Hoping to be a new Landlord

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Hi ya'll thought I'd introduce myself. My name us Alfie and I'm hoping to be a new landlord next year (2021). I purchased some houses and gourds from the association along with the Dawnsong, decoys and bed and breakfast. I live in Texas outside of Austin. I haven't put them up yet since it's been raining and cold here. I plan on doing that within the next week or 2. The scouts don't arrive until Feb so getting them up in time shouldn't be a problem. If ya'll have any suggestions on attracting the Martins, been watching youtube and there are some conflicting info there, Tara has been a big help so I'm going to follow her suggestions. The closest tree is going to be 45' and our house will be 71' so I meet the recommended spec's.

Hope to read some good information here.

alfie
Dave Duit
Posts: 1939
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.

Hi alfie,
I wanted to be the first to welcome you aboard. There are some great people on this site with lots of good information. Many landlords refer to this site for assistance and ideas. From your post, I have gathered that you have already taken time to look over the things that are important for landlords and for the martins. Location, as Tara has mentioned is so important in attracting a new colony and for active colonies. The best advise I have for you is to keep starlings and sparrows in check. Never allow either to take up housing. Disposing of these two competitors is the only way. Sparrow and starling nest removal simply doesn't go far enough. You have probably already seen that your first nesting pair of martins at your colony will be SY (second year) martins. Martins have strong site fidelity, meaning once they have a successful nesting season they will most likely return to your colony. A new landlord must be relaxed about the time it may take to get their first pair. It can take years before they have success; it took me 6 years. As long as you understand this and you are willing to wait it out, you will be fine. In attracting new martins to your housing here are a few tips. Location you already have established, dawnsong is great, decoys and breakfast tray are awesome. The other unlisted ideas are to smear a little mud around the exterior entrances, (just enough to discolor it, not to cake it on thick) of the compartments and gourds; this will make it attractive to new martins due to the fact it looks like it was lived for other martins to come. Being a colony type bird this is a big juicy present to keep them around. Some landlords pre-nest their compartments with soft white pine needles. Be sure they are the soft type and not prickly. Place a good handful inside the gourds and compartment and form a small bowl shape in the middle, be sure not to block the entrances with the soft white pine needles. There is also a section dediated to ways to atrract martins on the website, which I encourage new landlords to take the time to read. Knowledge is power in the world of martin landlording.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 3142
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Welcome and good luck. With quality housing and a little work you will have a thriving colony in no time in the south, if you have open flyways. It would be a good idea to post a picture of your property from Google earth. There are plenty of very smart and experienced landlords on this site who can help you pick the best spot in your yard. It might help to keep you from having to move things later or not giving yourself the best chance. The fact you are on here asking questions before you put your housing up shows you are on the right path. It's easier and cheaper in the long run to get a setup correct the first time.
2021 Currently 62 nest 138 babies plus 110 eggs (6-317-21) HOSP count-9
2020 42 nest, Fledged 164 HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional lone SY's
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 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair 14 fledged.
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Thanks ya'll I really appreciate the info. I tried to attach pictures but my attempts failed. So below a link to my house. As you can see I'm surrounded by trees. I think the only good area is to the right of my house where the white pipes were. I had to have a new septic system installed and the white pipes are gone. The brown area closer to the street is where our garden goes. When I go out, usually to Bastrop, I don't see anybody else with Purple Martin houses, unless they take them down. If you're wondering those are Solar Panels on my house. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.

https://earth.google.com/web/search/166 ... KnBUbQBVPA
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Control sparrows ,starlings and do not allow tree swallows to nest. Make your presence known and visible to martins near your martin housing
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Thanks for the reply. I purchased 2 of the Sparrow Traps to try to help eliminate the Sparrows and already caught a Wren. I do plan on walking around the site everyday and checking the nests every few days to help control the parasites. From what I read changing the nest out a week after the babies hatch and use Sevin Dust to help control the parasites. Just now I have to play the waiting game to see if the Martin's choose my site this next year.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1939
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.

Best of luck this coming season alfie.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
rctitus
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:19 pm
Location: Buda, Texas

Alfie,
I'm in Buda and becoming a landlord for the first time in 2021 as well. I had a PM house in San Antonio several years ago and I'm determined to be more successful this time. Just being online and in this forum is an indicator. I assembled and tested my new Lonestar Goliad Junior, 8 rooms.
Good Luck!
Ron
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1940
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".

.... Alvie ... Welcome to the Forum, great to have you here with us... It sounds like you have everything going in the right direction for attracting Purple Martins next year.. One thing I did when the first pair arrived at my house, I would stay inside and not go out in the yard.. For fear of scaring them away.. In 2019 when they arrived in the Spring... I was not going to hide in the house, I took my lawn chair out, to within 20 feet of the gourd rack and sat on guard with my air rifle in case some Starlings or Sparrows came by... That year the Martins stayed and it was my first successful year at my home.. Good Luck,,, You have come to the right place..

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 — 6 Pair, 23 Eggs, So far. :wink:

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 — 26 Pair, 100 Eggs, So far.. :wink:
PMCA Member
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

I just went to the Audubon App and search for Purple Martin and performed a sighting to see if any were reported in my area (outside of Austin, TX). The app reported there were sightings, I'm assuming last year, but in Corpus Christi and Dallas. These cites are 100's of miles from here. It's very discouraging :-( thinking that they aren't around here. But they probably are just people in my area don't report them. I do drive around looking for Marin Houses but don't see any.
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Alfie ,
I just read your post again , I see you want to place your martin house 45 ft from a tree and 71 ft from your house, that, all well and good if the tree is small, but if the tree is tall and dense I would much rather have the martin house 71 ft from that tree! I prefer at least 100ft myself!!
Good luck
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Thanks Ray - It's probably about 30' tall but I trimmed the branches up and was able to cut down one of the trees so now it's 58' from the closest tree. I've already put the Martin house up, had to get my backhoe out to dig the hole. There's too much rock and clay here and digging the hole with a post hole digger wasn't an option, especially since they recommend 3' deep. The hole ended up being 39" deep and 18" wide. Used 10 bags of cement to fill the hole as they recommended (to the top) so it's not going anywhere and would really be a pain to move. I had the bags of cement left over from another job I did so I was glad to use it on something. Probably overkill but at least they aren't in my garage anymore. Plus one was starting to get hard. Had to use a hammer to soften it up again.
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Are there female scouts? I saw a bird sitting on the perch above the Purple Martin houses and I've never seen a bird perched there before, let alone close to the houses. I saw it when I came home from Bastrop and immediately went into the house to get my binoculars (I need a stronger pair). Anyway I zoomed in as close as I could and could not be certain it was a Martin. We have feeders on our porch on the back of our house so we've seen the of the birds that hang out here. I have never seen a bird like the one perched on the Martin house. It looks like it might have been a female adult. I went inside and looked at the Martin book I have and it looked like it might have been a female.I didn't want to get too close and scare it off BUT I left my wheelbarrow at the other Martin house I had, was putting pine straw in the houses, so I had to go get it because it's suppose to rain the next few days. So to ask the experts out there are there female scouts? Hopefully it will come back so I can get a better look. I appreciate any feed back.

alfie
SSMartin
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Yes. Females can and do sometimes arrive before any males. If you were playing dawnsong you may very well have any passing martins male or female stop to investigate.
deancamp
Posts: 678
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

As SS said a female ASY can come back to a colony before the males, although it will be a male that starts your colony. They will choose a nesting cavity and go out and attract a female to bring back with him. It usually takes some coaxing for her to stay. Do a search from the home page for purple martin imposters and you can see a few other birds that can fool you. Keep an eye on them and keep us posted.
Jeff Dean
T-Bird
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:08 am
Location: McKinney Texas
Martin Colony History: 2020
Trendsetter 12
PMCA Member

Hi Alfie,

Welcome! I was a first time landlord last year, and this forum is a fantastic place to gain knowledge and ask questions. The people here are wonderful and are eager to help.

I put up my house mid January of 2020, and played the Dawn song everyday until May 1st, when I landed my first occupants. Good luck this season and please keep us posted!

T-Bird
2020 - 1 pair, 4 fledged
brent
Posts: 457
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Hi Alfie,
My first arrival was an ASY male. He didn't sing much and then just a couple of days ago an ASY female showed up. Never saw a bird so happy. Singing his heart out. Now it looks like I have 5 maybe 6 birds. 3 females and 2 males and growing. Good luck my friend.
Brent
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

Great - still waiting. I've been playing the Dawnsong 12 hours a day starting at 6:30am. I did have a bird land on the perch above the houses. I think it was a female. She stayed for a little while then left. I saw a bunch of black birds flying overhead but none are landing. Thanks for the reply.
alfie
D. Doll MN
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 11:05 am
Location: ST CLOUD MN
Martin Colony History: Formally from Willmar MN moved in 2015 and started new colony in 2019 i had 27 pair.

Alfie it sounds like your getting your place where it need to be and then only time will help. But for all the other newbe's just a few other things to consider. Sounds like you have the tree modified not to be a problem. The rule of thump of trees being close is, If the tree can tip over and touch the pole it is two close. After the colony is started the trees can grow up and they will use anyway. But any tree in the area will be use by hawks to hide in and ambush your martin colony after established, and can destroy your colony. I am talking from experance about this it happened to me at my old place. They never distroyed my colony but it is very hard to see the hawks come in and snatch a martin out of the air as there trying to get away. So when planting trees think how big they will be some day.
When I sold my old place and moved sixty miles away my new home was built on ten acres of land, a open field. So when I designed my new home my new martin colony was all thought out and planned ahead. So before my home was even half built I alread had one pole up with ten gourds on it, no time to waste. Not sure if the PMCA had the playes available to play the Martins recording yet or not. But what I did is I took a old car stereo installed it in a wood box along with a battery and a trickel charger. I put this right under the martin pole, but insted of playing the Dangsong I played Day Time Chatter. And I left it running steady never turned it off from mid April (in MN) till end of September. Dangsong is from Midnight till early morning, then should be playing daytime chatter really. And me playing Day time chatter (loud) it sounded like I was still at my old place with my old colony still here. I had a big battle keeping tree swallows out (A MUST at any cost) but succeeded in getting one SY to stay the first year. He pulled in a lot of lookers through the year but only he stayed each night. Next Year had five pair, then next year thirteen , and then full house twenty seven pair out of twenty eight cavity.
One more thing you may attract birds your first year it really depends on where you live. It also depends on people movement also, some one with a martin colony a mile from you could sell amd move. The new owner may not care for martins and remove the pole, that entire colony will be looking for a new homes. Other wise depends on how your dispersal is down there, but on average I think it is only close to ten percent of your chicks come back to there maternal colony. And it is standing very true up here, I am a licensed bander and have banded all my chicks every year. Last year was first year got three of my own checks back out of 114 banded. And this year late in August after eveything had fledge for the season some birds started coming back an spending the night. I had a group of thirteen birds an ASY Male and a SY Male and elven juveniles came back and spent a few nights. But what was so strange was out of the elven juveniles staying over night only two were banded from my colony this year. So your best chance for a lot of people is getting martins the second year your houseing is up. Some other things to try is to have some of the same kind of houseing used in your area. LIke in my area it is T14 houseing i think they look for similar housing. And if you can have one or two round holes to start with (can change out later) some martins have problems with some of the other enterances sometimes. I said enough good luck and try being patient.
Dick Doll
alfie
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Martin Colony History: None as of Oct 2020, hoping to become a landlord in 2021

I believe I'm doing everything right also. None of the trees, if they fall over, will hit the houses so I'm good on that aspect. I have 15 acres. It's fenced off into 10 acres (undeveloped) and the 5 I live on. From what I read on the PMCA forum people play the Dawnsong all times. Anywhere from 4am - 10am to all day or all night. Some switch to the chatter. Since I did have that one, I believe was a female, while I was playing it I think I'll keep it on the way I have it for now. I don't watch the houses all day but do try to check it out when I can. I have 18 "apartments" and 4 gourds so they have to option to pick what they want. I am watching for the Tree Sparrows and European Starlings but haven't seen them yet either. Like you said time will tell. Thanks for the reply - alfie
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