Eggs fell from house

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Ecw15177
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:45 am
Location: Mobile, AL

Hi everyone! My family moved into a new house last year with some existing Martin houses. This is our first season as landlords and I’m not sure what is normal. The houses aren’t in great shape (plastic doors and housing compartments look chewed through in places), and they weren’t able to be taken down easily (one on a wooden post and the other has a broken telescoping pole that won’t go up and down). Doing regular nest check with these houses is pretty impossible, but we have taken the one house that’s on a pole down a few times to check it. Both our houses have 12 compartments but like I said, some of them are chewed through on the inside so there are really only 8 or 9 in the house we are able to take down. I want to replace/redo the existing houses and we added a house (that no martins have taken to yet) but those are questions for another time I guess. The main thing is I just found 2 Martin eggs on the ground near one of the houses. We have strong wind in our area but no bad weather recently. My husband lowered the house and put them back in the nest. Was this the right thing to do? Does this mean we have a problem with predators? Are they just discarding bad eggs? Should we do anything else? Any suggestions/advice is appreciated. Thanks!
SSMartin
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Sounds like these may be the smaller 6x6” compartments. These are a bit small for a Martin but they’ll use them in most cases. Do you have any sparrows around? The European house sparrows can remove eggs I believe. I have had martins reject eggs but it is generally one or two not the whole clutch. I have found a Martin egg on the ground and replaced it and it did hatch so I would say you did the right thing.

The 6x6” rooms can be converted to less rooms but larger and these are better for the martins. Even crows can and will pull eggs and young from small 6x6 compartments. They simply lack the depth to provide any real protection. Also please add some netting or a snake guard. It’s possible a snake preyed on the adults and in the scuffle the eggs could have been knocked out.
Ecw15177
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:45 am
Location: Mobile, AL

Thank you for your reply! I had planned on trying to convert the compartments to larger ones by taking out the middle but when I took the houses down, they were in such bad shape with the doors and all that I wondered if I should just replace the whole house? Or get the metal half moon door covers to put over them and salvage the houses since they’re used to them?
I haven’t seen any sparrows or starlings around that I can tell. We have mostly blue birds and mockingbirds hanging around, but I have other houses for them around the yard. My kids also found a shell with a small hole in it, but couldn’t tell me where they found it so I’m not sure it was a Martin egg. I’ll definitely put up a snake guard. We have a ton of stray cats in the neighborhood so we don’t see many snakes, but it couldn’t hurt to have it.
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

I have also heard of sy males messing with eggs and hatchlings. Just another possibility.
SSMartin
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

deancamp wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 11:32 am
I have also heard of sy males messing with eggs and hatchlings. Just another possibility.
Right and with 6x6 rooms it would be very easy for them to move the eggs out.
SSMartin
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Do you know what kind of house you have? You may want to try hanging some gourds under the house too. Get a quality gourd if you go this route. Troyer, super gourds, excluder, or s&k larger gourds work well.

If you want to repair and modify the original house have fun with it. You can enlarge the rooms and purchase new entrance plates as well if you need to make them starling resistant. Starlings like larger compartments too. They will kill martins to take over their housing.
Ecw15177
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:45 am
Location: Mobile, AL

The two original houses are S&K 12 room houses. Looking up the brand just now I see they can be converted to 6 rooms easily by removing the inner panel. I’ll make sure to do that for next season when I get some new door plates. The new house that we added is a heath aluminum 12 room house, but no martins have moved in it yet and I don’t see online what dimensions the rooms are.

I have been worried about starlings taking over even though I haven’t seen any yet so I was already planning to replace the entrance plates. They originally had the half moon shaped doors but something has gotten to the plastic and widened them. And one house has hooks for gourds already so I’ll probably get a few of those for next season too.
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