Random HOSP thoughts.

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Zheeeem
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 8:38 am
Location: Corolla, NC

We have a single T-14, and have recently acquired a pair of HOSPs. Eleven of the other cavities have breeding pairs of PMs, so we are doing OK. There is even interest in the other 3 cavities, including the one the HOSPs are interested in.

We had the same problem last year (same cavity, too). I bought a BB pistol, not realizing how uselessly inaccurate it is from 35 feet. But persistent efforts of "making a loud noise with the BB pistol" eventually convinced the HOSP to nest elsewhere. Or, in other words, we got lucky.

The HOSPs are not causing any particular problem, and actually the PMs are more aggressive to them than vice versa. Nevertheless, I do not want them to become established.

My options seem to be:

1. Buy a good, scoped air rifle. Two reasons why not - first, my wife hates guns of any kind and has said she will be very ticked off (she's still ticked off about the pistol), and second, my only good shot has the T-14 directly behind the HOSP. If a cheap BB gun can stick BBs in a T-14, and it does, then I think misses with a more powerful gun might do real damage. I'd prefer this option, but the forces are against me.

2. Close off the cavity. This might work unless the HOSPs just pick another cavity, or decide to get aggressive with the PMs. It also makes the cavity unavailable to PMs, which probably doesn't matter at this point.

3. Open up the cavity and remove some, or all, of the nesting material. Then keep disrupting efforts by the HOSPs to nest successfully. If they lay eggs, remove the eggs.

I'm slightly inclined towards option 3. Basically, make sure they do not nest successfully. They may just give up, which would leave the cavity available for PMs. It's hard to do an accurate count, but we seem to have around 25 PMs on site.

Today is nest check day, so I'll see what's actually going on and report back later.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1480
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.

Option 4 is the best available for you.
Buy a good trap to trap the HOSP, restrict the entrance hole to 1 3/8" so that purple martins cannot enter the trap, trap all HOSP (especially the male), humanely exterminate the HOSP discretely so your wife does not get upset, remove the trap and observe purple martins flourish in your T-14 without an invasive, nonnative, destructive species harassing your purple martins.

Excellent traps for the T-14 are available through PMCA Store - T-14 Metal Insert Trap:
https://www.purplemartin.org/shop/produ ... sert-trap/

Cheaper than a quality pellet air rifle, reusable, discreet, quiet, and no damage to your beautiful T-14.

Option 3 is a very bad idea. Male HOSP Revenge will cause death and destruction to any purple martin eggs, nestlings or adults caught in their compartment.

The HOSP are causing a problem and even the purple martins are aware. Unfortunately the purple martins do not stand a chance against the HOSP.
This topic, "Starling and Sparrow Control for New and Wannabe Landlords", is a concise and correct discussion.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36213

You were lucky the first encounter with HOSP. I have never had a lucky encounter with HOSP or European Starlings (EUST) occupying housing for a purple martin, blue bird or any native nest cavity species.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Sun May 17, 2020 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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: 1480
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.

The more committed HOSP are to one compartment, the more likely a good trap will catch them.

A piece of their nesting material left sticking out of the entrance hole is an indication to the occupying HOSP that a competitor HOSP has invaded and the compartment (trap) must be investigated immediately.

Catch both of the HOSP pair if possible but especially the male. The male is committed to the housing and will attract another female if only the female is eliminated.

If you catch one, then reset the trap immediately to catch the other one. Do not forget the piece of nest material each time you reset the trap.

Restrict the entrance to the compartment to a 1 3/8" diameter hole so purple martins cannot enter the trap. A 1 3/8" hole is easy for the HOSP to enter.

Do NOT relocate HOSP, humanely exterminate them.
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.
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

4th Gen said it.
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

# 4 is best soption. Just cover the existing entry with the 1 3/8 inch hole cut into a thin piece of plastic as you might have from a cottage cheese container or something similar. Staple it over the entry. A very inexpensive conversion.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1480
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.

Ed's idea of a temporary 1 3/8" is a perfect example of the KISS Principle - Keep It Simple Stupid.
I over thought the restricted hole for years until I learned his solution. Easy to make, easy to apply and easy to remove when the job is done!

The HOSP will enter the 1 3/8" hole with minimal hesitation with the piece of grass. My preference is a dried strand of Bermuda grass with the leaves stripped off but anything will work -thin hay strand, etc. I believe the piece especially infuriates the male HOSP. A variation of Male HOSP Revenge.

Elimination of a HOSP pair from a compartment is possible in 30 minutes by these methods. This time of the year, clean out the HOSP nest, pre-nest with pine needles for martins, and have a purple martin pair move in 24 hours later.
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.
Zheeeem
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 8:38 am
Location: Corolla, NC

Thanks for the advice, all. Option 4 it is. A trap has been ordered.

Nest check reveals 7 nests with green leaves, but no eggs yet.
johncanfield
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

I have a Ruger 10/22 with a scope (.22 caliber) that I use to take out various small undesirables at our ranch, you would have to be very lucky to nail a sparrow at 10 or 15 yards. I can hit a squirrel reliably at that distance though. I'm sorry your wife has a thing about guns, my wife loves to shoot as do I.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

johncanfield wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 7:36 pm
I have a Ruger 10/22 with a scope (.22 caliber) that I use to take out various small undesirables at our ranch, you would have to be very lucky to nail a sparrow at 10 or 15 yards. I can hit a squirrel reliably at that distance though. I'm sorry your wife has a thing about guns, my wife loves to shoot as do I.
Get a decent bolt action 22 and find the subsonic ammo that it loves and 50 yard HOSP kills aren't too hard if you've got something to rest the gun on.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
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