Unsuccessful landlord, looking for encouragement

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:03 pm
Location: Scott County Kentucky

Hi- I've posted only a couple of times. This was year one in trying for martins in central Kentucky. Two boxes up, each with 6 gourds. I've had consistent (almost daily) visitors throughout the summer that inspect the box and gourds and move on.

For the past three days, 7 martins- one AHY Male and the rest juveniles, have perched on the utility lines above my box. They've stayed for about 30 minutes to preen and rest. Today they hung around on the lines for about an hour- five then perched on the box (at the same time!!!) and a few looked inside. Looking for encouragement that this is a good sign for next year.

Laura in KY
Posts: 2962
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Visitors are a good thing, the more young Martins that see your place the better the odds one of them will decide to stay next year as SY’s. That said martins are communal nesters by nature so it’s not as easy as setting up a house and getting them to move in. I have started 2 colonies of my own and both had what most consider ideal locations. Open sites, quality housing, large bodies of water nearby. Both places it took 5 years to get colonies established. For the next month or so martins will be passing through migrating south. Keep the housing up until you stop seeing visitors.
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 was in the same situation as flyin lowe with ideal conditions to attract martins and it also took me 6 years to attract my first nesting pair. But, your visitors are a great first step that gives good hope for next years season. The migrators are peeking at possible housing for next year. The SY youngsters will be your first pairs to set up house at your location. Best of luck my friend.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1905
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".

... As long as you have visitors coming by from time to time.. Your in good luck... It may take them a year or two, but they will settle in. It took me a few years of trying, before the first pair nested back in 2019.. Good luck...

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
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:03 pm
Location: Scott County Kentucky

Thanks so much everyone- I really appreciate the encouragement. This advice on this forum has been so helpful, and I'm really looking forward to trying for a colony next year. I think my site too has pretty good qualities- close to water, open, plenty of utility lines to perch on.

It's been fun watching the visitors, and I've spent a great deal of time driving around and looking for other colonies in the area. My thinking is that I might have the best chances next year if I offer similar housing for returning birds. I haven't found anything super close, the closest colonies (about 8 miles away) are in gourds rather than houses.

Laura in KY
Post Reply