Thanks, Toy. We were posting together. I will reduce the 24 to a 12. This will give room for the nine pairs who made nests last year, plus 3 more units. I put a pack of louvered blanks in my cart, plus a pack of crescent doors. I was thinking I would swap only half the doors for crescent the first year, and see if the martins will adapt, and not get entrapped. Is that okay?
Still waiting to hear from nephew whether he can get the pole out of the concrete. Next I have to get up my nerve to inspect the houses and fight the swallows. I find birds flying near me a little creepy. (Childhood trauma involving a Alfred Hitchcock ;-) There was one nest I scraped out yesterday that was a swallow, I feel sure. It was not a Martin nest. It was spilling out the door, very nasty. I do not think I can bring myself to shoot sparrows or starlings but I will try. One skill I do have — I am stone cold accurate with most any firearm — or used to be. I guess you’re supposed to use birdshot, or get a pellet gun?
Jeez. I never shot anything alive before . . . But I really want to keep these martins.
I think as long as you have a cable/winch you should be able to crank it up/down pretty easy. Adding a few crescent doors to see how it goes is fine. If it weren't for those nasty sparrows & starlings we wouldn't have to worry about this. However they are bad birds & we must protect the beautiful martins. Most use a BB gun or pellet gun. I live in town, so we're not supposed to shot even a BB gun, but we are super cautious & watch that no one is looking when we do. Think of the HS & Starlings as rats in your house. You'd kill a rat, so killing them is no different.They are not native & are very harmful to all songbirds, especially ,martins.
I would guess that large nasty nest was from a HS (house sparrow).
Getting a pole out of concrete is next to impossible. I'd suggest pulling the whole thing out or moving the new pole over a bit & cementing it in a new hole.
Once your house is up you should watch the Scout Report Map & when any are getting close to your area or around the same date as they arrived last year, then open a few rooms that you can see from your house. As more arrive open more rooms. That helps to keep HS from moving in. If you want to report your colony you have to register on the Scout Report Map page with a different password, as it's separate from the forum.
Once martins arrive go out & talk to them. Pretty soon you will learn their schedule & be sitting outside watching & talking to them. Many of us keep detailed dated records of nest building, egg laying, hatching, fledging. The martins don't mind us checking their nests. They'll move away, land & watch, then come back as soon as you raise the house back up.
Toy in PA