End of my first year as PM landlord: Noob questions persist

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:37 pm
Location: Bond County IL

I put up a house (ill conceived - even though sold as a PM house) that I received as a gift. I hung two gourds from it. I had plenty of Martins around but ended up with one nesting pair.

This pair had four eggs, two hatched, one disappeared, and one was dormant (is there an appropriate term for an egg that don't hatch?)

I did a nest change, but no mites were present. Then the Martins cleared out my effort. I had to take a trip right before my birds fledged but they were very active and the fledges attracted a bunch of other Martins from the area.

When I came back from my trip the birds were gone. I'd like to think they made it ok. In the interim some other birds (possibly house sparrows) filled (stuff completely) my one active gourd with grass. I've since cleaned it out but only saw one Martin overhead since that time.

This morning I checked the gourd, no new grass, but there was one egg that I confirmed as a house sparrow egg before I removed it.

My two biggest questions: What most likely happened to all Martins? and Will they return before its time to head to Brazil?

Concerned PM dad
Posts: 1324
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
2022: ?
PMCA member

Congrats! I say that because it sounds like your martins fledged. The group you saw was a fledge party, where other martins show up to help.

You said the martins cleared out your effort after a nest change...what happened there? What did they do?

I'd suspect they fledged and sparrows quickly took over the cavity, if the martins did want to return for the night (typical) they would have found it packed and perhaps the male sparrow kept them out.

You have not noticed the martins bringing their fledges home at night at all? Sometimes they do not, this close to migration they may not at all. Often times they come in in the mornings and evenings to socialise but with one pair they probably won't, they are busy teaching the young how to eat and may be roosting somehere.
I'd advise keep your housing up for a while. If weather is going to be an issue, by all means take it down. There's no rush, some folks wait until martins have completely migrated from the country.

One word though: do something about the sparrows, they will completely take over the houses, packing them with nests. They will peck eggs and kill chicks and martins. You should expect your pair to return next year, with that in mind control those sparrows, they cannot coexist. Trap and shoot, its the only way.
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:21 pm
Location: Laplace,La
Martin Colony History: 21 year colony. 2 s&k modified houses and gourd rack

Double what Tom said. He covered it all..
Good luck next season,
Posts: 3178
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

When my first colony was young, the martins did not stick around long at all after they fledged. Probably because they were some SY's and they started later in the season. The young started flying on a Thursday and the last time I saw them was on Sunday evening. Now, my older ASY's seem to stick around a couple weeks before heading off to migration. So if your martins were due to fledge and your trip was more then a few days it is likely they headed south. Congrats on your first season.
2021 Currently 62 nest 138 babies plus 110 eggs (6-317-21) HOSP count-9
2020 42 nest, Fledged 164 HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional lone SY's
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 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair 14 fledged.
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:06 pm
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Martin Colony History: 2019 - Visitors
2020 - 7 pair. 21 fledged
2021 - 5 pair. 17 fledged

Some great advice has been given on this thread. This is my third year as a landlord. After a rat snake attack in early June, my surviving Martins successfully fledged 17 babies. After all had fledged, I would see them congregating early in the mornings around the house and sometimes in the evening. Well, since they weren't around a lot during the day, I had a couple of male sparrows try to take over. They were building nests in the chambers and trying to attract mates. I had to eliminate the sparrows. Since doing so, the Martins have come back to socialize more.

I just watched a group of about 20-25 Martins this morning. They are so sweet as they sing, socialize and bicker with each other. Last year, my Martins left to go south on August 10th, so I figure my time with them is coming to an end for the season.

I am so thankful to this group of veterans as well as newcomers who have offered me great advice and compassionate encouragement throughout my journey to be a successful landlord!
Post Reply