Numbering Gourds

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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:31 pm

Numbering Gourds

Postby jlee » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:16 am

We have numbered our gourds with everything we can think of. Has anyone found a way to keep the numbers on more than 1 year?

Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:26 pm
Location: TX/Mckinney
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 1 Pair (5 Fledged)
2015 - 1 Pair (3 Fledged)

Re: Numbering Gourds

Postby Fireflyfisherman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:44 pm

I use those vinyl numbers. My wife prints them out. They have lasted 3 years so far and look as good as new. I do a major decon and cleaning after every season and the numbers are still going strong.

Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Long Lake SD
Martin Colony History: Had 2 wooden and 1 plastic house up since 2004. Added plastic gourds to housing in June of 2015, had SY male stay for 3 weeks. Had lots of late visitors during late fall migration while playing martin chatter CD. Added more decoys and multiple styles of plastic gourds to my spread in worked - 1 pair (ASYM + SYF) fledged both young that hatched!! S & S control done studiously every year.

2017 - 4 nesting pairs, 16/17 eggs hatched and all 16 young banded and fledged. Also had 5 extra SY males and 1 SY female stay during the nesting season.

2018 - 10 nesting pairs (7 ASYM, 3 SYM & 3 ASYF, 7 SYF), 52 eggs, 46 hatched, 45 fledged, 29 banded. Two banded males from 2017 hatch returned home. One successfully nested, the other stayed a few weeks and left.

2019 - 32 nests, 160 eggs - 25 ASYM & 7 SYM. The two males banded in 2017 again returned home now in ASY plumage, and two SY females and one SY male banded in 2018 returned in 2019. 87 HY banded in 2019.

Re: Numbering Gourds

Postby randyM » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:56 pm

Have you ever thought of just numbering the fixed location from which you hang your gourds? I have a schematic of each combined house and gourd system at my colony for each of 10 house/gourd systems, and that works very well for me. I don't have to physically mark or number each one of my nesting cavities, as they are numbered on my tracking sheet/schematic. Just use the fixed location on a rack where you hang your gourds...for example, for a due north facing gourd position on your rack, call the gourd that hangs on that specific hook location gourd #1, then move either clockwise or counterclockwise in ascending numeric order until you come back to gourd # 1. For racks with more than 1 level, you can begin numbering gourds at a fixed location on each level beginning with # 1 but add a prefix to each level (for level 1, gourd #1 = L1-1, L1-2...and for level 2, gourd #1 = L2-1, L2-2, so on and so forth). For multiple poles, just add a pre-prefix to the cavity number, so Pole A, Level 1, gourd 1 would begin with cavity/gourd A-L1-1, next gourd would be A-L1-2... next level first gourd would be pole "B", for level 1, gourd 1 would be B-L1-1, etc.

This may or may not be a good system for you to try at your colony, but it certainly helps me track nearly 300 compartments at my colony without having to physically mark individual gourds or nesting cavities each year.

Good luck.

Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 740
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.

Re: Numbering Gourds

Postby Ed Svetich-WI » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:51 am

I went high tech. I use an indelible marker to mark my gourds right under the porches. It lasts for a couple years before it fades.


Dave Duit
Posts: 1571
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: state:Iowa / town: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.

Re: Numbering Gourds

Postby Dave Duit » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:50 am

I use Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, Black. They seem to hold up well against UV rays, rain and snow without too much fading.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.

Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:05 pm
Location: Knob Noster, Missouri

Re: Numbering Gourds

Postby maxxwlf » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:18 am

Check some of the hobby stores (Hobby Lobby, Michaels) and office supply stores (Office Depot, Staples) for vinyl adhesive letters. Many say they can be used outdoors, and are relatively easy to apply. I've used these for many years and they're still holding up to the elements.

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