Gourd nesting

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schematics49
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:39 pm
Location: New Paris, OH
Martin Colony History: 2 Trio houses 24 compartments

Is it necessary to put nesting material in gourds prior to their arrival? I have been using Trio houses and never put any nesting in them and have several martins every year but just purchased 2 Excluder gourds and will be a new experience for me nest year.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1757
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.

Pre-nesting gourds or metal compartments is not absolutely necessary. But, I encourage landlords to pre-nest with soft white pine needles if they can, Pre=nesting makes it much easier for the martins to spend more time on courting behavior and less energy spent on finding next material. In the long run, pre=nesting is helping your martins with reducing their energy spent on nest building and more time pairing up. I believe the martins find the cavity more appealing when pre=nesting material is present. The most important aspect is that all metal compartments show have a nesting tray to keep the bottom dry and not allow for hypothermia during the cool spring months.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
schematics49
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:39 pm
Location: New Paris, OH
Martin Colony History: 2 Trio houses 24 compartments

Dave Duit wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:44 pm
Pre-nesting gourds or metal compartments is not absolutely necessary. But, I encourage landlords to pre-nest with soft white pine needles if they can, Pre=nesting makes it much easier for the martins to spend more time on courting behavior and less energy spent on finding next material. In the long run, pre=nesting is helping your martins with reducing their energy spent on nest building and more time pairing up. I believe the martins find the cavity more appealing when pre=nesting material is present. The most important aspect is that all metal compartments show have a nesting tray to keep the bottom dry and not allow for hypothermia during the cool spring months.

Thanks so much. I have never pre-nested the Trio houses but have the nesting trays and have always used yellow sulphur for mite control but since I've seen several mentions of using diatomaceous earth instead and no mention of sulpher I guess I should get some DE.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1757
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.

Please never use DE in nests or compartments or gourds. DE is dangerous for all birds as it goes airbourne in the nest and causes lung damage to the martins. So, basically DE is a big NO NO for mite control. Many landlords opt for 5% sevin dust found in garden centers for mite control. They clean out the old nest, wipe down the walls with rubbing alcohol and replace with fresh soft white pine needles . Then, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sevin around the edge of the nest.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
schematics49
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:39 pm
Location: New Paris, OH
Martin Colony History: 2 Trio houses 24 compartments

Thanks again for the info. I have used Sevin in the garden and have still have some so will not use DE.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1757
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'm glad you saw my post about DE. I think you will have a good colony in the future and I wish you the best.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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