Need Advice on Activity Under Martin House

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SCleland
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:57 am
Location: Evanston, Illinois, USA

Dear Friends,
I’m trying to attract SY martins to a house on a golf course. The location has open fly space, nearby water, and an active colony about 1.5 miles away, so I've been hopeful. (It's also not near the actual playing area, so there's no chance of a ball hitting it.) But now the golf course managers have created a putting practice area around the martin pole. A dozen adults and teens will be there every weekday for the rest of the summer from about 8:00 am to noon. They’ve offered to move the house away from the putting area. Should we do that? I’ve been cleaning out sparrow nests at dawn and dusk each day, and haven’t seen any visiting martins, so it seems we wouldn’t be disrupting nesting behavior. But is it worth it at this late date? Or are any SY birds not likely to be bothered by human activity so close by? If the consensus is that yes, we should move it, how far away from the putting practice area would be safe? The neighbors like having the house where it is, so ideally we wouldn’t move it far.
Thanks in advance for your input.
Stuart
Last edited by SCleland on Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Black Jack
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Sounds like the manager doesn't want purple martins flying around his precious golf course. I would not endanger martins by attracting them to a golf course. I never forgot when i saw a deranged golfer take out his vices on a red shouldered hawk by driving a ball into the bird and killed it. Just because the bird was making hawkish calls. What a POS!
SCleland
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:57 am
Location: Evanston, Illinois, USA

Actually they are very bird-friendly but are trying to devise alternate activities in this Covid-19 era, hence the newly created putting area. And I should have included the fact that the house is not near the actual golfing area -- it's on a route that golfers take between holes. So there's no chance of a drive smashing into the house! :)
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
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 golfers putting around the martin pole will not bother the purple martins.
My sister and I spent our summers playing around the pole of the martin houses and never phased the martins.
My father later had his martin house right next to his garden and he spent most days working in his garden next to the pole of the martin house.
My office martin house is next to the dumpster in the back of the office complex. People come and go to the dumpster all day long and it does not phase the martins.

I am positive the golfers putting around the martins will NOT be a problem!
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.
SCleland
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:57 am
Location: Evanston, Illinois, USA

Mark, thanks for your advice. I'm aware that martins generally ignore human activity near/under PM houses. However, this is not an established colony, and I worry that a pair of early morning SY's who like what they see and want to become the first residents will be frightened off when a dozen golf-club-wielding teenagers show up at 8:00 am. Is that a likely scenario, or are SY birds as unconcerned as ASY's? Stuart
Whippy
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged

SC,

I wouldn't worry about it. I'm around my Martins every day. I throw the ball for my border collie and he runs under the gourds repeatedly and all the martins do is sit on their porches and watch. A couple of ASY males will dive bomb him. It's pretty cool.

Also. My son played a baseball tournament last year at a location in Mesquite, Tx and they had two or three martins houses erected on the pathways where people walk to and from the parking lot, concession stands etc. all day long. The Martins would just go about their business. The houses were 10 feet high so very close to the people.

I understand your concern is attracting Martins and that the activity would deter the Martins from taking up residence however, I don't believe the human activity would be a hinderance rather, more of an attraction. ASY males will be more tolerant and the SY males will be more determined to set up shop.

Coolwhips
white-out
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

I don't believe the human activity would be a hinderance rather, more of an attraction. ASY males will be more tolerant and the SY males will be more determined to set up shop.

Coolwhips


I appreciate this belief ...think it's a good line. thanks I did drink two beers tho..lol
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

I guess I'm a little more sceptical that new sy birds starting a colony would not be effected by all that activity directly under the house. SY birds can be skittish because their lack of confidence. They possibly would get no break from what could be loud or even aggressive behaviour from someone that cares nothing about a Purple Martin. It would be different if it was near the putting area or even next to it. My 2 cents
Whippy
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged

white-out wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:08 pm
I don't believe the human activity would be a hinderance rather, more of an attraction. ASY males will be more tolerant and the SY males will be more determined to set up shop.

Coolwhips


I appreciate this belief ...think it's a good line. thanks I did drink two beers tho..lol
Always glad to help to get beers in ya. :lol:

Whips
white-out
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

LOL, it's still how I want to see their world and I haven't had a drop since my last post! When I watch them in the sky, I can only think how much fun they're having doing what they do. sober I say! :oops: :oops:
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2928
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I was at a nursery the other day buying flowers and the had gourds strung up at the edge of the parking lot and had lots of martins. I'm assuming the colony came after the business but no way to know for sure. There were cars and people within feet of them.
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.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1483
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.

SY or ASY, New or Established Colony. The martins will not be phased by human activity. My experience is the martins prefer humans around their housing. They have to get used to my presence or they can leave for another site. But instead they stay and chatter at me when I talk to them.

The day that I tapped on the pole, loudly told any martins I was lowering the house, lowered the house, reached into a dark compartment to check for eggs and was lightly pecked on the finger by a female sitting on her eggs was the day I knew I was accepted. It was also the day I was taught by a female to leave her alone while incubating her eggs.
It scared the fool out of me because I thought it was a snake but when I shone a light on the incubating female she gave me a look that I will never forget. Words were not necessay, she told me with her glance, "I am busy here, now leave me alone!"
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

To state there is no difference between asy and sy birds and trying to start a colony (that might have a good location and might not) and an established colony is silly. Human activity is good, but aggressive or harrassing activity would be a detriment.
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