Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

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Bird Brain
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX

Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Bird Brain » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:51 am

Hi. I'm already thinking about next year. Next year will be my 4'th year trying, which is a good thing in my opinion. Time served. Does offering different types of cavities help attract martins ? Currently, I offer Troyer verticals and Troyer horizontals. I'm thinking about integrating a few Chirpy Nests and Heritage Farms Quad Pods to the mix. Does offering more diversity of cavities help attract that first pair ? Also, one more question. I currently offer 12 cavities. Would increasing the number of cavities offered help attract that first pair ? I have the ability to offer as many as 40 cavities. Just not sure if it would help. Money is not an issue. I just want to attract that first pair.
Every time I kill a house sparrow, I make the world a better place.

Hanover Bill
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Hanover Bill » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:05 am

I would say yes. Especially when trying to attract your first nesters. In my own case I started with a plastic house, added gourds, Troyer horizontal and verticle, and finally found success when I also put up a T-14. The T-14 seemed to put me over the finish line. Of course all of this took 5 years to attract those first two nesting pairs. Strange thing is that even though the T-14 seemed to be the difference maker, my Martins now prefer the gourds.

For whatever reason a Martin picks a certain type of housing, I guess it stands to reason that the more options we present them with the better chances that they will be attracted to one type or the other.

As for the question is more better, just keep in mind that every empty compartment is an invitation to HOSP and Starlings. You will probably be better off adding housing as you go, but starting out with a reasonable number of compartments.

Best wishes for next season.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

randyM
Posts: 88
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 2016...it 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: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby randyM » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:09 am

Before you add any additional housing to your site, make sure you have open flyways to your existing housing, with any existing trees in the area as far from your housing as possible. As these variables will likely have more of an effect on birds selecting your site to nest than what type of housing you provide.

If you're looking to add different options for martins to choose, I'd suggest adding a multi-unit house to your site instead of more single unit nesting options. When I started my colony site I had a situation opposite of your set up as I only had multi unit houses and no gourds to begin with. I had a plastic house and two wooden houses up for a decade with little interest from martins. I added gourds to my housing and the very next day I had visitors...one that stayed a month and came back the next year with a mate to successfully nest. They nested in one of the wood houses I offered. Interestingly, I offer about 3 wood house cavities for every 1 plastic gourd cavity (Super gourds and big bo gourds) and have only had one pair nest in a gourd in the 4 years I've had an active colony. I have all round holes at my colony. Not sure if adding gourds made my colony more attractive to martins or not, but I sure don't think it hurt anything.

Good luck next year...year 5 typically seems to be a good year for many beginning colonies.

Black Jack
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Black Jack » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:51 pm

Where I am from in North Carolina. Open farm fields with house as back drop and home grown gourds painted white seems to be the ticket.

TomBrake
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:03 pm
Location: VA/Abingdon

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby TomBrake » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:22 pm

I believe offering variety would help in attracting that first pair but make sure the site meets the recommended criteria. Open flyways mainly and distance from trees.
If you haven’t tried the dawn song I would highly recommend trying it, especially if you haven’t seen martins investigating.
Number of cavities offered isn’t as important as site as far as getting that first pair. Once you get martins you can grow the colony to a size you are able to manage. I of course would encourage you to try ChirpyNest along with your other offerings then you and the martins can decide what you like best to expand. Last year I replaced all my gourds with ChirpyNest and am not going back.

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2639
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby flyin-lowe » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:25 am

When you say attract more martins are you talking about drawing in lookers or actually getting a pair to stay, I assume the latter. If you have been trying for 4 years and see little to no lookers you are either in an area with a low populations or your property is not appealing. In that case additional housing might not make a difference. If you are getting lots of visitors just none that stay then more options might be the ticket. You never know what will trigger that first pair to like your place more then all others.
2019- Currently 31 complete nests (27 with eggs or babies) 94 babies hatched and 19 eggs still to hatch) 6-22-19
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.

sssSMOKING
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:26 pm
Location: Verona / VA
Martin Colony History: 2019 > 20 nesting pairs, 92 Fledged
2018 > 15 nesting pairs, 39 Fledged
2017 > 12 nesting pairs, 43 Fledged
2016 > 9 nesting pairs, 25 Fledged
2015 > 5 nesting pairs, 23 Fledged
2014 > 4 nesting pairs, 15 Fledged
2013 > 4 nesting pairs, 15 fledged
2012 > Several Lookers

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby sssSMOKING » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:15 am

From my own experience this is what I had to do. I had a beautiful 16 compartment house my brother-in law made me. It was up for 2 years and martins would just fly around it but nothing else. People say and I agree with them that martins don't like new. They like for your houses to look used and old. So I took mud and rubbed all over the house and did what I could to make it look used, rough up there landing (porch). Still no takers.

Long story short.
I drove around and looked to see who had martins and what type of housing they had. Closest one was about 5 miles and they had super gourds with round holes.
I came home and ordered a gourd rack with some super gourds most with crescent openings but 2 with round holes and had it installed 1 week after ordering. 3 days after installed I had several martins sitting and fighting over the new set up. Go figure!!

Looking back what I should have done was to installed/offered many different cavities.
Now I have a 16 compartment house (Chuck Abare), Super gourds, Natural gourds, Bo11P, and Troyer horizontal gourd.
I think martins like to chose cavities that they were born in and who knows what that would be.

I do think martins like to be close to people, my set up is about 40 feet from my house. Seem the martin's watch me as much as I watch them!

Keep trying and please do keep us informed.

Richard
2012 > Several Lookers
2013 - 4 pair, 14 fledged
2014 - 5 pair, 15 Fledged (House Wren Destroyed Eggs, 5th pair)

phldave
Posts: 490
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby phldave » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:33 pm

On a similar note. There was a particular interesting behavior I noted at my site this past year. I decided to place a couple decoys with their heads in the tunnel of a couple compartments with their tails sticking out of the openings a couple inches. This caught the attention of one SY male. I observed him several times straddling these decoys trying to look inside the compartment to see what was going on in there. I will definitely use this tactic again next year.
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
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay

C.C.Martins
Posts: 688
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA, made adjustments and next year was sucessful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged.
2018-18 pair. 85 fledged.
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
Home colony: 12 natural gourds, one modified house. 18 cavities in total.
PMCA member

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby C.C.Martins » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:47 pm

Phldave,
Now that is interesting. Have a neighbor putting up a system, and have a system out at a preserve that drew a few visitors, no luck...trio mini castle and a PMCA 12 gourd system. will do that. Have a few extra decoys. Thank you!
Tom

2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA, made adjustments and next year was sucessful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 Fledged
2018-18 pairs. 85 Fledged.
2019-17 pair. 81 fledged.
Offering: 12 natural gourds, w/crescents and WDC openings. 6 modified compartment house, crescents with tunnels.

Brad Biddle
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Brad Biddle » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:41 am

My 2 cents....

Location and openness of the site trumps everything. If you’re good on that, then put up the type of housing that people in your area use who host Martins. If you’re good on that, then changing what you use is pointless. You’re offering good gourds. You’re asking about two different house types that while technically are houses, look and function like gourds. They’re single compartments. IMO if houses are successful in your area, you still aren’t going to put up house looking houses. If Trio castles are successful put up a Trip castle. If T-14’s are all the rage, put up a T-14.

If you’ve got an oak tree 30’ from your site, don’t waste your money
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Dave Duit
Posts: 1501
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 www.iamartin.org and join.

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby Dave Duit » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:16 am

Everyone responding covered all the bases, so I won't reinvent the wheel. Variety is good in housing. Open fly zones, away from tall trees and within 100 feet of your house, add some decoys, smear a little mud on the exterior of the entrance, pre-nest with soft white pine needles, play the daytime chatter and dawnsong CDs may all assist you in building a new colony. Hope that your area is not a dead zone of martins.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.

G Saner
Posts: 92
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.

Re: Does Offering Different Types Of Cavities Help Attract Martins ?

Postby G Saner » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:46 am

Birdbrain,

As others have stated, a variety of housing is a plus but a good open site is by far the most important. If your site is mediocre, you might consider a satellite colony. That is what I had to do as martins would not nest in my backyard. Look for golf courses, schools, parks and assisted living centers in your area. My colony is at an assisted living center and the martins and the center residents are very happy.
G Saner


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