6-1-2020 update..Nest check 5-19-2020

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johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

See further down post for the 6-1-2020 update

We have a 12 Troyer gourd setup, been up for a few years and just in the last couple of weeks I started checking the gourds thanks to this forum. I didn't make a record of my first check - the idea was to get the martins used to me messing with their condos and to familiarize myself with the difference between a martin nest and all others. Yes, I've not done my due diligence until now :oops: .

Anyway, I numbered the gourds and had a peek inside. I found one sparrow nest complete with three or so eggs, I pulled it out and set the gourd sparrow trap (yes, I realize the common wisdom is to not pull out a nest.)

So I have six gourds with at least four or five eggs each :grin: , again I wanted to minimize my time messing with their housing so I didn't count the eggs. Next time I'll be more thorough with inspection. For my record keeping, here's the rundown:

Gourds:
1 - martin nest, no eggs
2 - martin nest with eggs
3 - martin nest, no eggs
4 - martin nest with eggs
5 - martin nest, no eggs
6 - martin nest, no eggs
7 - martin nest with eggs
8 - martin nest with eggs
9 - martin nest with eggs
10- martin nest, with eggs

11- martin nest, no eggs
12- sparrow nest with eggs (removed and gourd trap set)

John
JJ Ranch Exotics
Texas Hill Country
Last edited by johncanfield on Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Mike Mack
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:56 pm
Location: Centex

Sounds like your doing pretty good so far. You ended up in a great place here on the forum for spot on info. Hope you get that sparrow quickly they can be a pain.
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

It is hard to make yourself do nest checks because you feel like you don't want to "disturb" the Martins and their activities. Last thing we want to do is run them off. However, we will not run them off at all. They like us and will soon forget that we lowered their housing to have a look and to help out. I find myself now needing to make a nest check however, over the last couple of days I've had several SY males and females arrive and they are filling up my vacancies as the other ASY birds are bringing in bugs and/or sitting on eggs. I feel like I don't want to impede the progress of the new arrivals.

But, I will since I need to check for mites, wasps and other possible problems.

Coolwhips
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

The trap was sprung, it took the sparrow about two hours to adapt to the aluminum plate that was in the ready position to close the entrance. I lowered the gourds and unscrewed the cap and whoosh. The bird flew the coop. Perhaps the sparrow won't try that again, we'll see.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

Did he get away?
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1416
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 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air 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.

I will guess the HOSP got away. He will come back and will be mad as hell. Male Sparrow Revenge.
If you notice pecked eggs, then you will have a good idea what happened and will understand why all HOSP must be exterminated that invade your housing.
Buy a can of starter fluid (ether) and attach the red tube to the nozzle. Have a trash bag ready. Trap the HOSP again in your gourd trap. He will be much more reluctant to be trapped again. Good luck.
After you have trapped the HOSP again, then take the gourd off the rack and place the entire gourd with trapped HOSP in a trash bag. Tie the end of trash bag shut with the HOSP trapped in the gourd. Through the trash bag open the inspection hole/lid and let the HOSP fly into the closed trash bag. Carefully isolate the HOSP into a corner of the trash bag so it cannot get away. While gripping the isolated HOSP in the plastic bag corner, use the other hand to untie the end of the trash bag. Take out the gourd but do not let the HOSP loose. Invert the trash bag but repeat to yourself, DO NOT let the HOSP loose from the corner of the trash bag.
With your free hand, grab the ready can of starter fluid with the red tube. Insert the red tube into the creased plastic bag gripped by your hand. Squirt a small amount of the starter fluid into the corner where the HOSP is trapped. Let the ether work for about 5 minutes and then remove the expired HOSP. Minimize the ether vapor exposure to yourself.
The smaller the corner of the trash bag that the HOSP is isolated in before administering the ether dose, the smaller the squirt of starter fluid required.
Eventually you can get so adept at this procedure that you do not have to take the gourd off the rack. But after you have isolated the HOSP in a corner of the trash bag remember once again, DO NOT let the HOSP escape.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, HOSP/EUST Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Kegger
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: a male with some mating calls attracted a female PM in the top of a plastic barn like birdhouse(unkept) on a triangular pole (16 room) last March . Occupied by wrens which kicked them out. I got too many bugs, live on a salt water canal to Charlotte Harbor. started to build a couple 18 room houses for PM about a month ago. Now have 9 cavities up and adding 2 gourds.

Important to use the straw, and wait the 5 minutes, I had 1 fly out of my hands while removing.
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Oh yes, the sparrow flew out. Removing the gourd is an excellent idea, hadn't thought about doing that. I wanted to look inside the gourd before I did anything so that's why I removed the cap/lid - lesson learned. None of the martin eggs were pecked that I could see.

I should have starting fluid (ether) in the shop, I needed to use that on my old mower. Thank you all for the valuable advice, I sincerely appreciate it.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1416
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 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air 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.

All it takes for a HOSP to enter or exit anything is a slot 1" wide. So by the time you have opened anything wide enough to see, the HOSP has escaped and is gone. Lesson #1 - DO NOT let the HOSP escape once it is trapped.
By the time this task is done you will be chanting this to yourself with dedication and passion.

But seriously, the HOSP will be back, wary, AND mad. You now have a fully aware and worthy opponent. But the HOSPs' instinct to procreate will be their downfall.

Please do not take the gourd to someone else's property (even far away and in the country) and release the HOSP. You will just transpose your problem to someone else's problem OR the HOSP might beat you back to your purple martin colony.
Mark.
Firm believer in Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, HOSP/EUST Control, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

4th Gen Martin Fan wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:07 am
...Please do not take the gourd to someone else's property (even far away and in the country) and release the HOSP. ..
We're on a ranch and used to dispatching rodents, skunks, squirrels, feral cats, etc. If I trap a sparrow, it's all over for it. Having said that, I don't enjoy doing what needs to be done but it's just a necessary thing out here in rural country.

I just checked the gourd with the sparrow trap and it's still in the 'armed' position so maybe I got lucky and the sparrow gave up (or not.) I'll keep a watch to see if it's trying to occupy another gourd.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Yippee, we have chicks. Gourd 12 was my sparrow problem, the door tripped yesterday but there was no sparrow inside.

If most of the eggs are viable we should have quite a crowd flying around in a few weeks.

Gourds check 5-22:
1 - martin nest, 4 eggs (none on 5/19)
2 - martin nest 5 eggs
3 - martin nest, 6 eggs (none on 5/19)
4 - martin nest with eggs (no count since the martin was in the gourd)
5 - martin nest, no eggs
6 - martin nest, 4 eggs (none on 5/19)
7 - martin nest 6 eggs
8 - martin nest 6 eggs
9 - martin nest with 4 or 5 chicks
10- martin nest, 6 eggs
11- martin nest ? early sparrow nest?, no eggs
12- sparrow nest, gourd down will be returned later today
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

Way to go John. Those are good numbers.

Keep an eye out for that sparrow and once he is for sure eliminated you can divert your attention to other matters.

Check for parasites on occasion and treat with Sevin if needed. Those parasites will sneak up on you if you et your guard down.

Keep it going.

Coolwhips.
Schreiner College '83-'85
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Thanks! I do have a question about parasites, mites in particular. They are so tiny how can you spot them?

After lunch I lowered the gourds to put #12 back, the martins weren't upset or concerned at all. Six of them were perched on my power line drop - just hanging out.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
deancamp
Posts: 398
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

With your white gourds you will see them crawling all over it. Inside and out.
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Great, thanks! I have Sevin dust and a bottle of avian spray, the spray seems to be easier to deploy but this is new territory for me.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

John,

When you set up your gourds at the beginning of the season did you pre-treat with Sevin dust when you pre-nested the gourds? If so you'll probably be ok but as Dean said, they are real easy to see on the white gourds.

I pre-treated last year and only one of my gourds had parasites crawling over it. A quick treatment of 1/4 teaspoon Sevin dust and they were gone the next day or so. I put it at the nest edge though the clean out port. I have no issues to this point this year.

If you didn't pre-treat you might notice your Martins sitting up on their perches scratching a lot. If so, they are carrying and you should probably treat the nest with that 1/4 teaspoon of Sevin. You don't need a whole lot so don't feel like you'll benefit by putting more than 1/4 teaspoon in.

I'm always looking at my gourds through my binoculars and this is how I discovered the mites crawling on the outside of the gourd on that day.

Hope that helps.

Coolwhips
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

johncanfield wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:09 pm
Great, thanks! I have Sevin dust and a bottle of avian spray, the spray seems to be easier to deploy but this is new territory for me.

All you really need is the Sevin dust. It works really good. 1/4 teaspoon dropped between the nesting material and the gourd wall and your good to go. Takes just a second to do that.

Coolwhips.
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

Whippy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:17 pm
All you really need is the Sevin dust. It works really good. 1/4 teaspoon dropped between the nesting material and the gourd wall and your good to go. Takes just a second to do that.

Coolwhips.
Ah-so. I was wondering where exactly the dust was deposited, thanks again - you guys are very helpful. I've been doing some gourd watching with the binocs, not I can check to see if any of them are scratching. Two or three years ago I was cleaning out the gourds at the end of the season and one of the sparrow nests was infested with mites and I wasn't wearing gloves. They were all over my arm biting me before I knew what happened. Nasty little buggers. Took off my clothes outside and jumped in the shower.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Whippy
Posts: 515
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 - ?

johncanfield wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:02 pm
Whippy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:17 pm
All you really need is the Sevin dust. It works really good. 1/4 teaspoon dropped between the nesting material and the gourd wall and your good to go. Takes just a second to do that.

Coolwhips.
Two or three years ago I was cleaning out the gourds at the end of the season and one of the sparrow nests was infested with mites and I wasn't wearing gloves. They were all over my arm biting me before I knew what happened. Nasty little buggers. Took off my clothes outside and jumped in the shower.
Among other reasons, this is one big reason to get rid of the sparrows that is usually not mentioned. Biggest reason is they kill babies and break eggs.

Coolwhips
johncanfield
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

I must have really upset the martins today because I had one or two dive bomb me after about half-way through checking gourds :???: . We have more chicks, yippee! The first set of chicks have really grown, they must be two or three times their size when I first saw them. And another gourd had chicks and the third set of chicks were just pecking out of their shells.

Of concern was one nest missing six eggs, no trace of them but maybe I messed up my record keeping. I'll do another nest check next Monday or so. There was no evidence of mites, yea.

Gourds check 5-26:

1 - martin nest, 4 eggs (same)
2 - martin nest, 5 eggs (four or five chicks today!)
3 - martin nest, 6 eggs (zero eggs today!?)
4 - martin nest with eggs (six eggs counted today)
5 - martin nest, no eggs (same)
6 - martin nest, 4 eggs (five eggs today)
7 - martin nest 6 eggs (four eggs? maybe I didn't see all of them)
8 - martin nest 6 eggs (chicks were just hatching!)
9 - martin nest with 4 or 5 chicks (growing like a weed)
10- martin nest, 6 eggs (four eggs but maybe I didn't see all of them)
11- martin nest ? early sparrow nest?, no eggs (same)
12- was a sparrow nest, cleaned out, trap set (same)
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
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