Harassment of PM's (Shooting and Chemicals)

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts

Harassment of PM's (Shooting and Chemicals)

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:09 pm

Need suggestions on how to keep harassment with water containing probably pesticides out of newborn's nest. The stuff leaves my feet and legs with a burning sensation which gradually goes away if I am not exposed to more of the same before that breaks down. My problems this year have worsened even more than I wrote about in the past years.

Will Martins accept a large, almost clear plastic container placed over a S & K house for the night if there is room for them to fly into the area where the nest is located? Is there something I can buy for tonight. I tried putting up tarps between me and this neighbor but had to attach one end of the wire to my garage which is not as tall as the next to lowest level of the house. So the stuff is being sprayed into the Martin house despite my efforts.

Will the Martins accept the lowest pole adjustment? It is on the middle now. The lowest would put it down below the top of the tarps so the liquid would run off the top of the house.

I only have one couple. The colony across the street has been almost destroyed by my neighbor and his friends. The owner of the colony seems not to care or cannot do any thing about the situation. I have called the police many times and also Fish and Wildlife who came to see Code Enforcement and probably the police. The police tell me they have to see the birds being shot. They have talked to those involved which quieted the situation for a brief time but now they are within 10 or so of killing the colony out and seem to be determined to finish the job. Yesterday, one was shot above my yard coming from my PM house. Three from across the street had been bringing food to the female Martin who was sitting on one hatched, one with a hole and 2 others.

I do not think I have ever seen other than the male bird bringing in food. I suspect their mates have been shot or killed by a hawlk or killed before they mated.

This is making me sick. I have been getting up at 3:30 a.m., sitting outside all day if the neighbor is at home or monitoring my surveillance audio if at work. There are others involved in these despicable acts. The birds have had to go in and out while BB's, air rifles, pistols, shotguns and even rifles have been discharged at times. One air rifle shot made a hole in the aluminum trim coming from the apex right benneat the shingles. One probably mine beautiful male was shot by my neighbor on tghe other side and fell through a tree on the line to the ground. By the time I realized what had happened, he flew upward almost straight and continued toward the colony across the road. This was early before hated and he had been looking at my PM house.

Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6189
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Postby Louise Chambers » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:22 pm

If you have video tapes of martins being harassed or shot, and police and fish & wildlife won't help - I would not put housing up any more - I'd move to a safer location.

I forgot to reply to question about covering the house with a container at night - that would cause the martins to panic and fly off in the dark, not a good idea.
Last edited by Louise Chambers on Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6742
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Postby Emil Pampell-Tx » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:23 pm

Sounds to me like you need an attorney, because I sure cannot help to advise you. About covering the house. I think that maybe you could cover it if you put the tarp about 2 or 3 ft above the house, but again, I have no experience. Good luck on a difficult problem.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps

Bill Pec
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:21 am
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, Virginia
Martin Colony History: 2010- 2 pr. Many visitors. Fledged 6
2011- 20 pr. Fledged 75
2012- 35 pr. Fledged 143
2013- 37 pr. Fledged 153
2014- 40 pr. Fledged 198
2015- 40 pr. Fledged 183
2016- 42 pr. Fledged 189
2017- 42 pr. Fledged 168
2018- 43 pr. Fledged 172
2019- 43 pr. Fledged 193

Postby Bill Pec » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:58 pm


Why are your neighbors killing the martins? Do they perceive the birds as a problem for them?

THE MORE ONE LEARNS THE MORE ONE SEES! While the ignorant person sees only a blackbird the enlightened person sees a Purple Martin.

2010- 2 pr. 6 fledged, + many visitors
2011- 20 pr. 75 fledged,
2012- 35 pr. 143 fledged
2013- 37 pr. 153 fledged
2014- 40 pr. 198 fledged
2015- 40 pr. 183 fledged
2016- 42 pr. 189 Fledged

Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:06 pm


what kind of neighborhood do you live in. Is this a rural area with spread out homes, suburban, or city environment?
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

TX Rehabber
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:38 pm
Location: Texas/Rowlett

Postby TX Rehabber » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:12 pm

Ann, If you have contacted your local police, state game & wildlife dept and the US Fish & Wildlife and they have all failed you. I would seek out a local TV station and explain what is happening and let them know you have video tapes of the events. It's always best to seek out that one Reporter that does the "warm fuzzy" stories. No one likes a black eye and it will bring this to the attention of everyone who loves birds. Most importantly, it is also endangering your health as well. Good Luck.
Penny Halstead
Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

State & Federal Sub-permitted Rehabilitator
2009 - Received 150 Nestlings/Fledglings for Rehab Released: 102
2011 - Received 173 Nestlings/Fledglings/Adults for Rehab Released: 133


Harassment of PM's (Shooting and Chemical)

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:15 pm

Matt, Bill, Emil and Louise:

Thank you for your comments. I live in a city environment. At this time there is a male about 30 years of age on the south side; the house on the north side is unoccupied at this time.

The PM's may be being killed to get back at me for reporting a meth lab. however, our song birds that we fed this past winter, doves, blue jays, Robins, and some of their young, etc., have been killed also this year and past years. This, I suspect, was an order so that there would be no birds nesting in trees along our fences to get upset and noisy making it difficult to hear covert investigations at night. The PM's are very quiet at night with only one nest, tolerate loud noises and fly off without a sound if the chemical water becomes unbearable or if the pole is shaken.

To get the tarp any higher, I will need to find somone to come in and dig a hole to install a post that will reach above the house.

Louise, I own my home and since some of the personal harassment I have endured since '06 has been intended to make me leave it, I refuse to go. If I take my house down, any birds coming back will go across the street to that colony where the birds are being shot for target practice by the Mexicans who have moved across the street from the colony. As far as I know, not a word of complaint has been filed.

Does anyone know if my birds will accept the PM house at the lowest setting? Will it do any harm to try? I have moved it up and down from the highest to the in between when storms were coming in without any adverse effect, but may have read somewhere that the lowest setting will not work. The tarp at this setting would stop some of the water from going into the nest cavity.

Would it be possible to drill holes in the metal support so that I could cause the house to face the back of my house so the birds would leave the nest and fly out over my house instead of part way over the neighbor. Or would the additional holes weaken the support too much. Are those S & K poles unchangable?

Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:09 am
Location: Albia, IA

Postby dancingirl76 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:31 pm

Oh my goodness. What a horrible thing you are going through. I agree that bringing the news into it would bring it to light, but honestly I think in the long run it would just make the problems come back worse. It really sickens me that there are such screwed up people in this world. All it takes is one moving in next to you and there goes the neighborhood. My prayers are with you hoping that you can find someway to overcome this. I would say it couldn't hurt to bring your house down lower. If they have accepted it during bad weather what could it hurt.

Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:43 am
Location: Iowa/Wellman

Postby JamesinIA » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:44 pm


If you think that lowering the house would help, I see no problem in doing so. Since you have been having problems with neighbors harassing your birds for several years now, maybe you should consider not hosting martins until the neighborhood is a safe place for them.

On another note........blaming neighbors using ethnicity.....not cool!
2009 One ASY pair 5 eggs 5 fledged 2010 2 pair 5 fledged 2011 8 pair 27 fledged 2012 14 pair 38 fledged
2013 20 pair 64 fledged 2014 19 pair fledged 84 2015 26 pair fledged 124 2016 36 pair fledged 156 2017 40 pair fledged 156
PMCA member

Tim Stover
Posts: 505
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Tennesse/Madisonville

Postby Tim Stover » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:59 pm

i vote on a few of us landlords taking a camper staying at anns a few days wish we could i would notify law enforcement if they did nothing i would go over there head say state wish you best of luck
2009 2pair 2010 24pair 2011 106 pair
2012 124 pair
2013 145
2014 170 pair


Harassment of PM's (Shooting and Chemical)

Postby Guest » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:02 am

Could I move the nest to one of two gourds hanging beneath the bird house? The gourds face my patio area and yard where I spend a lot of time. The birds would be leaving the gourds headed over my house and not over the garage of my neighbor on the south where he and one of his friends stalk and shoot at the birds. The gourds face in a different direction than the bird house and do not get the chemical water.

How much success have members had when moving birds 2 day's old.

I realize that the meth maker on the south side or his friends may kill the birds no matter what steps I take to save them. The police have been trying to get the situation under control; I am not at liberty to discuss the difficulties of which I have knowledge and there are probably others, but these may have something to do with lack of action by Fish and Wildlife. Is there no longer Federal protection for the birds?

I hear gun shots every day from the direction of the colony and occasionally from next door. I watched as the guy next door on the south let his cat eat an adult purple martin and based on where it landed in his front yard, I would say he may have been the shooter although shooting was also being done from the now vacant house on the other side of me.

Thanks again for your comments and encouragement.

Scott D.- La
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:35 am
Location: Louisiana

Postby Scott D.- La » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:13 am

In most Southern States you have the right to protect yourself and property. I think you need to re-invent yourself and become that crazy lady with the Machine gun, aka machine gun Ann. :wink: Bullets can fly both way's you know! Unfortunately, these kinds of situations have to be dealt with so that the other party has consequences to whatever they hold near and dear. I know in many part's of the country, Law Enforcement does not work or only work's for the right people and I suspect that is the case where you are. Stupidity has to be dealt with by equal and/or more stupidity...... it's the only thing some people understand and respect. I have read your post for a couple years and know that the Law has not been a effective tool. Basically, they want you to make the case for them, then perhaps, they "might" do something for you. I have no other ideas except to move as it sounds like your hood has gone down the crapper like so many have in the US. If you cannot have a couple pairs of birds than you certainly can't have much where you are IMO!

John Miller
Posts: 4753
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Postby John Miller » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:18 am


You can't change orientation of a martin house with nests, or move it. You could change before next season. The martins are very sensitive to a change in orientation and would flutter over the old location. You could lower the house, if it helps.

I'd try to talk to the Mexicans (It's maybe okay to say Mexicans assuming they are not citizens but hopefully here legally.) As you are rightfully upset, if martins folks in the area could try to come and gently explain to them that these birds are protected and loved, you might turn things around. But I suspect you need help. If I were closer, I'd come..just walk over there and tell them we need "their" help. My Spanish isn't good...think pajarito is bird.

Hang in there; may be best to not host martins next year, but do the best you can.
John M

Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Postby DakotaLady » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:50 am


I've read your post before and have wondered how you were doing. In my humble opinion, your situation sounds dangerous. When you are dealing with younger people with drugs and no morals it does not sound good. I remember when I first learned of your situation my thoughts were along the lines of Scott (an eye for an eye) but, as I thought about it, it is not worth the effort and more than likely you would only get hurt yourself. Have you had the chemicals tested? What if you obtain cancer from having this chemical constantly sprayed on you and your yard?

Gone are the days when we address elders as Mrs. XX or Mr. XX. Respect has somehow been lost upon the younger generation.

I work hard for the things I have and it would not matter to me that they were trying to push me to the limits until I moved. I would move on, as life is to short not to be able to enjoy the things I love to do. How fun it is having to sit out there and guard your birds like a sentinel, only to see your birds laying around the yard dead? I know, it would be hard to leave my house, my everything, but think of how wonderful your life could be without that harassment? I go out on my deck in the mornings and watch the wildlife with a cup of coffee and on occasion friends will come out and join me. It's peaceful and I don't have to worry about the neighbors shooting ME...or my birds.

I hope you find a little peace. Life is short! Good luck in whatever you decide to do. But I agree with the others, it is not worth intentionally putting your birds lives at stake just trying to prove a point that you will outlast your filthy neighbors. Think about that...please. Perhaps it is best to allow the birds to go someplace they will possibly be safer. I know that would be very hard for me to do too. Good luck. My thoughts are prayers will be with you.

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged

Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: MI, Fruitport

Postby MB12RING » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:47 pm


If you think that lowering the house would help, I see no problem in doing so. Since you have been having problems with neighbors harassing your birds for several years now, maybe you should consider not hosting martins until the neighborhood is a safe place for them.

On another note........blaming neighbors using ethnicity.....not cool!

What are you getting at with the blaming using ethnicity comment?

2013, back in the game with a pair at my satelite colony that has eggs due to hatch around July 7th

Posts: 184
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:45 am
Location: Indiana/Scottsburg

Postby SoIndyDon » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:16 pm

The complexity and oddity of this situation makes me believe that the elephant in the room is not being addressed.
Landlording since 1996 in beautiful southern Indiana.

Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:09 am
Location: Albia, IA

Postby dancingirl76 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:23 pm

I was sitting in my made in china chair tonight thinking about this situation while sipping on a cup of English tea. My Amazonian friends the Purple Martins stopped by the pond for a drink with me and advised me that they prefer to no longer be called Purple Martins. They find that to be very offensive and prefer the title Violet-impaired Swallows. On a side note, the barn swallows also asked to be referred to as Farm Building Martins. Go figure! I've always found them to be a little crazy. :roll:

Ann, you can call me an American, brunette, young (I am 35 but hey I wouldn't take offense to it), female and any other adjective that describes me any day. Keep your chin up and hopefully the answer will come to you. (You can even call me an Indian since I am part Cherokee, but please don't call me an Iowan- boy that ruffles my tail feathers :lol: )

I can't imagine what you are going through and it just sickens me to think that you are trying to live the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and someone isn't allowing the simple pleasure of being able to sit outside and enjoy your yard. I'm sure having to sit vigil every day so that your property isn't destroyed is not what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote our Constitution. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket. I just hope when I have children I can teach them to have respect for others and their property. I am thinking of you!

Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:27 pm
Location: Holt, Florida

Postby cary-nw-fla » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:02 pm

Don't know how concerned you are about physical reprisals if you keep pushing back, or what kind of photographic documentation you have... have you thought about installing one of those six or eight camera security recording systems that has night vision. They are available at a number of places. You could keep documentating your situation so that you would have numerous and overwhelming evidence to turn over the police, aspca, or any news media you may contact. I would have such a stockpile of repeated abuse that there would be no way that they could say 'oh, it's just a prank'. I'd also get copies of the police reports where you have made complaints regarding the situation. These people are violating your civil rights to the "pursuit of happiness". I don't understand how spraying chemicals onto your property and you is not somehow violating the law. I wish you the best of luck with this.
2010/2011: 0 / 2012: 8 Pair / 2013: 22 Pair / 2014: 35 Pair / 2015: 39 Pair / 2016: 73 Pair / 2017: 94 Pair

Posts: 562
Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 3:14 pm
Location: wichita ks

Postby razman » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:14 am

The complexity and oddity of this situation makes me believe that the elephant in the room is not being addressed.
i totally agree............
2005-2008 lookies
2009...lookies, and a SYM hanging around a bunch
2010...an ASY pair! 5 eggs, 5 babies fledged! yehawwwwwwwwww
2011....still only one nesting pair..extreme heat killed the babies
2012..ASY pair...fledged 4 babies!
2013 notta, few lookie lous

Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:43 am
Location: Iowa/Wellman

Postby JamesinIA » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:00 am

If some of you can not figure out why her comment was not cool....well what can I say.

This weird saga has been going on for several years and I would have to agree with SoIndyDon and razzman.
2009 One ASY pair 5 eggs 5 fledged 2010 2 pair 5 fledged 2011 8 pair 27 fledged 2012 14 pair 38 fledged
2013 20 pair 64 fledged 2014 19 pair fledged 84 2015 26 pair fledged 124 2016 36 pair fledged 156 2017 40 pair fledged 156
PMCA member

Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Brad Biddle, MSN [Bot], Spiderman and 18 guests