Our Lowes Satellite Martin Colony Destroyed

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Friends,

We certainly appreciate all the suggestions and concerns by our wonderful friends on the PMCA Forum. Many of you have offered great ideas for catching the thugs. We also greatly appreciate your offers to help with housing and related accessories. The PMCA Forum community is a generous one and we are all part of the same martin family.

Today, Bob and I worked hard to complete one of Bob's T-14s which will be placed at the Lowes' site tomorrow. We are almost finished and the hardest part is always creating the crescents on the door panels. Fortunately we had a number of crescent plates that could be attached to the panels. Bob is finishing the roof and our plan is to be at Lowes by noon tomorrow and have the T-14 installed soon after.

Bob received a phone call today from a friend who often goes to Lowes and always enjoys watching the martins. She wondered what happened to the houses and called him. She said the poor martins were still circling the site!

I hope to take some photos of the new T-14 and if I do, I will post them on the Forum.

I will keep folks posted on the status of our Lowes' satellite martin colony. Again, Bob and I really appreciate the show of support and concern from all our friends on the PMCA Forum.

Joe Zorn

Hi Steve.
Terrible News!

It does not follow that this stuff had to be scrap theft. Someone might have been eyeing those poles, houses, and gourds for awhile, and decided that it is time to get them before the subbies start arriving heavily. Possibly even someone in a different city or parish.

Now that the news is out to the forum, we can watch for newly erected equipment. Most of us do see when new stuff pops up in places that did not have PMs before.

Posts: 100
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: Louisiana/Belle Bower

To everyone that has responded to this thread:

I always felt that there were some really nice people on this forum and each of you have proved me right with your thoughtful and compassionate posts.

The loss of the housing at Lowe's was not only mine and Steve's loss, but it was a loss for every enthusiast who erects housing for purple martins. So that every one who wants martins can have them, it is important that every landlord who currently hosts a martin colony do every thing in his/her power to successfully manage their colony. This is critical to ensure that there exists a viable martin population, which is necessary for there to be sufficient numbers of martins to populate new and existing colony sites. Considering the difficulties of maintaining a purple martin colony these days with the constant threat of attack from starlings, house sparrows, hawks, owls, snakes and in our case, vandalism, the survival of every successful colony is important. Who knows where the fledglings at this colony will disperse to and whose colony site they will populate next year? Since it has been documented that martins may disperse several hundred miles from their natal colony, the martin you are anxiously waiting on to start your new colony this year may very well be one fledged at Lowe's last season. With that in mind, Steve and I are going to do every thing in our power to ensure that the colony at Lowe's remains active.

Because time is of the essence--those martins won't hang around forever before they disperse to other colonies in the area--we worked all day to complete a partially constructed wooden T-14 that we were originally going to erect at a school. This will provide some of the martins at Lowe's with a place to live until we can get more replacement housing ready. We decided to finish the wooden T-14 because my reasoning is if the aluminum houses and the multi-purpose pole were stolen for the value of their metal content, then a wooden birdhouse mounted on a galvanized steel pole shouldn't be that attractive to a metals thief. Plus, this pole will be cemented in the ground without a ground socket. The other houses had ground sockets which made their removal relatively quick and easy. It's going to take a real he man to quickly snatch this birdhouse/pole combination out of the ground and drive off with it. Anybody that bad can have the birdhouse without any opposition from me, know what I mean? :???:

But you know, maybe those houses were stolen by someone who wanted purple martins and were too cheap to buy their own houses. I just wonder what kind of landlord they would be...

Tomorrow I will talk to the store manager and see if they were able to glean any information from their security camera that might aid in determining who the thieves were. We also plan to print some notices seeking information about the crime and place them on the entry and exit doors at Lowe's. Maybe a customer who witnessed the theft of the birdhouses will come forward and volunteer some information. I realize that the theft of birdhouses isn't that big of a priority considering all of the other crimes against mankind currently being committed on this planet, but I would like to know why these particular birdhouses were stolen. That information would be useful in protecting our other satellite colonies in public places which use housing identical to what was stolen at Lowe's. I certainly don't want to agonize over more martins circling over the spot where their housing had stood hours earlier because someone had stolen it.

Once again, thanks to each of you for the support you have given Steve and I over the loss of one of our satellite colonies.

Sincerely, Bob Bozeman
Donnie Hurdt MN
Posts: 1717
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:14 pm
Location: North Prairie, MN

Thank You for taking the time to post this update. :)
PMCA member and Martin fanatic....
2011 A pair of subbies fledged three young but none returned in 2012 :-(
2015 One Pair of subbies came and stayed a few nits but got chased away by Bluebirds and Tree swallows. :-(
2017 0ne pair of subbies nested and fledged 4 young
2018 Tree Swallows AGAIN chased away any martins that wanted to nest :evil:
2019 Same old story................ :-(
Eddie McKnight
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:02 am
Location: Moncks Corner, SC

Steve, would you accept donations for the new satellite colony? And who could I make the check out to and where to send it?
Kelly Applegate~MN
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:54 pm
Location: Princeton, Minnesota

This is one of the most terrible, sickening situations I've heard of. Those of us who manage public colonies sometimes ignore the possibility of having this happen to our sites. I am going to talk with my host sites and people living in the area to keep a closer watch on the housing. I may have to consider taking the poles off the ground stakes during the off-season as well.

I'm sure people in your community will react when a story comes out in the local media. Maybe someone will know information and come forward. What a sad way to bring more publicity to your efforts.
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Like everyone else I was crushed when I read this thread.

I am wondering though if it wasn't someone wanting martin houses who took it. likely someone ignorant enough to believe just putting up that house would get birds. Sounds far fetched, but in the same vein, a local 9-11 memorial had three recently planted cypress trees dug up and stolen by someone, almost certainly for their own yards as any resale value would be negligible.

I would hazard a guess that those dislocated martins will first attempt to disperse locally, we got our very first martins at school from an adjacent colony taken down that same spring and others here have reported that same thing.

A good chance I would hope that many are still in the area.

IN any event, sad as this occasion is, it does give us the opportunity to learn something about martins under such circumstances.

Please keep us informed.

It is hard to imagine a better place for a martin colony than outside a garden store that sells martin housing 8) Thank you guys for what you do.

Mike Scully
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Friends,

Bob and I greatly appreciate all the expressions of concern and offers for donations. What a fine group of folks on the PMCA Forum! We are all part of the purple martin family and want to ensure those little feathered friends are here for future generations to enjoy.

Right now, I believe we have enough housing to replace that which was stolen at Lowes. So, we would not need any donations at this time though we sincerely appreciate your offers. Again, all of you are great people with big hearts!

Here is a short update...

I filed a police report today with the Shreveport Police Department and it is now documented. Hopefully we will soon be able to talk with a detective.

Thanks to the efforts of John Miller, Kenny Crawford and others I'm sure a reporter from the Shreveport Times has contacted me and will talk with Bob soon. The reporter was most interested in the story and hopefully something may be published in the Times about the theft.

We will probably be changing the housing offered at the Lowes' site. We have been working on a T-14 and almost have everything ready, but we now believe this house may be more appropriate at a local school. There is still fear about losing such a beautiful house to thieves. I have taken some photos of the T-14 and will post them later.

We have some more modified Trios and they may be placed on a 3 inch square galvanized steel that is cemented in the ground without any kind of ground socket/stake. The winch system will be locked. Of course, this makes the pole "permanent" unless you dig it up. Maybe future thieves will leave this one alone.

We still don't know if the thieves were after the scrap metal or are people that just wanted those martin houses. The houses were almost full of martins and it was quite a sight to see martins covering them.

I hope all folks who have satellite martin colonies will monitor them carefully and watch out for thieves the best you can. We never dreamed that crooks would strike in broad daylight near a busy parking lot in downtown Shreveport at Lowes. There may be more to this theft than we know and once the police become involved then more information should become available.

Again, thanks to everyone for their concerns, suggestions and offers to donate. The PMCA Forum is a great purple martin family.

Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Virginia/Woodbridge

Hi Steve,
I am soo sorry to hear about the theft of your houses at Lowes. Please keep us informed about what happens next. If the news gets involved, it could be a silver lining. Hopefully this horrible incident ends up helping the cause for Purple Martins.
Fledge on!

I'm thrilled to see that you guys are going to put up replacement houses, and will gladly contribute monetarily- just say the word. Thanks for all the great work you guys do. We all appreciate it, as I'm sure the Martins do :)
John Barrow
Posts: 940
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Hi Steve and Bob,

This is another tragedy--sad times, brothers, sad times indeed. For the past two years I have been moving my public sites to more secure locations. There are just too many crackpots out there. And I even lock the systems on my own properties--if for nothing else to keep kids from playing with them with bad consequences.

Steve, I think you are smart replacing the housing with the trios--modified or not--just whatever you can do to give the remnants of the colony a chance to nest this season. While a T-14 does not contain the metal that certain theives might want, it is a more valuable investment and represents a much heavier system and potential liability to you if it falls (even if the cable is cut on it and it falls) on someone.

I favor placing gourd systems at public locations because of their popularity with martins, their low wind resistance and their relatively low cost and resale value.

Please let me know however I can contribute. I will do what I can.

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

The Shreveport Times has published an article about the theft of our martin houses at Lowes. Since I have already filed the police report, this article will hopefully generate some leads.

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbc ... 8803180331

James Strickland FL
Posts: 2249
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Reidsville NC
Martin Colony History: 2017 Had a lot visitors no Matins nesting, hoping 2018 will be different.
2018 Had 1 pair
2019 had 30 pair

:grin: Great article Steve. I hope that the people who stole the homes will be caught and they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This act hurts everyone not just the birds. What is this world coming too? If their is anything I can due to help, just ask Steve.
Posts: 624
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Ga/Pavo

Great article Steve, I believe this might have a few people worried ! And it will also touch any one with a loving heart. What a great idea to post an article in the local paper.
April McClelland

PMCA Member
Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Virginia/Woodbridge

Hi Steve,

I am very happy that the local paper thought the theft news-worthy! Hopefully it will impart a fair amount of guilt for the person who stole the houses as well as some inspiration for those who may wish to start a PM colony.

If you need anything for the Martins, count me in too!
Fledge on!
Posts: 1889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:04 pm
Location: Texas/Katy

Excellent article Steve! And in due time! It's great that this situation in the news paper. I hope those theives get caught! :evil:
I was sorry to learn of this situation and you and Bob are doing a great job and moving quickly as well. If you need anything, I'm with the rest of the landlords which have previously posted concerning donations. Just say the word! :)
I'm a "nestcamaholic" Is 18 hours a day a bad thing? (I have 2 this year, luckily I have 2 eyes!)

Steve and Bob,

I was just heartbroken when read about the theft of the PM's home. This stealing of metals has become a huge problem. In the Houston area, we get reports on the local news monthly. These people don't care anything about who they hurt. Some of the biggest victims here have been churches. I think the newspaper article was a great idea. At least people can read about this and if you do decide to get another house up, by reading the article, if anyone sees people messing with the new house, hopefully they will go in and report it. Maybe you ought to buy one of those paid for cell phones and post the # on a BIG sign to call if anyone sees anything going on. I will be praying for y'all and the sweet PM's. I wish these people that buy all this stolen metal would be a better person and report questionable things that are brought in to sell. I guess that is asking too much. :x :x :x God Bless You for all that you do for our precious martins.... :grin:
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

In order to try and help Steve & Bob I have phoned & Emailed not only the Shreveport Times newspaper (Which they have already contacted me and have talked to Steve) but i also contacted KTBS 3 a local TV station but i haven't heard anything back from them yet but i emailed them all of steves info so they could contact steve & Bob wheather they talk to me or not, I have also talked to some Law enforcement in both Caddo Parrish (The Sheriff's Dept) The Bossier City Police Dept as well as the S'port, La Police Dept and i wrote an email to The Wildlife & Fisheries & The Game Warden..so i am hoping They will see some results from all of this, I want everyone to know that i am doing everything I can here on my end to try and help steve & Bob and Most Importantly The MARTINS
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,



Not sure if this has been suggested yet but you might want to consider putting up your own security camera. If there is a pole within 20 or 30 feet of the house, you can use a game camera and it will take excellant pics of the area. However, it will be triggered everytime someone comes within view of the sensor so this may be a problem, depending on how much foot and vehicle traffic is in the immediate area. Just a thought.
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