Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

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PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:15 pm

Finally!! This is my third season for martins. I had 7 pr last year here at my house and hope to improve on that this season. There is a feed store down the road about three miles that has had a ms12,and four gourds up for years but is always busting off the doors with sparrow nest. Somehow there is always about 2-3 prs of martins that manage to nest there! I guess they are old time residents and use the sparrow nesting because the people there don’t clean out the house and close the holes. I had asked permission the last two years to clean it out for them and close the holes until a Martin is sighted and have been told no😩. However they just got new management so I asked again today and was told “sure go right ahead”!! So.....guru’s, I need an action plan to cheat out the sparrows,but with out shooting or traps. It’s a feed store on the Hwy,so no shooting and I sure can’t go do the trap thing once or twice a day,it would be endless and futile. Kinda a huge order huh. My immediate plan is clean out and plug the holes and tell em to keep watch and call me the second they see the first Martin. I only work about two miles from there and I will sneak away and go open a couple of holes. Ok.... suggestion time...fire away. Myself,I don’t see a lot of options other than clean out and exclusion,but my ears are open. This could be a new beginning for the martins there.

rrmartins
Posts: 1380
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby rrmartins » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:07 pm

If you can’t start trapping, it’s a hopeless battle. Being right by a feed store compounds your problems severely. Best thing would be is to see if you can move the housing to your place. Good luck with it.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:49 pm

Hi r.r martins. I completely agree,this is going to be a feat to behold! I’m at a loss other than vigilance . There is always like eight zillion chee chees all over the place when I pass,I just can’t stand seeing every year passing there everyday the martins having such a time with the chee chees. As I said there always manages to about three pair that manage to prevail and they are there all season. I think I’m gonna at least try to clean out and exclude them and open as martins arrive there. Question....If a pair of martins take up a cavity can they then fend off the rat birds? I’m gonna at least make the effort.

G Saner
Posts: 96
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: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby G Saner » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:04 pm

PMDavid,

If you can't use a Spar-o-door in-compartment trap, you don't have any good options. Sparrows will take over a martin nest. Your only option would be to stuff all sparrow nest material into the center compartment and keep the rooms on either side clean. That would leave 8 compartments for the martins. To some extent, sparrows will police their floor and you will "only" end up with 4 pair of sparrows. Once the sparrows are satisfied with the middle compartment, they will calm down a little. If the house had 3 pair of martins in that environment, they must be tough birds. Without trapping or shooting, there is no good advice.
G Saner

TerryW
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:02 pm
Location: Nashville, Arkansas

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby TerryW » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:07 pm

Yep, it's hopeless! Learn to look the other way. Every farm feed store is a house sparrow breeding station.

Those places are not the only ones that cause problems. Many martineers don't try to control S&S, so many I stay sort of disgusted.

C.C.Martins
Posts: 728
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
2020:?
Home colony: 14 natural gourds, one 6 compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony Oso bay preserve: 12 gourds: excluder, troyer horizontal, super gourds with tunnels. 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: ?
PMCA member

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby C.C.Martins » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:38 pm

Your hearts in the right place and I completely understand, but without an active elimination program...dont see how to win against them. do what you can, maybe with new management they will help you in this. The martins can defend the nest if they have learned to stay behind while one is out feeding, sounds like some have...but they can only do so much and Id imagine they have small broods and low survival rates.
How many times have we seen the martins living in slums and come back to that year after year. Me, Id concentrate on your home systems, because eventually those displaced Martins will need a good home.
Tom
Tom

2016- two came by, inspected cavities, left. Made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair 15 Fledged
2018-18 pairs 85 Fledged
2019-17 pair 81 fledged
2020:

Satellite location: oso preserve 12 gourds, modified trio
2019: Visitors
2020: hopeful!!!

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:47 pm

Well I’m gonna clean out,make pine straw pre nests an close most of the holes or all. Checkin daily and see what goes. If I get some arrivals I’ll put up those few gourds they have in a box. We’ll see what goes I guess. Maybe through the summer I can have made one of those baited up catch cages I’ve seen someone on here have. I saw that on here last year. It’s a small wire cage that they go in and can’t get out. Then I could catch em in bulk over the rest of the fall and winter. I just don’t have the time for an in the house one bird at a time sparrow trap. Did you maybe see that cage trap on the forum last year? A photo would be great. On another note.......I saw the scout report shows a new arrival in chorus! Good luck and stay in touch.
David

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:28 am

Went by this morning in the dark @6:15 and hassled the rat birds. Shook the snot out of the house to freak em out🤣. About a dozen came out. Going by this evening and do clean out and plugging. Need some blueprints for one of those wire cage live traps.....anyone?

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2656
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby flyin-lowe » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:37 am

Like others have said it will be next to impossible to control in that situation. I would close it up entirely until you see martins there. Once they start to return just open a few cavities at a time. While it's best to have things opened up when they arrive, a returning martin will not abandon a site just because they can't get in the first day or two. At my old house that I moved from I drove by each day or so and the martins were circling the spot where the pole used to be for about a week. After 7 days or so they stopped coming back and moved on to look for new housing. I've seen some martins that will fight sparrows to the ground and run them off. It just depends on the bird, you might have a timid PM with a ferocious HOSP or you might have aggressive PM's and slightly timid HOSP's that will just move on.
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.

MartinBro
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:21 pm
Location: South Side

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby MartinBro » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:10 am

Trap the HOSP anyway with an insert trap. The owners probably won't even notice. Put the trapped HOSP in a burlap sack or a cage. If the owner asks "what are you doing," tell them you are going to relocate them. Drive home with your HOSP and do what you know needs to be done. A bait trap won't work since the HOSP already have a reliable food source.

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:31 am

Thanks Lowe and bro.....I agree on all accounts. As I mentioned there are still about three pair that show up and stay all season long. So they are obviously nesting,I pass there daily sometimes twice in the daylight,so that being said maybe they are aggressive enough to return and actually take over some sparrow occupied cavities. I am going today and clean out all cavities and I brought with me the hole plugs and I’m gonna plug all holes and give the people my cell phone number to call me the instant they spot a returning Martin,I will have daily watch as well. In the meantime bro I am going to actively begin to move forward on making a repeating baited sparrow trap as I don’t think they are gonna mind at all. It can then be set around the side of the building and begin its job. And I do know what needs to be done. They will be dispatched not relocated. A quick rap of the head against something and he’s “not with us any longer”👹. Thanks guys for the input...I’ve always gotten help with needed solutions here. Today may start a new chapter for these neglected birds. The house or gourds have not been cleaned out for at least 5 years that I know of,today that changes. Thanks again........David

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4263
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby Steve Kroenke » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:14 pm

David,

We have five satellite purple martin colonies located in northwest Louisiana. All the colonies do have some house sparrow issues but all these colonies are well populated with established ASY martins with STRONG site tenacity; that is, the martins are bonded to the cavities and fight to hold their nest sites. What we have seen at our satellite colonies is that it is imperative to remove any sparrow nest that has filled up a cavity to the point where a larger martin can't enter. Once returning ASY martins that have nested in our colonies are here, they readily defend their cavities against sparrows. But the martins must be able to enter their old cavities and defend them.

Martins are not helpless and readily defend their nests against sparrows. The martin is larger and heavier than a sparrow but the sparrow has a more powerful finch beak that can crush/bite like a miniature vise. The sparrow eats lots of seeds which must be cracked. The martin has a swallow beak which is relatively weak with limited crushing power and somewhat soft around the edges. The martin eats flying insects, many of which can be swallowed whole. But a martin's larger size and aggressive behavior can "intimidate" the smaller sparrow and often allow the martin to hold his/her own with a sparrow in behavioral interactions. That said, some super aggressive sparrows can still fight their way into a martin house or gourd cluster and effectively use their powerful beaks in beak to beak encounters with martins.

In most cases I have observed established martins which have nested for many years at a colony are successful in defending their nests but there are always a few very aggressive sparrows that can take over an empty cavity and hold it. For example, we have a satellite martin colony located only about three miles from our personal colonies. It has 72 cavities, four Super Gourds and 68 aluminum compartments. Martins fill up nearly all these cavities but there will usually be at least two and sometimes three pairs of sparrows that fight their way into the colony. Once the sparrows have selected their nest and successfully defended it, the martins and sparrows largely ignore each other.

But we NEVER allow these sparrows to breed. Bob, my neighbor, discreetly shoots these sparrows and I have used insert traps or Trio door traps to eliminate them, too. Once these several pairs of sparrows are gone, new martins often move in. This colony is usually 100% occupied by martins each season.

Keeping the sparrow nests out of that martin colony is very important at the beginning of the season so that the returning ASY martins will have a better chance of entering their previous nests. If you see a pair of sparrows filling a cavity with nesting material, try to use some kind of insert trap to catch them. The PMCA sells some great insert traps, like the Universal trap, that may fit in a variety of house compartments. Of course, the house needs to have doors that open up so that you can place the traps inside.

Good luck with that martin colony and keep us posted on how thing go!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:30 pm

Thanks Steve,that kinda along the lines I’m thinking. As my first go at it for this year is eliminate access until the martins appear. I have seen them defend themselves and they can fight. I’m gonna “wing it”this season and try to aggressively trap in the up coming very near future . All these years nothing has been done so it’s at least a start. By next season I should have a much better handle on it,and maybe ,just maybe this site can be re gained. Today’s actions are a first step! Thanks for your and others input,always welcome
David

Whippy
Posts: 286
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 - ?

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby Whippy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:46 pm

David,

Have you been able to convince the feed store owner how the Sparrows are ultimately a nuisance and detrimental to his feed store? Maybe take him around and take notice of all the Sparrow droppings inside his storage facility etc. Maybe you'll get him to the point where he'll become ticked off at them and become more aggressive in helping you control them. Maybe the sparrow crap makes his female customers uneasy in the filth. Who knows.

We had a horse barn that had Sparrow crap on just about every inch of the place. They nested in the insulation and really tore the whole place up. When I was a kid I had a great time shooting them but, bottom line is, they made the place dirtier than it needed to be. You couldn't lean on a horse stall to look at the horses without getting sparrow crap on your sleeves.

Maybe send "shoppers" in and tell them to comment on how gross the bird droppings are and leave without buying anything. Get enough of those and you might just turn him your favor. :lol:

I'm sure you have thought of all of this already but I'm in the Martin zone right now and thought I'd chime in as I've seen the affect sparrows have on feed stores and horse barns.

Take care.

Coolwhips

deancamp
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: MO

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby deancamp » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:09 pm

David,
Sounds like you have the right attitude going in. I don't what else I can add to what's been said, so I'm just wishing you luck. As time goes on you will see what works and what doesn't so you can adapt your strategy. This thought is way out there, but if the feed store shows interest in the Martins, the Martin activity would be good advertisement for them to sell Martin houses, etc..

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:06 pm

Thanks Dean,and good to hear from you again. If you remember we chatted off and on last year. I had a good start of 7pr. I got and followed good advice from a lot of good folks year before last and it all paid off. Hoping numbers go up this year. I’m just gonna go into it open minded and try to persist and prevail. And I did tell those folks that a lot of people see their house and martins and think it’s cool and is good PR. They agreed. So I have a plan and today I begin and I’ll move forward from there. Thanks and good to hear from ya. Good luck this season.

MartinBro
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:21 pm
Location: South Side

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby MartinBro » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:38 pm

Them house sparrows already have an endless supply of feed store food. They're not going to maneuver into your little repeating bait trap if they already have an easy endless supply of feed store food. Insert trap is the way to go.

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:35 am

Well ,it’s done. You would be astonished at just how much crap a pack of rat birds can pack into a 12 hole house! I got a whole garbage bag of stuffings. Amazing! I cleaned out soap and water cleaned,blew it dry enough,and prenested with pine straw and closed all the holes. They have been in formed to keep watch for arrivals and call me when a Martin is spotted. I also put a natural gourd I had as an extra. I’m gonna have to get em a new pole,the one they have is in three pieces bolted together and really rickety,kinda floppin around. I got a plan for that though,already got my eye on one at work. I read Martin bro’s post concerning the possible loose feed laying around and did a walk around. These folks employ a lot of work release workers and someone sweeping up all around all day ,it was pretty free of loose available feed so I’m gonna move forward on the making of a repeating trap,looked on you tube last night at some designs.....piece of cake, will begin materials percurement today(free materials)from scrap in our carpenter shop. I even know the location of a discarded rabbit cage with enough hardware cloth to do the do job! So,as they say........” get ahead dad!” Moving forward
David

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4263
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby Steve Kroenke » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:45 am

David,

House sparrows can eventually take over martin houses that usually have good occupancy levels by martins by building their almost martin proof nests in all the cavities. The house sparrow builds a tightly packed nest with a narrow tunnel that goes to the nesting chamber. The nest becomes so compacted that the larger martin can be excluded from entering.

Before the days of flip up door panels and access lids on gourds, I had to use a hooked piece of wire to forcibly remove sparrow nests at my boyhood martin colony back in the 60s! I was amazed at how much nesting material i removed from sparrow nests! When Trio came out with aluminum houses and flip up door panels, it was SO EASY to remove those sparrow nests!

So your approach is good to get rid of all those compacted sparrow nests!

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season

PMDavid
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair

Re: Out with the rat birds ,in with the martins! New beginnings

Postby PMDavid » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:47 pm

Hey Steve,man talk about some stuff in there! Some of it had been so long it was making compost. This an older Coates original 12 apartment house. It’s a bit beat up. By thetime I got it all out the pile was three or four times the size of the house itself. I have already today made the “elevator” portion minus the teeter totter part. I’ll make that part when I get home as I have some light gauge pvc and some wire there. Also gonna go in the edge of the field across the way and scarf up the hardware cloth off that old rabbit cage. I should have my trap finished in a few days. It’s patterned after the deluxe repeating sparrow trap ,looks to work very well. I hope to finish it,set,and then go back and find a sack full of them little rat birds in it. If I can achieve any level of success here I think I’m gonna donate em a 16 hole Coates original I have and a pole,we’ll see what goes still early in the game.
David


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