What do you do about a murderous hawk?

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wpakalka
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Houston Texasa

I live in a wooded part of the city of Houston, Texas. All 12 rooms of my purple martin house are happily occupied, and the little ones are almost ready to fly; but the word "happily" no longer applies, because I today watched a smallish brown hawk of some sort hover outside one room and stick its talons in and make off with an adult martin. When it came back a few minutes later, I went outside and hollered at it and flapped my arms, and it immediatly flew away. Other than by breaking several laws by shooting the hawk, does anyone have any suggestions about what I can do to end the carnage?
mjfog
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

wapalka - If your house is composed of 12 6x6" compartments, convert to 6 (then larger) units The added room will reduce avian predation. I'm a "gourd man" with tunnels (tunnels give depth to reduce "reach-ins") so don't know much about "houses" but you should receive an abundance of posts regarding conversion. If your house already has the large units, then read on.
Hawks kill to eat; just like Purple Martins. Martins kill, eat and feed to their young, bugs. Ergo, martins are also a murderous bird. Sharp-shinned hawks, which sounds like your perp, are a federally protected species, just as are martins. Consider this a challenge. Read and put into play all the advice on the forum regarding protecting your colony from hawks and owls. No shooting!
You may also want to look into converting to gourds.
Happy Martining and keep us posted on your progress (particularly for next season),
Mike
SSMartin
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Deeper and larger cavities can alleviate this problem. Even 6x6” compartments could be modified by adding a tunnel. You can really get creative. Another more simple solution is putting a cage around your housing.

Just make sure the mesh is large enough to allow a martin to pass through. Google some images of owl cage/guard and martin houses. Some people need to do this or their martins simply can’t survive due to predators.
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wpakalka
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:18 pm
Location: Houston Texasa

Thanks you both (and I was not serious about shooting the hawk!).
SSMartin
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Best of luck to you. I hope things improve and the hawk finds another place to hunt.
BradO
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:10 am
Location: Sioux Falls, SD.
Martin Colony History: 2019- Several large groups stopped and visited.
2020- 2 pair seemed interested but left after 2 weeks, daily visits since first week of June from neighboring birds.

I too may have a hawk problem. Haven't had the hawks bother my houses. This is year number two trying to start a colony. I had two pair of martins that seemed interested in nesting. I even saw them chase robins and grackels away from the house area. Long story short they seemed to have up and left and about the same time I noticed a pair of red tailed hawks who must have a nest in a cotton wood grove about a 1/4 mile away. I even witnessed martins chasing and dive bombing the hawks. So no nesting this year but I still get daily visits from some other nearby martin colony residents. I think I might invest in a drone to chase the hawks away next year. I know hawks and eagles have been known to attack drones as well. I bet if one bothered them enough it might be enough to make them leave the area. Funny thing about that cottonwood grove, I have watched martins land in the very tops of those same trees. It gets very windy in my area. So windy the martins won't land on the power lines. I have even had them land on the roof of my house when it was extremely windy, and on a street light near my houses. So I'm not sure it this pair of hawks is a problem, but they can't be helping, just as in your case.
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