Identify nest

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firefighter30
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Ohio

I have had a pair of Martin's for about two weeks. I have watched them going in and out of 1 of 6 gourds building a nest. Two days ago I came home from work and found 2 sparrows going in and out of another gourd. I'm not seeing the pair of Martin's now so I went and checked the house the Martin's were going in. When I checked the house it's full of hay from our horse pin with some white feathers. Can you tell me if the attached picture of the gourd the Martin's were in is a Matin nest? I'm new to this and these 2 martins were my first pair. I'm Confused becuase I watched for 2 weeks the martin going down to my yard and bringing stuff back to the gourd. If it's not a martin nest should I clean it out?
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deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Looks like a sparrow nest, definitely not Martins. The sparrows should be eliminated. What is your options to kill them? If you can trap them where they're building, leave the nest so they keep coming back and into your trap. Regardless do not allow them to nest there, but removing the nest is not enough.
mwren
Posts: 106
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.

Firefighter,
The picture you posted of the nest in your gourd is definitely not a martin nest. When you say that you watched 2 martins take heavy straw material into the gourd for a long period of time, I would guess that those black birds you saw building a nest with that heavy of material were most likely starlings, and not martins. Clean out that nest and remove all that packed straw and eggs if there are any. Try to get pictures of the birds that return to try to rebuild in the gourd. To have a successful martin colony, you cannot allow starlings or house sparrows to be anywhere near your nest cavities. You mentioned you have livestock near your colony site, so you will most likely have to deal with house sparrows and starlings from day 1 ! Get after them right now. High power, accurate air rifle or 410 shotgun if possible. Traps are also available here at PMCA.
Get those gourds cleaned out and good luck moving forward!
"Bird"
Mike "Bird" Wren
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

That's a Starling nest.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1482
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

This topic concisely expresses the HOSP/EUST issue, "Starling and Sparrow control for new and wannabe landlords":

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36213

Many characteristics of the current nest in your picture looks like a European Starling's nest. Hopefully what you thought was Purple Martins was NOT European Starlings! Please verify.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1661
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.

Looks to be a starling nest.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1482
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

What kind of entrances do your gourds have that a European Starling can breach?
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1482
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

What kind of entrances do your gourds have that a European Starling can breach?
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
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