Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
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Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:37 am
Location: Longview, Texas

Greeting from a new member. I was first made aware of purple martins last August when I purchased a home in Longview, Texas from an estate. When we put the contract on the home in mid-July, I did notice the 12-compartment bird house on a very tall pole but there were no birds present. The house looked to be a decade or so old and the mechanism to move the house up and down was pretty well corroded with rust. I did get some information from the son of the deceased owners who explained it was a purple martin house that the martins had seldom made use of. Actually, it was kind of an eye sore and I decided to eventually take it down. Fast forward to April 2020 and I was outside drinking my morning coffee when I heard this chirping noise and there was a single dark colored bird that I now know is an adult male martin. He hung around until the next day then disappeared. Two weeks later, two more birds arrived followed by two more a week later. I now know these are paired 2Y birds. These guys and gals have stuck around and I have been gradually educating myself by viewing You tube videos. It has been a somewhat frustrating experience so far as I knew from the videos that other landlords routinely check on the houses and lend support to the residents. However, I was reluctant to follow suit since I had no confidence in the mechanism to lower the house and feared once lowered, I could not get it back up. So, I decided to back off and let the martins manage their own situation as best they could. The birds never have taken to me much as anytime I go out in the yard, I get dive bombed and they let out their danger call. The four birds work together very well and they must since they are harassed on a daily basis by three unpaired males who all descend at the same time and try and access the house compartments. My four have been successful so far in chasing them off often after 10-15 minute air combat battles. Unbeknownst to me (since I don’t check) both pair produced eggs and they hatched a couple of weeks ago. Not sure how many we have but by the sounds at feeding time there are quite a few. My final frustration stems from the house configuration that has the round entry holes rather than starling protected entries. Fortunately, I have seen neither of the invasive birds. Hopefully, these young birds will get airborne in the next couple of weeks. This winter I plan to upgrade the house and move it more in the center of the yard away from a nearby oak tree and the house. I do have one question. What is the motivation of the unpaired males in wanting to destroy eggs and harm newborns? I worry about these guys and gals a lot and hope they can get through the next period safely and join the crew heading back to South America. I do hope they return next year.
Posts: 175
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Welcome! This site is a great place to get all the information you need. Although I cannot answer your question about SY male behavior I can say that the more I observe the more I am fascinated by these beautiful birds. I have experienced the destructive behavior of the SY male. I was once told that it was their way of wanting to take over a nest. Just this season I had 4 of 6 very healthy chicks killed and another taken out of the nest but was able to rescue it and place it back. All done by a very aggressive SY. Good luck. I hope all fledge. I had 70 chicks fledge this season and now have late nesters with a current count of 14 young ones. It can be stressful and frustrating but very rewarding. Again good luck and welcome.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1686
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.

Hello and welcome. I always suggest to new landlords to read as much information as possible on this website. Knowledge is a life saver when taking care of a martin colony.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

Welcome new member:

Your story was a great read for me this am. Well written, words flow nicely.
What ever type of new housing you choose to put up, consider fixing up the
old house too.Mike 8)
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

Whichever house you use old or new place 4 troyer horizontal gourds To the bottom of the house just to give the Martins another option to nest in. At my site in East Tennessee my martins prefer the 3 Varieties of gourds that I have and will not touch the house that I have up. Don’t know why but they will not use it. Good luck
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:37 am
Location: Longview, Texas

I'm going to get some flack for this but personally I don't see any difference between the agressive unpaired male martins that are into infanticide and the actions of the invasive species. I think its worth the effort to save the babies and get rid of the killers. Before attacking they all assemble on the electrical lines behind the house. I can easily pick them off with my pellet gun.
Posts: 778
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I sent you a personal message with my contact info.

I live in Gladewater, Texas and can assist you with your Martins and setup.

Call me or send me an email.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:37 am
Location: Longview, Texas

My flock fledged yesterday evening. I counted five. After a late afternoon flying lesson yesterday and another this morning they left. Unfortunately, hawks must know about fledging behavior as there were a couple around this morning and one managed to snatch one of the PMs right out of the air.
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