Timing on removing predator guards and cleaning vacated cavities

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Litchfield
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:09 am
Location: Shady Side, Maryland
Martin Colony History: Inherited several martin houses 31 years ago when I became the second owner of a home built in 1938 by the current owner. The houses were originally heavy treated wood and were rebuilt a few times until I finally replaced them with aluminum and added a 3rd house. They come back every year and it's a lot of work that I have no choice in now.

I had a good year with over 35 successful, healthy and flying new martins. I removed starling nest and eggs regularly and my snake guards worked great so; no loss.
As the young started flying, I removed the doors and flooring from the cavities that did not have resting Martin fledglings. Yesterday I removed the owl guards and snake guards and this morning, chased a red hawk off one of the houses.
Did I removed the owl guards too soon? Can the hawks still attack the flying young? The Martins are pretty much gone but gather around the houses a couple of times a day. I think they will all leave this week or next.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2959
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I leave everything as is until there are no martins spending the night. Before I had an established colony I would leave everything up until the fall just in case martins from further north would find my site and come back the next year. Now that I have an established colony I wait until mine are gone for a week or so and take them down and get them out of the weather while it is still decent out.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
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 (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1802
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 do the same as flyin-lowe. One to two weeks after the last departure, I take everything down for a good cleaning and stoarge for the winter.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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