Fear of crescent entrances

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Don Troha
Posts: 350
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Texas/Houston

Got a female ASY here that is having difficulty overcoming her fear of entering and exiting thru a crescent entrance. She's been here over a week so I think she's staying, but each time she approaches her compartment she goes thru this ritual of forward/backward, starting/stopping, looking around, trying to get a running start, trying to climb over the door, peeking in the vent holes, etc. This goes on for 2 or 3 minutes before she finally goes in or gives up and goes for a flight before coming back to do the ritual all over again. Comical to watch but I'm wondering if she'll get over it. Anyone have Martins that act like this?

Here she pokes her head into the door and stops before backing out:
Image


Here she is climbing the door to try to find another way in:
Image


Here's a video that I've edited to about a minute (this actually lasted about five minutes). Her mate was inside but I don't think he was blocking her from entering, because she also hesitates when exiting, and I've noticed the same behavior when she tried to enter other compartments. The other Martins have no problem entering or exiting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtfVu8ZjKr8
2019 - 14 pair, 61 fledged
2018 - 15 pair, 63 fledged
2017 - 11 pair, 46 fledged
2016 - 5 pair, 22 fledged
2015 - 3 pair, 13 fledged
2014 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2013 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2012 - 2 pair, 8 fledged
2011 - 1 pair, 2 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.

Don,
What a beautiful Nature House Inc. martin house for this season! Other pictures in your flickr account show a MSS12W. Crescent entrances with PMCA wing entrapment protectors. Great job.
I noticed 2 interesting things:
1. the speed nut that attaches your porch dividers to the porch. A close up picture of that setup would be very interesting. I assume that is so that you can access the nesting compartment.
2. the bracket to hold a gourd below the house. I assume that you have two total on the bottom of the house.
She sure is comical in her reluctance but she proves that she can do it. By the end of the season she will be a pro.
Thanks for the pictures and video.
Mark.
Last edited by 4th Gen Martin Fan on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:01 pm, 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.
Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

Those crescent entrances are interesting. My martins seemed a tad squeamish of them at first this season. But when they decided it was time to go in, it was a cinch. My ASY female's partner seems a little larger and he was having a little a tad more trouble at first. After about 10 minutes he got it down pat. My point is that they will use the crescent if the really want to enter. :wink:
PMCA Member
_____
John Miller
Posts: 4769
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Don,

Maybe she's full bodied or something, but check to make sure that PMCA wing guard is not a hair lower than the top of the crescent, or even if it's flush that might be just too much for her as a slightly larger female. Or it's just her way..but I'd check. John
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

Don I wonder if it's more of a mating ritual? I've seen females do this at my house, but they would do it at various cavities.. sometimes there are males inside trying to talk them in.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Don, nice photos, but I would check the entrances for size.

I like to use a go-no go gauge. It is marked at exactly 1-3/16in, and its easy to see if the hole is just right, if its too large, or if its too small. It is so much easier to use such a gage, and so much quicker. I have mine marked at 1/16 over, and also 1/16in under, plus the correct mark.

I remember when I put on the first bunch of purchased crescents, I think that I added about 80 crescents during the day. When the martins came home, they could not get in, had about 50 martins here. They left and slept in the trees.

I did not have a caliper, so my neighbor took 3 entrances to work at his machine shop, checked them and all 3 were too small. The martins again could not get in and left the 2nd night.

The 3rd day, I made the gage, and filed all of the crescents to the correct size. The martins came home at night, and they all got in. I sent a nasty email to the guy that sold them to me, and told him what happened. He offered to send me some more, but it was too late, I already had mine fixed. It was good that I was retired so that I could find the time to fix them.

Folks, it happens much more often than you think, the entrances are a bit too small or too large. The go - no go gage can be used before you hang the gourds or before you put up the houses. They really need to be used, they are very easy to use. Please make one for yourself. It can be made out of plastic, metal, or hardwood.

To use them, hold them level, and slide the gage into the SREH, and it takes less than 10 seconds to check the SREH for accuracy.

Most starlings will not enter if it is a fraction over 1-3/16in, but some can, so it helps to keep the porch floor nearly flush with the bottom of the entrance, and to use a wing entrapment guard, they both help to keep out the starlings.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
msalcido
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:25 pm
Location: Texas/Mineola

Don - I also had a female do this. I have a Northstar house which I put up this year. It has Modified SREH entrances. The male enters with no problem; however it took his female about 10minutes of trying to enter to finally succeed. The entrances look very small to me and she was a bit of a big girl, but she did it. It amazes me how they quickly learn to navigate through the different entrances.
Mike

Fifth season of being a landlord! :) and a PMCA member!
klcretired
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hello Everyone,
I also have had the same problem , my crescents are all large enough and I have even added larger openings of many varieties & Round hole entrances but some Martins just do this "Peek-a-boo" thing and it's been going on for years here at my colony ... my observation is we just have to wait and let nature take it's course....lol,lol,lol......the suspense will kill ya
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,

K.C.

klcretired@tx.rr.com
Don Troha
Posts: 350
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Texas/Houston

Thanks very much to all for your replies. Sounds like some of you have experienced Martins with similar behavior. Per your suggestions I made some measurements on the crescents & dimensions checked out okay. Height 1 3/16. The bottom width is just under 3 inches, maybe 2 15/16. (While the house was down I had the pleasure of experiencing that whooshing sound of Martins buzzing by my ear. Also got to see one up close that stayed in her compartment with the house in the lowered position.)

To answer Mark's question I wanted to add porch dividers this season to minimize some of the fighting between adjacent compartments and maybe pick up a few more pair. Also I wanted the porch dividers in the middle to allow equal space on the two sides. To get access to the middle door quickly for nest checks I used a small bolt & speed nut that you see in the picture (the kind used on pet carriers) and a small hitch pin clip to hold the top of the porch divider in place. Yes there are two gourds under the trio each hung by two L-brackets. I'll dig up some better pics & post them.
2019 - 14 pair, 61 fledged
2018 - 15 pair, 63 fledged
2017 - 11 pair, 46 fledged
2016 - 5 pair, 22 fledged
2015 - 3 pair, 13 fledged
2014 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2013 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2012 - 2 pair, 8 fledged
2011 - 1 pair, 2 fledged
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

I had a male do this one year. I seen the top of his back hitting the top. eventually he stopped going inside. so I shaved a little top of the entrance off. then he started to go right in and never had the problem again. he was just a little big. but I have never had this problem with a female. just not go in until they are ready. I would just keep an eye on it. if it continues maybe she is just a big girl and you can help her out.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
mikeinkaty
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:54 am
Location: TX/Katy

It took about a week for mine to get used to the excluder holes. I made mine from aluminum flashing and used pop rivets to hold them to the front.

Toward the end of the first season I noticed some of the males had lost feathers on their back so for the next season I made the holes 1/16" taller. That solved that problem. Now even new birds pop in and out without hesitation. And theyt still keeps the starlings away. After a while they just move on and I never see them again around the boxes.

I keep a pellet gun handy for the sparrows. Once the PM's are settled in they keep the sparrows away themselves.

I decided to make the excluder holes after seeing a starling attack and kill an adult male PM. Not a pretty sight.

Mike
Bulldog1
Posts: 700
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:33 am
Location: Mississippi/Hamilton

I added 6 Troyer Vertical gourds with Conley II entrances this year. All the others were crescents. They adapted quickly without problems. I think they just are inquisitive when they first get back. I would not worry.
PMCA member
2015 - 18 Gourds offered - 12 active nests, 62 eggs, 51 fledged
2014 - 18 gourds offered - 12 active nests, 52 eggs, 48 fledged
2013 - 12 gourds offered - 9 pairs, 56 eggs, 52 hatched, 49 fledged
2012 - 12 gourds offered -4 pairs, 20 eggs, 19 fledged
2011 - 6 gourds offered -1 pair, 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 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.

Don,
Thank you for sharing the pictures of your MSS12W house. I am always trying to learn and see how I can improve my own house.
I noticed that you have a winch system for your house.
I started out with the rope system and I feel that it worked well.
I heard from my sister in Seguin, TX how easy her K-series gourd rack with the winch system works. Of course I had to convert my MSS8 to a winch system.
I ordered the Winch Conversion Kit from Nature House, Inc., installed it, and cannot be happier.
I am familiar with this winch system from when I had a Trio Castle (PMC24) 15 years ago and forgot how much I like it.
I hope that your house and pole system have been satisfactory for you.
In another post, I described how I added an inside pipe to strengthen the original pole system.
I agree that another way to prevent pole failure on these houses is to shorten the pole.
Mark.
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.
DottieL
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 1:36 pm
Location: Augusta, KS (just east of Wichita)

Can someone post a pic of a go-no go gauge, and where can they be purchased? Will this gauge work for Excluder II entrances?
Dorothy ......in the "Land of the Yellow Brick Road" click click !!
John Miller
Posts: 4769
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Let's see if this will post, and if it does I'll say more

ta da

A no-go gauge is just a tapered wedge, probably flat on the bottom, cut from something thin and rigid. I prefer aluminum. Mark a thin line at 1 3/16 using a ruler very carefully, or best to use calipers. when you insert the gauge, it should stop at 1 3/16 for crescents.

You might draw a second line behind the first that's slightly larger to measure openings such as the excluder II. The crescent is 1 3/16 and an excluder II is about .32 (or slightly less) taller. So a second line at 1 and 7/32, but no more.

In millimeters, this is 30.0 for 1 3/16 and about 30.5 for the excluder II.

Note 1 7/32 is 30.9 mm

Digitally 1 3/16 is 1.1875.

Disclaimer, my college degree is in journalism, not math.
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DottieL
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 1:36 pm
Location: Augusta, KS (just east of Wichita)

Goodness!! So simple....thank you so much! :wink:
Dorothy ......in the "Land of the Yellow Brick Road" click click !!
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Dottie, John's photo shows the idea very good.

When I made mine, I made it with a smaller slope, so the difference between the lines is much longer. You can use hard plastic, even part of an old credit card.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
DottieL
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 1:36 pm
Location: Augusta, KS (just east of Wichita)

Thanks Emil.... I was wondering what I had around the house to use. An old credit card... Great idea!
Dorothy ......in the "Land of the Yellow Brick Road" click click !!
Don Troha
Posts: 350
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Texas/Houston

Thanks Emil & John for the info on the go-no go gauge. Gotta make myself one of those.
The fearful bird is getting better at navigating thru the crescent entrance. She still hesitates but not as much.

While I had the house down the other day for measurements, one of the females stayed in her compartment (different bird). So I got a quick photo before raising the house back up so she could exit and go for a flight:
Image
2019 - 14 pair, 61 fledged
2018 - 15 pair, 63 fledged
2017 - 11 pair, 46 fledged
2016 - 5 pair, 22 fledged
2015 - 3 pair, 13 fledged
2014 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2013 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2012 - 2 pair, 8 fledged
2011 - 1 pair, 2 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.

Don,
I can see the newer dri-nest subfloors in the picture.
I am curious about the textured walls on your house.
All of the dividers, walls, and doors on my Trio house are smooth aluminum.
Has Nature House changed to textured metal now for the added strength?
Or was this picture in another type of house?
Even the nesting compartment she is in looks bigger than the original Trio/Nature House 6x6 compartment.

By the way, she looks ticked at you.
Mark.
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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