Waking near the Martins

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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.

Just wondering how long it takes for the Martins to get used to you walkup under or around the racks. Mine seem to always fly off as I get with in 10 to 15 feet from the racks. Is this a normal reaction or will they eventually get use to me being in the yard near them. Thanks for the help.
G Saner
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

It has been my experience that you can get closer if you don't look at them as you are walking toward them. Then stop and wait a few seconds before you look up.
G Saner
Posts: 2965
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

It really depends on the birds and their mood could change from day to day. Some days I can lower my gourd rack and some of them will stay perched on the top of the gourd rack pole. Some days if I get close to them then they will take off. Either way I wouldn't change what you do, as far as nest checks etc based on them flying off. You being around is not going to scare them off for good.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

All that I can say for sure is that it takes longer than 17 years. Some or even most of mine fly, every time I walk to my garden. That’s every day. They’ve been doing that since the get go, 17 years ago.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
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.

Thank you for the help Just was wondering if they ever really get used to us and not fly off.
Posts: 239
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Unlike Brad Biddle in his 17th season, my landlording experience is just in the tail end of year 3. I check my racks weekly from when I first suspect nest building until my martins head south. I give the same whistle when I head out to make my checks, kind of a "heads up - here I come", you've been warned. Sometimes my birds fly and circle overhead then dive bomb me with a screech call. Sometimes they circle above and act like "this will be over soon" and we can come home. This year there has been a lot of birds moving to perches on Rack 2 when I check Rack 1, then moving to Rack 1 when I check Rack 2, then moving to Racks 1 and 2 when I check Rack 3. My racks are just 25 feet apart. The birds seem to just tolerate my weekly checks. Rack 3 will get perches after my guys head south.
Don't worry about your birds leaving your colony. After they set up shop and lay eggs your checks will not cause them to abandon. My birds are back in the colony almost immediately after a nest check.
One thing I'd like to mention to landlords (who probably already know) is the importance of "perching opportunities." I put extra perching spots on two of my three racks this year and their use by the martins is amazing. Have a design plan for Rack 3 which will be installed before my 4th season.
Happy Martining, Mike
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Although I've had my gourds up for about five years, this is my first season of being proactive and doing nest checks. I frequently walk around the general area of my gourds and the Martins aren't too bothered but they will fly off if I get within five or eight feet. Today when I did my nest check they all took off and circled overhead (I have five pairs) for a while. After I checked gourd 9 out of 12 I got dive bombed twice - this is the first time they have done that, could be due to three sets of chicks now. They settle down fairly quickly after I raise the gourds up.
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

The more time you spend outside around them, the tamer they will get. A lot of times the birds will still fly off and sometimes not. I have three momma birds that stay on their nest and just sit there and look at me while doing nest checks. One of them even let me put my hand under her to count the eggs, the other two didn’t like that idea, lol. They’ll always come right back, sometimes they’ll just circle around the housing while it’s down and sometimes they go perch on the high wires and just watch me. As soon as I raise it back up, they’re right back on it.
Have fun and good luck to you!!!
7 pair
25 fledged
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

When I said that the majority of my birds fly, I don’t mean fly off into the sunset. They’ll fly in circles around the gourd rack. Some will land on the perches while I’m lowering their rack but most of them are airborne
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1911
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

... When I do the nest checks at my Satellite Site, I make all the same moves, so I think they get used to me.. My site is on a golf course.. so I drive around the Poles twice and park in the same place.. sit for 5 minutes, and then drive up to the pole. I always check the pole and houses in the same order.. When I drive up to pole number one, they fly to pole number 2. And the reverse when I check pole two, they go to pole one.. I think they are a little trained, because they don’t get to carried away...

Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

Make it a habit to do a walk around under your rack every day, if you can, and spend some time close to them. It won't take too long for them to get use to you. Good time to look for signs, feathers, cracked eggs, lost babies.

They really don't care if I, my dogs, tractor, lawn mower runs around the rack either. They sometime land before the rack is even half way up. It just takes a little time spending quality time with them.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2021: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts:
2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11 - 71 pair - 298 fledged
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
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.

Thanks guys for all the great responses and ideas. That’s one thing I really like about this foreign matter what question do you always get an answer or two or suggestions on what to do and what not to do. I’ve been an active landlord for four years first year no nursing just birds staying overnight this is my third year with egg laying I have 12 nest with eggs in them. I have about eight or nine others that are in the process of building nests. I have the one new rack that I put up this year that has 12 Troyer horizontals and the funny part is this entire rack has all SY birds building nest. I came home one day in the sky over the house was a lot fuller of Martin’s when I got settled down and sat outside on the back patio I realized it was a large number of SY birds. So I ran and cleaned out 12 of the Troyer horizontal gourds and put them up they took to them pretty quick. But like some of you have said I do go out and do my nurse checks sometimes twice a week and they are getting a little bit more used to me and I do them in order from one rack to the next same way each time. I do love the Waltons TV series from the 70s so I may start whistling the Waltons theme tune. Maybe that’ll give him a little bit of a heads up that I’m on my way to check the gourds. Thanks again everyone
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