Chicadee Interference

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gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby gotham » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:02 pm

My wife's arthroscopic knee surgery has required our being in Toronto, away from our country place and martin house, since June 11 and so we don't know what the HOSP has been up to or whether, against all odds, the martin house we left raised and open might have attracted a tenant.

Although we are probably going to have to remain in the city at least another week, we should shortly have a progress report from the country as our daughter and her husband are going to spend the July 1 long weekend there. I may even be able to prevail upon them to play the Dawnsong a couple of times.

Gotham

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby gotham » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:17 pm

Our daughter and son-in-law returned yesterday from their long weekend at our summer place.

They saw no sign of the HOSP. Unfortunately, the martin house did not appear to have any martin tenants, either. At one point they did see 3 martins on the house, with at least one appearing to make an unsuccessful attempt to enter a compartment through its crescent shaped SREH.

From my online and other reading I gather that there is a consensus that the crescent SREH's are seldom a significant deterrent to martin colonization and that if one is patient the martins will almost always get through these openings. However, some do seem to think the restricted entrance may be problematic if one is attempting to start a new colony or if the other houses in the area all have the round holes, with both of these considerations applying to our situation. Additionally, some do report occasions when these these SREH's have prevented compartment access to martins-see the thread "Questions About Different Types of Openings" in this forum in which detioh11 says he has observed 3 different instances in which martins were unable to enter such openings despite having tried for 30-45".

Because of my experience this year I am following through on an idea I floated earlier in this thread and am ordering from the PMCA a front panel with 3 round holes for my Lonestar Alamo house and will try this from the outset next year. My hope is that martins will enter the compartments with the round holes and that their presence will provide greater motivation for other martins to push into the compartments with the SREH's. If starlings enter through the round openings I will get rid of the predators immediately and replace the round hole panel with the original one with the crescent openings.

My wife is recovering well from her arthroscopic knee surgery and we now hope to be able to return to our country place next Tuesday, July 9. I will do the sort of thorough check of the situation we could not ask our daughter to do (opening all the compartments and carefully monitoring all the bird activity in the area). I will leave the house up and open until the latter part of August (martins in this vicinity start their migration south about August 15) in the hope that, as was earlier suggested by Toy in PA, some martins may acquaint themselves with it and return to it next year.

I will let you know what I find next week.

Gotham

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference-Would Appreciate Advice

Postby gotham » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:50 pm

We returned to our country place yesterday afternoon. Since our arrival we have seen no martins near our martin house.

However, we did see the male HOSP, who has been our nemesis all season, on the house and now accompanied by a female partner! We also saw they were entering one of the 6 compartments we had left open when we went back to Toronto a month ago for my wife's arthroscopic knee surgery.

This morning the male was on one of the perching rods but took off as I approached. I lowered the house and confirmed the presence of a massive HOSP nest in the compartment I had earlier seen them entering (see photo HOSPNest). I removed just enough of the nest to make room for the insert sparrow trap but left most of it so the sparrows could see it and be enticed to enter (see photo HOSPTrap). I also placed some of the nest material on the trap floor. I then left the martin house lowered and returned indoors to monitor the situation through our spotting telescope.

In just a couple of minutes the HOSP pair returned, with the female clutching a piece of cellophane in her beak and intent on adding to the monstrous nest! They landed on the balcony to their chosen compartment and hesitated, clearly recognizing that something had changed (at least in part because the SREH's in the Lonestar Alamo are not centered, making it impossible to have the SREH and the crescent opening in the sparrow trap overlap-see Photo Eccentric) . They did not enter but flitted about to other balconies, looking confused. After a couple of minutes of this the female, still with the cellophane in her beak, returned to the entrance to the compartment housing their nest, hesitated again, but then finally entered. The male flew off as I returned to the martin house. After I euthanized the female I reinserted the sparrow trap, even though I thought the already wary male had been sufficiently further alerted to the danger that he would not return to that compartment.

The male HOSP is thus still at large and will likely find another mate. He has learned enough that I think it unlikely he will ever be fooled by the insert trap. I guess I have to hope he will now perceive our entire martin house, and not just that one compartment, as a danger to be avoided and will stay away.

Others on this forum have undoubtedly had a similar experience with the HOSP insert trap and I would appreciate any advice you might be able to give based on your experience.

Gotham
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gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference-PS

Postby gotham » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:33 pm

Today I discovered that the HOSP pair had also built a huge nest in a neighboring compartment of the martin house (Photo HOSPNest2). I understand sparrows sometimes do build more than one nest in close proximity to one another. Typically, too, they had used feathers to create a soft inner lining (Photo HOSPNestfeather). There were no eggs.

There has been no sign of the Male HOSP since his having taken off yesterday immediately following the loss of his mate.

What we are wondering now is whether (1) it is likely he has finally been sufficiently scared off that he will stay away from our martin house from here on in or whether (2) there is a significant danger that he will round up another female and return to harass us further.

If anyone on the forum has had experience relevant to this issue we would certainly appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks,
Gotham
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ToyinPA
Posts: 2042
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby ToyinPA » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:57 pm

There's a good chance he'll find a new mate & return. Had it happen many times. If you get the male the female usually leaves, but the male often returns. It's a battle keeping them away, out, etc. If you have several pair of martins in the house they usually chase them off, but it won't stop the HS from sneaking in while the martins are off feeding & causing damage.

One thing you do not want to do is remove the nest of a HS if you have martins nesting, because the HS (especially males) will take revenge. They will destroy eggs, kill chicks or yank them out & carry them off. You must trap or shoot them.

HS breed like rabbits, so there are always plenty around to deal with.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby gotham » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:14 am

Thanks, Toy.

I had read that there was a real danger the male HOSP would return with another partner. It was very useful to hear that you have actually had that experience. Of course, I had hoped the male would be the first to enter the compartment with the nest and insert trap but he was more wary. Although the female also seemed to sense something was wrong she had returned to the house with the cellophane in her beak and was committed to adding it to the nest and therefore entered the trap. Unfortunately, as I said above, the male has now seen enough that he is unlikely to fall for the trap, even if he returns with a new partner and I wait until they have constructed a new nest. I just have to hope we finally have some luck and that the loss of his mate deters him from coming back.

I have removed the second nest (no martins and so no concern about a "sparrow's revenge syndrome") and have left the insert trap in the compartment with the nest that had been their main focus, even though I think it highly unlikely the male will return and enter. The martin house has been left lowered so as not to attract any martins (who could probably not get in, anyway, due to the fact the SREH size has been reduced by the incomplete overlap between it and the crescent entrance to the trap, as shown in the earlier photo). I am, nonetheless, closely monitoring the martin house.

If the HOSP does not return in the next couple of days I will remove the trap and the nest and again raise the martin house. I will leave it up for the rest of the season, until the end of August (martins leave this area August 15), as has been suggested, in the hope it will be spotted by some martins who will be returning next year as subadults and may remember our Lonestar Alamo.

If the little SOB with the black bib does come back I have to confess I am not sure what I will do but I will eventually post the season's final outcome.

Gotham

ToyinPA
Posts: 2042
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby ToyinPA » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:34 am

Gotham:

HS, especially the males, are cunning. They will watch your house/windows & doors for any movement & take off as soon as they see any movement. Some make it pretty difficult to catch them. We've tried the in house traps & the ground repeating traps & for us they failed. For others they work great. My husband is pretty good at using a BB gun, but living in town we have to be careful of neighbors. All I can say is keep after them & hopefully you'll catch the creeps.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference-Toy Was Right!

Postby gotham » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:05 pm

Toy was right.

This morning the little f****r was back!-flitting about the martin house as though it was all his (see photos). There must be sparrownip in the Lonestar paint.

I am at my wits end. The insert trap is still in the compartment with the primary nest but, as anticipated, he is too wily to go in.

If I were in the US I would now pick him off with my rifle with a scope. Instead, I am going to have to come up with a Canadian solution. I am not sure, though, what I can do with a hockey stick.

I am going to have to research this some more and will let you know what further failure of an idea I come up with. I can't believe this little **** has persisted in harassing us ever since a couple of days after I reported the arrival of the purple martins in our area on April 13, at which time I had been looking forward to a successful season.

Gotham
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ToyinPA
Posts: 2042
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Chicadee Interference-Toy Was Right!

Postby ToyinPA » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:04 pm

Toy was right.

This morning the little f****r was back!-flitting about the martin house as though it was all his (see photos). There must be sparrownip in the Lonestar paint.

I am at my wits end. The insert trap is still in the compartment with the primary nest but, as anticipated, he is too wily to go in.

If I were in the US I would now pick him off with my rifle with a scope. Instead, I am going to have to come up with a Canadian solution. I am not sure, though, what I can do with a hockey stick.

I am going to have to research this some more and will let you know what further failure of an idea I come up with. I can't believe this little **** has persisted in harassing us ever since a couple of days after I reported the arrival of the purple martins in our area on April 13, at which time I had been looking forward to a successful season.

Gotham
Gotham:
I figured he'd return. I sent you an e-mail.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

Brad Biddle
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby Brad Biddle » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:18 pm

Buy a permit, buy a gun and shoot the dang thing.

As a last resort, Martins and HOSP CAN cohabitate though it's far from ideal. There is no way I would allow a HOSP to keep me from opening up my Martin housing. You could have Martins and HOSP until you eliminate the HOSP.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby gotham » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:44 pm

Last evening I put a little birdseed on the balcony of the booby trapped compartment and then put more seed inside, on the floor of the trap.

This morning the bad guy was back on the martin house and, through the spotting telescope, I could see his beak opening and closing as he called in an attempt to attract a new mate. He moved about from balcony to perching rod and then briefly entered an empty compartment. Finally he actually landed on the balcony with the bird seed. I watched, holding my breath, as he took a seed in his beak. However, instead of following the trail of seed on into the trap, he flew to another balcony where, in safety, he ate the bait. He then flew off and has been gone the rest of today.

I have now read that during the breeding/nesting period a feather or feathers can be used to bait a trap, especially one the HOSP might have already used in a nest. This evening I, therefore, found the nest I had discarded a couple of days ago and retrieved the three small feathers he and his partner had used to line that nest. I moved the insert trap to the empty chamber he had briefly entered this morning and placed the three feathers on the floor of the trap, with one sticking part way out of the opening. For good measure I placed a few seeds on the balcony of this newly booby trapped compartment and more inside, hopefully as a further enticement for him to enter.

I will have to see what happens on his anticipated return tomorrow. So far, however, he has been winning this battle of wits (? halfwits).

PS:
Brad, a gun isn't really an option here. My neighbours would sic the mounties onto me. This area has become so gentrified it is becoming known as the Canadian Hamptons :)

Toy, I didn't get your E-mail but you may not have my E-mail address.

Gotham

BumBee
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:47 am
Location: Sugar Land, Texas

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby BumBee » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:41 pm

Gotham,
I trap and shoot those little buggers. I use two PMCA repeating traps with modified entrances.
I made the entrance big enough so those little buggers can get and stop the white wings doves and
squirrels from getting in.

The third trap is a home made nest box trap mounted on top of a 4 inch PVC sewer pipe.

I do not like to use the compartments on my PM housing as traps. I just block the entrance and
use them as my shooting platforms.

I would throw bird seeds to attract those little buggers to the ground and send .177 10.6 grn pellets.

I use a .177 PCP moderated air rifle for the job. I too have neighbors that would call the cops on me
if and when they hear or see me shooting those little buggers and the starlings. I like this better
than removing the catch from my traps. They don't ever see me with the pellet rifle in my position.

Good luck getting rid of those little buggers.

FarmerHarv
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby FarmerHarv » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:17 pm

Gotham, you get bonus points for perseverance, that's for sure! :grin: You'll get him eventually, just hang in there. I had a particularly evasive male that I finally got with a .22 rimfire as he was looking out of a tree swallow box. I had to call in a crime scene clean up crew to take care of the mess in the box, plus repair the back wall where the bullet exited, but the tree swallow eggs were still fine and all successfully fledged. The parents had quite the story to tell the kids later about the home invasion of '19 I'm sure.

gotham
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby gotham » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:25 pm

Farmerharv,

Thanks for the encouragement and the description of the solution that worked for you in solving a problem similar to mine.

I just went to my wife, whose family owns this place, and asked what she thought of my looking into the possibility of getting an air rifle. Her answer was, "No, and No in bright lights". Her response has something to do with her being Canadian and something to do with where we are in Canada. Although I assume your being in Saskatchewan means, Saskatchewan, Canada, it sounds as though you are on a farm in the prairies, where the ownership and use of firearms is much more acceptable.

So far the little b* hasn't returned and I suspect he's out looking for a mate to bring back.

In case, upon his return, he doesn't fall for the reconfigured insert trap in the martin house, I spent some time yesterday looking into various nest box traps. I might have to try putting a nest box back up, this time armed with such a device.

If I ever get this guy I'm going to take him to a taxidermist, get him stuffed and mount him on the wall over the fireplace :)

I'll keep you posted.

Gotham

ToyinPA
Posts: 2042
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby ToyinPA » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:38 pm

Gotham:

I tried to send you an e-mail or Private Message, but you don't have that option available. Send me an e-mail: tergott@comcast.net

Use PURPLE MARTIN in the subject line.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

Birds
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:35 am
Location: Northeast OH
Martin Colony History: 2017: nothing, 2018: discovered the PMCA, new house modifications 2019:Still no Martins. House sparrow and starling hate forever.

Re: Chicadee Interference

Postby Birds » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:56 pm

What works for me is to take down the Martin house for a couple days. Put the insert trap in a wooden box on a pole and wait patiently... I have noticed that after a male hosp clams a house he is less likely to go in. So by setting up a new nest compartment for him will encourage him to go in. Just my experience may not work for you. Good luck👍
2017 :installed a Martin house hoping for Martins.
2018 :discovered the PMCA made modifications to a heath house .
2019 : Still no martins yet. House sparrow and starlings hate forever.
Tip :never give up


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