio so only two compartments were open. I now have that Trio in my yard.

Anyway. Thought if you had room you would be able to have both. Also. If you put the gourd rack up now you'll get a lot of visitors and be off and running for next year.

Just my 2 cents.

Coolwhips.
CSXengr
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:33 am
Location: Rockingham, NC

TNMartins wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:19 am
Added another pair since I posted last. So this morning it seemed there were 8 birds all total.
Wow - Great results for your first year! Any details on what you've done to attract new PMs? Where is your PM housing located vs. your house? What type of housing? Are you playing Dawnsong? If yes, what time of day, etc. Are there other colonies near you?

You've accomplished something that's not always easy - Appreciate any inputs you might have.

Thanks!

I have a 16 gourd rack my brother build from online plans. He picked them up from a vendor. Not sure if I can say who (have to read the forum rules). I played the day song all day long until the birds showed and have 2 decoys up. I had been seeing PMs several years around and I think I inherited someone else's birds. I have ridden around a lot to see if there were any more houses or gourds but none that I could see. I did see the remains of a pole with one gourd on it. Looked like the landlord had let it go down. My rack is very close to my house 50' to 60' and if I can figure out how to I will upload a couple photos.

Egg laying should be starting very soon as I witnessed one female picking green leaves and taking them to the gourd. One was so large she dropped it.
CSXengr
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:33 am
Location: Rockingham, NC

UPDATE UPDATE, UPDATE!

This morning as I was sitting outside drinking my morning coffee, I was watching my birds come and go. Then all of a sudden about 6 new birds showed. I know it was 6 more cause the first 6 were all on/inside the gourds. Then the sky erupted with PMs! I think this new batch is a bunch of teenagers cause they seem kind of rude. Even had a ASY male and one of the newbies lock up in a fight going all the way to the ground. I haven't seen enough SY males or SY females to be able to get a good ID on them. But I am almost certain that there are a couple SY females cause their belly/breast are very white with no spots. But now everyone is settled down and the new birds found open gourds they seem to like. Coming and going about all day!
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

That's great. If you start with ASY birds they are very good at drawing in a group of SY's when they come to town. Got to love it.
CSXengr
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:33 am
Location: Rockingham, NC

Did a nest check today. Great news my girls have been busy, two gourds have 5 eggs each. Two other gourds have nests with green leaves so egg laying will start soon! Very good news.
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