Closing our site

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Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

This is a difficult post to make.
After 21 years of being martin landlords we are giving it up. We've enjoyed the martins and have put in lots of time, effort and love. This year we had our best martin year on record but it was also the hardest year for us as landlords. Our early birds arrived March 13 and the last HY finally departed on September 5. That's 177 days. During that time we watched over them, fed them during the hard times, checked on their young, rescued those in need. That's all part of being a landlord. During the past few years our neighborhood environment has deteriorated. We are an in town site and the overgrowth of trees and other vegetation has severely impacted the flight paths that our martins once had. It's just been a very hard year, so many issues, so much stress.
Our concern is for the early martins who arrive in March. When they see that our housing is gone, will they move on or will they sit out here and wait, looking for the shelter they once had? That would be hard to take. We know later birds will find someplace to call home. Has anyone had to permanently close a colony and can tell us what to expect.
This has not been an easy decision for us.

Thank you
Larry and Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
Hanaho01
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Central Tennessee

A loss for you and the martins, sorry to hear
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1883
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".

... That is some bad news to hear but I'm sure you both enjoyed them all those years... It's always hard to see a site go down. I understand the work and the love that goes into be a long time Martin landlord.. A colony a few miles from me disappeared when my friend passed away and the new owners didn't try to keep the colony up... I went over to the area of the colony in the Spring, when I new the first scouts would show up.. I watched them sit on some power lines off and on for about a week, looking for their houses.. After about a week they moved on... The good thing about it is, that my Satellite site (three miles away) had an increase in Martins.. I'm sure they will find another home,

Thanks you for all you and yours did for the Martins..

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
G Saner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Larry,

Sorry to hear that you are closing your site but I understand. As for the martins, I saw this many times when I lived in the suburbs. Almost every year, people in the neighborhood that had a colony moved and took the housing with them. The martins always found a new home. Some of my best years were when a colony closed and I increased my numbers. I always thought my increase was from the closed colony. I would not worry about your martins, they will find a good home.

If the trees at your site are your only problem, I would consider a satellite colony. My yard is poor for martins and that is what I have done. Doing so has allowed me to continue my hobby.
G Saner
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Dave, G Saner

Thanks for sharing your experiences. We aren't really sure what to expect. There are not any managed colonies in the nearby area that we are aware of. We know where people have some housing up, but not managed, no predator guards, no winches to lower and check nests. Our birds are trained to tray feed when the weather is bad. Really, I think we're the ones that are trained. I guess it will a challenging spring for them.

We plan on taking down the housing down then selling it at a later date. If there are any landlords in the Millstadt Il area we'd be happy to talk to them about possibilities. We have mentored several people over the years, none very close.

Our neighbors say they enjoy the martins but they don't seem to understand how dangerous the trees are for them. One offered his property a quarter mile away, but he would not help monitor it and the area is down in a hollow and just as overgrown as it is here, The good thing is that it's off the highway. We lost 12 martins to the highway this year, it is the most open fly zone for this site.

BTW
We had 45 nests this year, 242 eggs, 214 hatched and fledged 205 young. We also went through about 18,000 superworms and two gallons of eggshells.

Larry and Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
Black Jack
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Yes indeed the martins will move on but i could not have the heart to hang around and see them return to nothing. Better some meet a end on the road than all go looking for another site. 2 Korean war vets have given up their sites which they had for over 30 yrs. One died of cancer and the other is in a rest home. Sad. One of the sons has not done nothing about the housing. He comes and cuts the lawn and hedge bushes.
Hanover Bill
Posts: 615
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Larry & Judy;

It's always sad to learn of a colony closing, but such is life. This is one of the things that is so fascinating about our Martins, and for that matter, other wildlife. They teach us valuable life lessons. When met with unexpected hardships, like a closed colony, they adapt, no time is wasted worrying about the circumstances, they move on to the next phase of life, they simply adapt, there's that word again. This is a lesson that sometimes is hard for we humans to learn, and put into practice. I know I wish I could learn to adapt and eliminate a lot of the worry in life.

I'm sure your Martins will move on to new homes, their instincts will guide them. You two can take great comfort and pride in the fact that you did a large part to increase the Martin population over the years, thank you for that.

Best of Luck;
Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
brent
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Hi Larry and Judy,
A day will come that I, too, will have to make a decision as the one you have had to make. It takes courage to acknowledge our limits. Thank you for sharing and thank you for taking care of these remarkable birds for as long as you have. I hope my efforts as a landlord will last as long as yours.
Brent
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Back in 2011-2012 I moved into a new house. The people that bought my house did not want the colony (30 pair) so at the end of that season I took the housing with me. When they began to arrive the next spring I drove by and for about a week they were just circling the yard looking for the housing. They eventually moved on, I assume they either helped fill someone up or hopefully helped someone start a new colony.

My question is about the issues you had with the trees in the area. Did you suffer hawk attacks? Only reason I bring it up is because I have seen martin sites that are very tree encroached and the martins don't mind it as long as it is not causing more predator ambushes then normal. I posted pictured on here years ago of a site I found that had trees touching the houses. Especially if there are not a lot of good colonies in your area it might be best to leave the housing up, even if you don't have the time to manage it as closely as you have in the past. Just offering quality housing with predator guards might put them in a better place then were they end up at if displaced. You could have the martins and lower the stress some by letting them fend for themselves a little more. Just a thought.
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.
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Hanover Bill, brent, flying-lowe

Thanks all for your thoughts and encouragement.

We're still struggling with our decision. Plans are still to close up. Yes, we have a hawk problem during the day and an owl problem at night. We have a cage on the trendsetter and guards on the T-14 and gourds. We mix up the deterrents in the yard at night. The owl starts up when the fledglings come back and want to sit on the porches for the night. Every evening we flush them off, encouraging them to get inside.

The hawks have been a real problem for several years and it's getting worse due to the excellent cover they now have. A female Coopers and her two young come by three times a day, early morning, mid-afternoon and late evening. We documented the dates and times so we could have an idea when to be the most alert. This family of hawks has also impacted the areas other songbirds as well. It's hard to see the martins circling above, unable to feed their young because the predator is hanging around nearby. The hunt usually lasts 20-40 minutes each time, occasionally longer. Having plenty of martins around helps with sending the alarm, but as they fledge and leave there are less and less eyes to keep watch. We were outside every morning and evening and often during the day as well. It became very stressful for us and the birds as the summer wound down and the hawks ramped up their attacks. But we made it through another year. We are exhausted from the constant battle.

Yes, we have thought about continuing and trying to be less involved. Let the birds handle it and just enjoy them. We talk it over, but sadly it's not going to be any different next year, can't change the neighborhood.

Thanks everyone.
Larry and Judy
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
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.

Larry and Judy,
Which ever decision you make, try not to beat yourself up too bad. It is a part of life that people have to struggle with and I feel for you. I fret the day of my passing and what will happen to my purple babies. If you decide to take a little backseat to the hobby, you may wish to contact a high school biology or life sciences/ environmental class and ask if they would be interested in taking over the duties. They could do some research on weekly nest checks and use it as an ongoing yearly hands on classroom activity. It is just a thought.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
philsand
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

I imagine what you are planning is painful. I am concerned that fewer young people are replacing the people that are discontinuing their valuable care
I am aging out. I reduced the number of gourds to six. Three of them were equipped with owl guards. The martins would not go near them. (So basically I just had three gourds.)
The other three were gourds with round holes, two turned to face the pole and one facing outward. A pair chose the two facing the pole for their two gourds. They were very skilled at maneuvering around the pole and obviously felt safer. No martin wanted the gourd facing outward.
Having the one pair kept me from missing them. I was able to observe new behaviors. I enjoyed them and the visitors.
Since there was not a lot of activity the hawks did not attack. I was not bothered by sparrows nor starlings.
I will try for two pair nest year.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
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.

Good to hear you will still be able to observe your few martins. Take care my friend.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
bootjack farm
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:30 am
Location: Russell, Pa
Martin Colony History: 9 years of trying hard...finally in 2017 I had 3 pair w/ 11 babies. T-14 +4 w/ 4 Troyer horiz. gourds. Troyer Super System 24. Fast forward to 2020... 64 fledged.

Larry and Judy,

I really liked the idea of creating a satellite colony. It seems like such a great opportunity to share your love of the birds with others. I did a quick Google Earth flyover of Millstadt where your are apparently located. Two possible locations stuck out that are relatively open, but there are likely many more: 1) the VFW 2) the primary school. What a great opportunity to have a site that is relatively open to the public. Just wanted to give you some more to think about. Good luck!
Northwest PA
John Miller
Posts: 4771
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Larry and Judy

I'm sorry you are closing your colony. It's a decision we must all face eventually...I worry about it. Closed out my step father's small colony in Kentucky this last year. Actually gave the housing to a neighbor, but I'm doubtful will be managed. That's the challenge always.

Still remember that evening journey I took with you both to find the roost in the cornfield south of Old Valmeyer IL several years ago. We got run out of one cornfield by a farmer, as I recall.

If you want to donate some of the housing, contact me. I'm trying to help a younger highly motivated and capable guy who is working to improve a public site in southern Illinois. And I might be able to use one house in Forest Park, St. Louis,....want to replace an aging castle with a Trendsetter but have not yet secured funding.

John Miller
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