New House

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Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 3:06 pm
Location: Central Pennsylvania

I'm just getting started. I know I'm late but still hoping to attract some PMs this year. Got a 12 apartment house for Christmas from my parents. Deciding where to place my house. On the edge of a garden or on the edge between our yard and an 11 acre field. Also, do I need to fill the apartments with straw or just make housing material like straw and mud available in the area? Are decoys enough or do I need to invest in some recordings as well? Thx!
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

On your house placement I would choose whichever space is the most open with flyways, but within close proximity of your house. I think pine needles in the nests is beneficial as it makes the houses look lived in, plus it gives them a headstart in building their nest. The number one attractant to draw birds in to your setup is the dawnsong. If you wait to see if you needed it or not and they don't show you will be waiting for next year. I think decoys are helpful as well. Good luck.
Posts: 2896
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

As deabcamp said first and foremost find the most open spot on you property that is not too far from human activity but the further from trees the better. Let us know what make/model of house you have. Many of the ones available at the local retail stores only have 6 inch deep cavities but can be modified to 12 inches. It is better to have 6 cavities that are 12 inches deep instead of 12 small cavities. Good news is that SY martins are just starting to flow in to your part of the country so you are not late but you need to get the house up as soon as possible. If you happen to have one of the S&K plastic houses on the 3 piece telescoping poles just make sure you lower it part way whenever strong wind is expected. Many people have raised martins in those houses but the pole can bend easily. If you can post an overhead view of your yard from Google earth and we can help you find the best place to put the house.
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: 1658
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 and join.

Be sure you use the soft white pine needles, not the sharp sticky type pine needles. I suggest reading as much as possible on this website's education/research / purple martins sections to familiarize yourself with taking care of martins, supplement feeding, house location, cavity size, how to attract them, etc...
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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