Caulking

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barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

What kind of caulking is safe to use while the gourds are occupied? Can they get stuck in fresh caulk?
New Subject: If there is enough nest material, will that protect babies from splayed leg syndrome?
I'm a mess this year. Thanks for any help and advice. Barbiejoe
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1854
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Barb,
Caulking would not be an option when cavities are occupied. If there is an alternative source that could be used that would be ok if it doesn't take long and it wouldn't disturb the martins too much. A matter of a few minutes tops. respond with more detail and others may chime in with advice.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

You can get caulking that sets up pretty fast on a hot day, have used some that sets up enough in 2-3 hours to not bother the birds...don't get the kind that dries clear it stays soft and sticky for a long time.

Nest material should prevent splayed legs but sometimes you get a bird that will lay eggs all the way down on the plastic and you will have nestlings slip and slide around on the bare floor, that's why I score up the inside surface of my plastic gourd floors with a piece of course sander belt or flex grinder. Normally it's not a problem if you use thick pine needles for nesting materials.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
TheSmiths
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History:

Tried to attract PMs since 2004; began more ernest attempt in 2014.

Current housing consists of two modified Trio M12Ks and a round gourd rack.

2018 — 3 pairs

2019 — 6 pairs

2020 — 12 pairs; barred owl late in season


Monitor FILs colony as well as colony at park.

~15 years of providing housing for bluebirds, Carolina wrens, house wrens, Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, great-crested flycatchers and northern flickers.

Hey there, barbiejoe. You're trying to caulk around the entrances due to toe entrapment, correct? I'm going to operate on the presumption that your current pairs have NOT started laying eggs nor have young and all of your gourds are identical Big Bo v2s some of which are unoccupied. Take a few of your unoccupied gourds down and do your modifications. Allow the caulk to thoroughly dry then, preferably while the birds are away, carefully move their nesting material into the new gourd and swap it out. (Make sure the entrance is facing the same direction). You can then take the gourd they were using, modify it, and repeat as necessary. I think this is basically what Dave was suggesting but, as he mentioned, only do it if it won't disturb them too much and it can be done quickly.

If you can't scuff up the inside of the gourds you can purchase a roll of adhesive backed traction tape (aka anti-slip, grit, or safety tape) from a hardware store and cut strips to fit inside the gourds. Make sure the drain holes remain clear. Cover the tape with nesting material so the martins are less likely to notice the change and get spooked.
barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

Thank you to both "The Smiths" and Ray Gingerich. Both replies make sense and are helpful. I have two problems. The first was the bird who caught its foot as it left the gourd. The other one was when I read all the comments on splayed legs, and decided I should do something about that. All of my gourds were occupies already, but two. So we bought two more matching gourds and Joe roughed up the insides. I went to Lowe's to look at caulking and shortly went bonkers. Too many and I did not know what I needed except something that dried really fast. Not much of that. That is when I thought of doing the two empty ones, then two more, etc. Not sure about changing out nest. I have read of it but never done it.
Thanks so much for your very helpful replies. barbiejoe
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
Brad-AL
Posts: 566
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:00 pm
Location: North AL

Sounds like you've already decided that caulking on an occupied gourd isn't a good idea, so I won't comment on that. :grin:

You don't have to make a birds nest to swap out gourds. Just stuff some pine straw or something similar down into the gourd and pack it down tightly and wallow out a little bowl with your hand. Place the nestlings in that. It's much easier than it sounds. I have never done it with eggs, but I have done it with nestlings before.
High quality plastic gourds with porched, tunnelled SREH are Martin magnets.
barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

Thank you Brad-AL. I sure wish I had known of this problem Before I set out my gourds this spring. barbiejoe
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
Spiderman
Posts: 796
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I had 6 or 8 gourds where the female had hollowed out all the way down to the plastic Gourd. I just picked up the eggs and took a hand full of pine needles. Cut off everything with scissors that stuck out of my hand and placed it in the bare spot and replaced the eggs.

If was a risk but all the Martins accepted the change and continued sitting on the eggs on top of the new material. It was 10 days ago and now the eggs are starting to hatch.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

Thank you Spiderman. That sounds pretty easy. I meant to work on the gourds today but it was SO hot, I decided I would wait. Not sure about tomorrow, but I will do something. Soon. Thanks for the advice. barbiejoe
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
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