They were here...

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Posts: 47
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN

I know this is silly for most of you - But I've been stuck at home for 6 weeks, looking at empty gourds has me bored outta my mind:

So last Saturday -

It's nasty rain and a bit cold here in Middle TN. My wife says, "Hey, there are a couple starlings out on your birdhouse". So I head out on my daily super-sniper mission to eradicate intruders with the very effective Daisy pellet gun, but something's odd. Those don't look like Starlings. Wait. Whoa, those aren't Starlings at all! Before my very eyes ... on the perch ... sat two disheveled looking Purple Martins!

If you've ever seen the movie "Cars", you'll remember when Luigi, the very Italian tire store owner says to Guido, his shop employee, "Guido. There's a real Michael Schumacher Ferrari ... in my store. Punch me in the face! This is the most glorious day of my life!"

Well ... The Martins weren't quite that dramatic, but after blasting Dawnsong and annoying the neighbors for nearly 2 months straight ... it was quite exciting to finally see real Martins. There sat an ASY pair. Both looking wet, tired and cold. I carefully hung around from a distance so they could see me. They stayed on the perch for maybe 15 minutes preening themselves, occasionally flying around and looking inside both the gourds and the barn cavities.

After about 30 minutes, the usual suspects from the neighborhood showed up. First the annoying male HOSP that I haven't managed to shoot cause he knows I'm after him. Then a gang of starlings showed up. Then the Bluebird from down the street. The only ones that didn't show were the Tree Swallows that missed the excitement.

The pair of PMs hung around for about an hour and then Dawnsong stopped. Oops. I'd forgotten that I'd changed the program so it would stop playing between 11am and 3pm, all in an effort to change something up and also not be quite so annoying to the neighbors (you can literally hear it from 3 or 4 houses away - it gets pretty repetitive). I'm not sure if Dawnsong ending actually sent them on their way or not, but they were gone. Never saw them again. Probably on their way farther north to see some of you lucky folks. Unfortunately this wasn't their spot, despite the availability and A1 24/7 ultimate sniper on duty.

Looking back at 2018, the pair that stayed showed up on April 26 ... which is today. Keeping my fingers crossed that it could happen again. If you happen to have a charismatic Purple Martin to spare ... who is a real lady's man, appreciates a head shot to a sparrow at 20 yards and would like a nice clean gourd with fresh pine needles...could you send him my way ? :-)

P.S. That's a PM decoy in the pictures for reference. I also added a picture of another local visitor - I don't think the PMs are too concerned about turkeys though.
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Male_scope.jpg (470.3 KiB) Viewed 297 times
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Fog_sm.jpg (31.47 KiB) Viewed 299 times
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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 -
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

A t least you didn't come out guns a blazing and take out one of the good guys. :lol: I think that was a good sign. Keep the faith and stay vigilant, it will happen.
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Location: NE Alabama
Martin Colony History: 2018-First Year 0 Martins
2019- Lots Lookers
2020- TBD

I was wondering how you were making out. I'm hoping the activity starts picking up this week.

Good luck.
2018-14 Gourds First Year 0 Martins
2019- 14 Gourds Lots Lookers
2020- 6 Gourds TBD
Posts: 2902
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

If the martins are hanging out and coming and going I would stop playing the dawn song. It is a great attractant but real martins will do a better job at going out and attracting more martins. Plus some martins can get confused and or annoyed by it. At my old house I had my player sitting under the eave of my barn on a milk crate. I had one martin that would flutter in front of it and flog the CD player with his wings. Once I would turn it off he would go about his business but when it was playing he would hop on it and beat his wings against it. I've only see one react that way but once they find your place it is not needed. If they leave and you don't see them for a few days you can fire it back up again.
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.
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:43 am
Location: Corpus Christi

Hope you get some Martins ,Good luck and keep on that Ol Wiley male HOSP they are actually pretty smart. The Bandits I’m after high tail it faster than the wind no sooner than they spot me. A landlords job is never done.
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

I disagree. I would play the dawnsong 24/7 if you can get away with it. I started two colonies like this and didn’t stop until I had 4 birds. Of course if you have close neighbors this could be unrealistic and inconsiderate. Yes even a single bird can attract more but what about all the passing birds when that bird is off feeding? Could be another missed opportunity.

Now if you have it right under the housing the martins shouldn’t be distracted by it but obviously I’m not saying blast it once they arrive but keep it going. It gives them a sense of other martins and this makes them feel comfortable. This is just my opinion and experience.

My poor dad couldn’t attract martins one evening a cold front moved in and he had the dawnsong playing. 8 martins fell from the sky and went into his housing like they’ve always been there. Turns out they just needed a warm place to stay and in the morning off they went likely to wherever they nested the year before.
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN

I’ve got computer speakers in a 2nd story window about 35’ from the closer pole. Speakers are aimed about 45 degrees up.

I wondered about annoying the martins so I have it playing 5am-11am and 3pm-6pm.

If I see one hanging around I can experiment more, but the 2 I saw were the first Martins I’ve seen since last summer. And I’ve been on the lookout this year for sure!

Thanks for the encouragement all. :wink:
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 -
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