Purple Martins in Tree Swallow/Bluebird house

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
barbiejoe
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

I have 12 gourds, ten have families in them. Two empty. Even so, one pair chose to nest in a gourd that is on a post 5 feet above the ground. It is situated to attract bluebirds or tree swallows so they won't bother the martins. This year it was empty and the PM family used it. It had four eggs and they did hatch. There is no side port on it, so I have mostly left them alone, as it is dark and I don't want to bother them.
I just thought it was odd. The two empty PM gourds are quite usable. Maybe this couple had a disagreement with the rest of the colony.!!
It has been a good season. 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.

I have heard of this happening in other colonies that have tree swallow boxes. It might be a sign that you may want to consider expanding the colony by adding additional gourds or housing. Best of luck.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

I have had the same thing here.. When the visiting Martins came , they went straight to the single gourd 6 feet off the ground and didn't even look at the 14 gourds on a gourd rack 30 feet away. Maybe it was because to the Tree Swallows had that gourd already, and they were just looking around..

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

I also have Martins in a gourd on a shepherd hook at my garden. It was there for Tree Swallows but they did not nest this year.

There have been many years Martins have nested 5ft off the ground in gourds at my site. They have even kicked Tree Swallows out a few times from their gourd prior. Maybe that's why I don't have any tree swallows now. My site is full each year but 45 pairs is plenty for me.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Carlton
Posts: 1931
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I have 7 84" tall shepherd's hooks, with predator guards 4 ft. above the ground, Excluder gourds here beside my lake. This will be the 4th year. Last year 4 of the 7 had active nests and fledged their young successfully. The gourds all face a small lake and all sit in a mowed lawn area just a very few feet from the water. We do have raccoons here but I have never seen a snake. The predator guards seem to be working. I use the inverted stovepipe style guard with a fair amount of movement to it. This started as an experiment to see if it was possible to attract purple martins to such housing here in South Florida. We have A LOT of ponds and lakes down here but almost all have HOA's that might object to a 12 -16 foot tall pole for martins. I thought that if martins got used to successfully nesting in such housing as mine that more people here might be able to host purple martins. We do not have tree swallows here nor do we have many house sparrows. There are plenty of starlings though. I use the Modified Excluder entrance with the porch mounted nearly flush with the bottom of the entrance hole. Of course the taller poles with houses or gourds are THE BEST but if you are not able to erect them then this method with the shepherd's hooks may be possible to you. I would face the gourds towards the water even if that makes it harder for you to watch the action. Also, being close to the water's edge MAY lessen the chance of a house cat attack on the martins coming to the gourds.
lynnh
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Iowa, New Sharon

i've got 13 shepherds hook style Gourds set up in a 20 foot diameter circle they are anywhere from 4 feet to 7 feet off the ground all of them were occupied and successfully fledge the young Martin's in 2018.
2007 2 pair 8 fledged
2008 4 pair 18 fledged
2009 21 pair 87 fledged
2010 44 pair 174 fledged
2011 68 pair 244 fledged
2012 82 pair 364 fledged
2013 82 pair 359 fledged
2014 86 pair 415 fledged
2015 101 pair 427 fledged
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 lynn,
Good point on the height of martin housing. In the old days, people use to think the houses and gourds needed to be insanely high 18-25 feet. I can touch the bottom of my gourds on the rack at my location and it is good to see that your martins don't mind the lower heights too.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
lynnh
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Iowa, New Sharon

Hey Dave , It all started when a pair took over a bluebird/Treeswallow gourd in 2016. They returned in 2017 Took over that same gourd later in the season when everything was pretty well full up everywhere else we still had a lot of females both ASY and SY looking for a place to Nest of course I couldn't turn them away so I just started putting up shepherds hooks and gourds as needed . we ended up with 13 in all and they all surround this small mud hole of a pond . Now for record-keeping purposes I called them my pond 13 or if you will P – 13 !:-)
2007 2 pair 8 fledged
2008 4 pair 18 fledged
2009 21 pair 87 fledged
2010 44 pair 174 fledged
2011 68 pair 244 fledged
2012 82 pair 364 fledged
2013 82 pair 359 fledged
2014 86 pair 415 fledged
2015 101 pair 427 fledged
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.

That is such a good story. It is fun to hear how others colonies started and the different set ups of martin housing. On a side note, I'll be attending the Kalona Purple Martin Workshop and Seminar again this year. See you there. I'm not sure who our speaker will be for the event.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Post Reply