Introduction and First Success

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TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Wed May 16, 2018 10:58 pm

Hello All,

First time landlord here. I just want to say how much I've appreciated the great info available here on the PMCA Website. I'm so excited to finally see some Martins - I just had to tell someone! A pair of ASY Martins have moved in this year and as of May 16, we have 4 eggs! Location is Middle Tennessee 30 miles SE of Nashville.

I've had a S&K 16 cavity house up for 3 years. We live at the edge of a suburban neighborhood, so I've not been sure of whether we could ever attract Martins once I realized they usually need significant open space. I relocated the pole a few times to the most open spot in the yard with no luck and wasn't quite sure what else to do. Then I read that many Martins prefer gourds, so I bought an S&K 6 gourd rack and installed below the house during the summer of 2017. But all we ever attracted was sparrows, who promptly moved into the big house. I'd clean out their nest and the next day it was back. One mid-summer day after seeing nothing for a year and a half, I looked up and there was a Martin on the house, and immediately the sparrow appeared and chased the Martin off. So I realized I needed to dispose of the Sparrow, which I managed to do on an early Saturday morning with a well sighted-in pellet gun. For a couple weeks we saw a handful of Martins (maybe 3?) checking things out, but never staying more than 60 seconds then flying off. One weekend we made a trip to the Amish community near Lawrenceburg, TN to see their Martin colonies and try to learn something. I realized the Martins there really aren't afraid of people - The Amish guys have their housing *way* closer to the human housing than I would have expected. Literally, just a few feet away in some cases. Also, I realized every non-gourd house there is white. My red S&K house has to go.

So this year I made another attempt with a little more information, and did the following;

1) Waited much farther into the year before putting the housing up (not until April)
2) Plugged all of the holes to keep the wrong birds out but still advertise to actual Martins, who I now know won't show up until closer to May.
3) Converted the 16 compartment S&K house into 6 expanded compartments (and closed the 'attic' holes on the sides).
4) Painted the whole thing white (gourds were already white)
5) Installed a long perch pole along the top of the house
6) Moved the housing much closer to our 2-story people house. It's now 30 feet in front of our front door on an 18 foot pole. There are 50-ft high hardwood trees on one side and a 30-ft tall Magnolia and pine on the other side, but open opposite of the house out to the street.
7) Added pine needles to all compartments and gourds
8 ) Installed 3 decoys. One on top perch, one on porch of the large house, one on a gourd rack pole.

April 1 - Put up housing. Gourds are open but big house is closed.
April 15 - After opening some of the compartments and having Starlings instantly bypass the SREH holes and move in. Closed the holes again.
April 24 - Figured out how to play Dawnsong with computer speakers in an upstairs window - Directly facing the Martin housing. Played it 5am to 6pm.
April 26 - Saw 3 Martins flying overhead! Cool! (Dawnsong worked!?)
April 27 & 28 - 4 Martins flying overhead.
April 29, 7:15pm 2 Martins fly directly into one of the gourds and appear to stay! (Gourd #1)
April 30, 7:25pm - 2 Martins overhead and fly into the gourd #6 (next to #1 from yesterday). It's an ASY Male (all black) and presumably an ASY Female.
May 1, 7:26pm - Martin pair arrive in Gourd #6.
May 2, 7:32pm - Martin pair gourd #6. Earlier in day - Removed Starling who kept breaking into upper compartments (which were sealed off with tape)
May 3-7 - On vacation - No data. Stopped playing Dawnsong
May 8, 7:45pm - Pair arrive. Going into gourd #1 and #6. A 3rd Martin is with them - Lands on one of the gourds, then flies off and not seen again. Removed all of the decoys since the pair is staying now.
May 9 - Nest check. There are leaves in both gourd #1 and #6. 7:40pm M in #6, F in #1. 7:52pm M moves to #1. It appears they have different opinions of which gourd to use. Both gourds face our driveway where the cars are parked.
May 10 & 11, 7:30pm - Pair arrive in gourd #1 both nights.
May 12 - Saturday AM. Saw the pair flying around in the morning going in and out of Gourd #1.
May 13, 6:40pm - The pair is perched on top of the big house. Appear to becoming more comfortable hanging around. 7:44pm in gourds #1 & #6.
May 16 - Nest check. 4 eggs in gourd #1! It's been 7 days since last nest check.


So with all of that, and much cheering, a few questions;

1) I have some of the upper compartments open now, but it's attracting sparrows. Should I keep open and risk invading birds harassing the Martins if I can't get rid of them fast enough, or just close up the unused cavities since not seeing other Martins? (5 other Gourds are open too)

2) Should I keep playing Dawnsong or chatter now that the pair is nesting? It's May 16 and SY birds could still show up. Recommendations? The resident Male is not making any noise in the mornings.

Thanks again all. I don't have anyone to chat with about this who doesn't think I'm a bit loopy. ;-)
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4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1261
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 scoped Benjamin .177 pellet 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.

Success

Postby 4th Gen Martin Fan » Thu May 17, 2018 12:14 am

Welcome from Collierville, TN.
Congratulations on your success!
First, turn off the loudspeaker. Your purple martins will advertise your colony. No loudspeaker can do anything close to your martins' activities and song.
Second, if European starlings are your invading pest bird then alterations can be made to the entrances to make the entrances more resistant to starlings. Stay tuned for many recommendations to solve that problem.
Third, if English house sparrows are your invasive pest bird, then continue your sparrow elimination program. Shoot or trap aggressively but be conscientious about native birds including your purple martins.
Fourth, if possible do not close all of your compartments or gourds. New arrivals are still happening here in Southwest TN, so you need to assume that SY martins are still arriving in your area.
Fifth, your Amish neighbors are correct. The martins will not be bothered by proximity to your house and humans. If you have not been dive bombed by a protective purple martin male during a nest check yet, then you are missing an experience to laugh about. If you can avoid ducking a dive bombing male purple martin, then you are seasoned enough to realize that no harm will come to you for this act.
I grew up playing under the purple martin houses at my father's colony since before I can remember. From those early days I learned not to pound on the martin house pole because Dad and the martins did not appreciate it. I believe martins like humans around their house to help protect them. How do you explain why martins fly overhead and talk to me while I talk to them? My father talked to his martins and they seemed to respond to him so I do the same.
Welcome to the Forum and purple martin landlording.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, S&S Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.

Ryan
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 7 years.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby Ryan » Thu May 17, 2018 5:18 am

Those are some detailed notes. Impressive and congrats.

I hope to one day make some notes like that, well probably not as detailed ha. Good luck with them. No doubt you'll do well.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits

BillieJR
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby BillieJR » Thu May 17, 2018 11:08 am

Welcome and congratulations! The pictures and the notes are awesome! Good luck with your season - I hope you keep us updated on how it's going.
Billie from southern Wisonsin

randy741985
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Location: NE Alabama
Martin Colony History: 2018-First Year
Lots of Vistors

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby randy741985 » Thu May 17, 2018 8:12 pm

That is inspiring, Hope you continue getting more Martins this year. What do you think was the most contributing Change you Made?
I seen your cane for a top perch I had some cane so I did the same.
Great Pictures Keep us updated.
2018-14 Gourds First Year
0-Martins

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 pm

What do you think was the most contributing Change you Made?
I really wish I could tell you. After a couple weeks of having the Martins around, I'm beginning to think moving the housing up close to our house was good. Sitting on our front porch we can see into the opening of the gourd they're in. Much of the time, there's a head poking out looking around. Occasionally, there are 2 heads sticking out at the same time. They seem pretty intent on knowing whats going on and are really unafraid of humans. When I did the nest check yesterday I had to run the female out of the gourd by lowering the pole about half way.

The gourd they settled in is facing our house at a 45 deg. angle in-between the house and the cars parked in the driveway (the most 'populated' spot they could possibly face). The neighbor's house is directly behind the cars. I never once saw them checking the gourds on the opposite side. There are tall trees on 2 sides, and our 2-story house in between, all of which are all taller than the Martin house. It really seems they like being close to a man-made structure and prefer the side protected by our house and the tallest trees? Since this is an ASY pair, they've apparently done this before, maybe even somewhere else in this neighborhood?

Also - I ordered 3 tunnels with porches from S&K today. I've read where the Martins always prefer the porches, so I thought of adding to 3 of the 6 gourds just in case. (I will not alter the gourd which is occupied).
Last edited by TNMartins on Thu May 17, 2018 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Thu May 17, 2018 9:32 pm

turn off the loudspeaker. Your purple martins will advertise your colony. No loudspeaker can do anything close to your martins' activities and song.
I have rarely heard the Martins making much noise. Only when they are flying around high above. Little to none when in the gourd or perched on the gourd or cane perch. Is this normal? Will they still advertise by being here, even though they're not making much noise? (vs chatter or dawnsong from the speakers?)
6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs

Dave Duit
Posts: 1274
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: state:Iowa / town:Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2017, 54 pair with 202 fledged youngsters. 73 total compartments available, 48 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 www.iamartin.org and join.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby Dave Duit » Thu May 17, 2018 9:59 pm

Awesome post and welcome aboard.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.

phldave
Posts: 457
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby phldave » Thu May 17, 2018 10:37 pm

Wow! Tnmartins,
Made it a point to read your post. Very glad I did. You are an inspiration. I sure hope your good luck rubs off. As you can see I have been trying for some time. Enjoy them and take good care of them they are very special.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week

4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1261
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 scoped Benjamin .177 pellet 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.

Morning Dawn Song and Daytime Chatter

Postby 4th Gen Martin Fan » Fri May 18, 2018 8:30 am

The song and chatter high above your colony projects much further out across the landscape and is much more effective than any loudspeaker on the ground. If any martins fly by your area, your martins will socialize in the air with the visitors and bring them down to your specific colony. In summary, your colony is on the "martin map".
The martins seem to prefer the porches. I know you have concerns about changing the set up at this point but I would add the porches onto all of the gourds including the gourds occupied by the nesting females. Do the changes in a timely manner on a warm sunny day about 1-2 pm while the female is more likely to be out feeding and the daytime temperatures warm. Avoid interfering with the nest early in the morning when females may be laying eggs.
I just added the owl/hawk guards on my Trio Grandma house. I waited until I saw the females bringing in green leaves and before the first eggs were laid. The martins had to investigate the change for about 30 minutes and then enter and exit as if nothing is different.
Do not make any major changes in the direction of the gourds or house once the martins have selected their nesting place.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, S&S Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.

jhcox
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby jhcox » Fri May 18, 2018 8:48 am

Sounds like you are doing a great job I hope you get more Martin’s this year. But one suggestion which was made to me By several on this site Leave the purple Martin decoys up just in case a hawk or an owl decides to try and get one. leave the purple Martin decoys up just in case a hawk or out decides to try and get one. It appears that the last Martin on at perch is the one to get it by the hawk or owl. JHCox Heiskell TN

sugarcreek
Posts: 152
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby sugarcreek » Fri May 18, 2018 1:41 pm

Welcome to the Landlord business, its quite fun...I too would turn off the chatter, This morning i walked outside at 3:45 am there was chatter going on up above our house as our ASY's that have laid eggs were up and doing the real dawn-song chatter when its deathly quite you can listen to your ASY up high in the air singing the real dawn-song ..Hopefully he will bring more SY's in.
2016 - 1st Yr. 14 Compartments 4 Active Nests 9 fledged, 2.25 Fledged per Active Nest
2017 - 2nd Yr. 36 Compartments 18 Active Nests 65 Fledged, 3.61 Fledged per Active Nest
2018 - 3rd Yr. 54 Compartments 43 Active Nests 169 Fledged, 3.93 Fledged per Active Nest

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Mon May 21, 2018 9:50 pm

Update -

Martin pair has now been here for almost 4 weeks. Nest check Saturday - 5 eggs! Looks like they should hatch around June 1. The M and F seem to be taking turns in the gourd with the eggs. The M has also been spending a lot of time hanging out in the gourd next door. Is this common? Not sure that 2 adults and 5 chicks will fit in the same gourd very well anyway.

Still haven't seen any other Martins since the first day or two. Following you all's advice to let the resident M do all the advertising.
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Last edited by TNMartins on Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs

4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1261
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 scoped Benjamin .177 pellet 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.

Postby 4th Gen Martin Fan » Tue May 22, 2018 8:32 am

Your S&K Bo9 gourds are good for space but when you add the S&K Ultimate Clinger Tunnels and Cooling Caps to the Bo9s they become outstanding gourds.
More security from predators, more resistance from water intrusion, more ventilation in hot and/or humid weather, and more protection from wing entrapment.

The immediate thing is add more pine straw to that nest. The eggs are sitting on the bare floor of the gourd.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, S&S Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Tue May 22, 2018 12:01 pm

Your S&K Bo9 gourds are good for space but when you add the S&K Ultimate Clinger Tunnels and Cooling Caps to the Bo9s they become outstanding gourds.
More security from predators, more resistance from water intrusion, more ventilation in hot and/or humid weather, and more protection from wing entrapment.

The immediate thing is add more pine straw to that nest. The eggs are sitting on the bare floor of the gourd.
Thanks Mark. I have S&K Tunnels on the way - and plan to install ASAP. I haven't looked into the cooling caps yet. Maybe something for next year since it appears to be a bit of work to install.

As for the Pine Straw under the eggs, it seemed like this is a relatively common situation to have eggs on the floor so I haven't addressed. Maybe I'll get some latex gloves and slip some straw under. I've avoided touching the eggs so far.

Thanks for your expert advice. I'm learning a lot!
6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs

4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1261
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 scoped Benjamin .177 pellet 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.

Postby 4th Gen Martin Fan » Tue May 22, 2018 3:39 pm

Since you have several unoccupied S&K Bo 9s, you might consider making the modifications to another Bo 9. Since the nesting pair are in a Bo 9, switch the modified Bo 9 with the existing one. Make absolute sure that the "new" Bo 9 is facing the exact same direction as the original one.
Two years ago, I did that exact same thing on two Bo 9s when I realized how easy it is for water to get into the stock Bo 9s and how hot they get in 100+ degree weather. I waited until the babies were big enough to make sounds that the parents were aware of. Between the chirping noises of the babies and the exact orientation of the Bo 9 gourds, the parents barely hesitated entering the modified Bo 9s and feeding their young.
My current suggestion about adding nesting material was meant to help the martins and to get you acquainted with working with your martins if and when any changes are necessary.
When you work and interact with your purple martins, you bond to them and they bond to you.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, S&S Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Added Porches

Postby TNMartins » Tue May 29, 2018 9:27 pm

Added 2 of the 3 tunnel / porches that I got for the Bo9s. I used a pen knife to cut out the crescent plate on the front of the gourd - wansn't difficult at all. One porch is on either side of the occupied gourd. Within 2 minutes both Martins were checking it out. They've obviously seen this setup before - or else they're just super curious. I've yet to see them go inside - the male was using the gourd to the left all the time before. it was common to see a head sticking out of both gourds at the same time. I haven't gotten up the guts yet to add the tunnel to the gourd with the eggs. They're due to hatch tomorrow or Friday.
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6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs

randy741985
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Location: NE Alabama
Martin Colony History: 2018-First Year
Lots of Vistors

Re: Added Porches

Postby randy741985 » Thu May 31, 2018 8:26 pm

TNMartins wrote:Added 2 of the 3 tunnel / porches that I got for the Bo9s. I used a pen knife to cut out the crescent plate on the front of the gourd - wansn't difficult at all. One porch is on either side of the occupied gourd. Within 2 minutes both Martins were checking it out. They've obviously seen this setup before - or else they're just super curious. I've yet to see them go inside - the male was using the gourd to the left all the time before. it was common to see a head sticking out of both gourds at the same time. I haven't gotten up the guts yet to add the tunnel to the gourd with the eggs. They're due to hatch tomorrow or Friday.
IMG_1161.jpg
I hope they all hatch :grin:, Have you had any more martins come? My activity has stopped, the thing is I have a field of martins flying across the road from me every evening. And in the mornings I can actually hear them singing the dawn song around my house in the sky before going to work. It seems I would have more action.

Best of luck with getting your Colony Started.
2018-14 Gourds First Year
0-Martins

TNMartins
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Smyrna, TN
Martin Colony History: 2018 - 3rd year of housing. First pair stayed Spring 2018.

Re: Introduction and First Success

Postby TNMartins » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:17 am

Proud New Parents - 2 hatched! :grin: (as of May 31) 3 eggs to go...

Went ahead and added the tunnel / porch yesterday evening about 2 hours before sunset. Took almost an hour for the ASY Female to go inside after landing on the porch, looking inside, flying off about 20 times. The ASY Male seemed irritated at her as he went in and out several times and would land on the porch and peck at her - like he was trying to get her to go in. It's interesting that in the evenings the Martins seem to want to be able to fly straight into the gourd quickly and silently. Very stealthy. If you aren't watching close, you'll never see them retire for the night into the gourd. The female practiced this run maybe 10 times before finally making her stealth move into the gourd after everything had calmed down and was quiet.

Something else interesting, when I dropped the rack down to do the porch addition I had to run the female out of the gourd. She pitched a fit flying around directly overhead along with the male. Within about 5 minutes a 3rd Martin showed up! The three of them flew in circles together overhead. Once I put the pole back up the 3rd Martin eventually disappeared. Is it common for a distress signal to get the interest of nearby neighbors?

Also - last thing. I measured the distance of the pole / rack from the closest obstacles in case this is useful to anyone:

Pole height - 15'
North - Hardwood trees 70' away and 70' tall
East - Open to street appx. 300' away
South - Magnolia / Redbud / Pine trees 36' away and 30' tall
West - Our house is 45' away and 25' tall (2 stories)

The Martins are in the gourd facing north, directly toward the tallest trees and our driveway / cars. The'r flight path swoops in over the magnolia / pine from the southeast, wrapping around the east (street) side of the pole and in between the tall trees and the rack to approach from the north side and land on their gourd.
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porch 1.JPG (70.75 KiB) Viewed 435 times
6 B&H Gourds / 16 Compartment house converted to 6

2016 - 0 visits
2017 - Few visitors late summer
2018 - 1 Pair, 5 eggs


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