Decoys save the day

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Whippy
Posts: 596
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

With the increase in Martin numbers at my colony came the increase of attention from hawks. As a result, I installed 3 decoys within my colony. One directly on the Trio and two on my fence on either side of the gourds yet below the gourd level. Looking out the window just now and saw a hawk bust through and divert his attention to one of the decoys on the fence. It is mounted on a 1/4 fiberglass rod and that thing was rocking back and forth like crazy. He then came back for a second hit, fluttered around on it for a bit then moved over to the second decoy and did the same. After that he flew to the fence across the alley then ultimately retreated to the trees. He then moved off into the neighborhood giving up on my colony.

Here is a photo of one of todays heros.
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Whippy
Posts: 596
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

Here he is as he relates to the position of the gourd rack.
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Whippy
Posts: 596
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

Heres the one that took the initial hit.

In the pictures they may seem far apart but they are only 20 to 30 feet apart. Easy targets.
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deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

That's good that you were able to see how well it worked. Were the Martins in the area at the time?
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
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.

I just received several dove decoys. I hope they are as attractive to hawks as the martin decoys. All they have to do is distract the hawks a bit. Thanks for sharing.

Ed
Whippy
Posts: 596
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

deancamp wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:16 am
That's good that you were able to see how well it worked. Were the Martins in the area at the time?
Deancamp,

Yes. Martins were hanging out on the gourds. Some are still trying to mate up others are laying and nest building. He came in and busted up the gourds and with all the commotion he targeted the decoy as the easy catch. My placement of decoys and plan worked perfectly.

Coolwhips
Whippy
Posts: 596
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

Ed Svetich-WI wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:23 am
I just received several dove decoys. I hope they are as attractive to hawks as the martin decoys. All they have to do is distract the hawks a bit. Thanks for sharing.

Ed
Ed,

In addition to the dove decoys put some Martin decoys up as well. Since the Martins are what attract the hawk to the area he will be looking to pick off a lazy martin sitting on a post.

Also. I placed my decoys based on the flight path I knew the hawk generally takes when busting into the gourd rack. This is why I am so pleased at how it worked out today.

Good luck to you.

Coolwhips.
Whippy
Posts: 596
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

2nd attack today.

After the first encounter I didn't think the hawk would return but, he did today. However, I'm not sure it's the same one as last time but he went after the decoys again. Gave plenty of time for the Martins to escape. After trying and failing to capture the decoy the hawk landed on my fence obviously quite confused. I have a 12 foot, board on board cedar fence. So I am in the yard walking towards him to scare him off and I pick up a heavy rubber dog toy we have and I threw it in his direction. He flew off without care as the toy left my hand but when that toy hit the fence it made a bang louder than any shotgun I've ever fired. Next thing you know that hawk has its after burners on vacating the area faster than I have ever seen a hawk fly.

I don't think this hawk will return any time soon. He lost the fight with a plastic martin and was assaulted by a dog toy. I'll bet that's hard to explain to your tree mates. :lol:

It is very obvious that strategically placed decoys will save Martin lives.

Coolwhips
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Glad to hear they're working so well. You got to love'em, working 24/7 taking a beating and never complain.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I need to straighten up my 3 decoys, all are skewed from being hit. They work!
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
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