Update on tiny colony in N. GA mountains

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Well, I thought I was going to have a really good second year, not so good but it ain't over yet!! I put up the same 12 compartment house as last year and added a rack with 16 supergourds with crescent shaped entry holes. On April 24th about a dozen PMs arrived checking out the house and the gourds. They also checked out my neighbors house several hundred feet away. He has not had PMs before. Finally 4 nests were built in my house, none in the gourds, and one nest in my neighbors house. My nest checks revealed 6 eggs in one nest and 3 eggs in another, but none in the other two nests. About two weeks ago I discovered that several eggs had been destroyed by starlings, I am sure because we do not have house sparrows out here in the country. I am down to 2 eggs in one nest and 2 babies in another nest, still no eggs in two nests. It is interesting to note that one of the nests where I found two pecked and broken eggs now has a mud barricade half way up the entrance hole! A predator guard no less! Hopefully, her last two eggs will hatch.

The aluminum house that they seem to prefer is very difficult to do nest checks because of the owl guard and it does not have starling resistant holes, so I am planning not to put up the house next year, just erect the super gourd rack. Every day I see them hanging on the gourd porches, peering in the hole. If I can get them using the gourds, maybe that will take care of the starling problem. Do you experts think I will lose my colony if I do not erect the house they bred in next year????

Dale Hrncirik


My advice would be to put up the house next year but install the crescent doors that are available. The martins that are sucessful this year should be back next year and will figure them out. Also, put up some nest box traps(if you don't already have them) with big round holes and you will easily catch bookoo starlings. Sorry to hear of your starling problems...been there before.

Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Hi Janie,

I hope you heed Dale's advice. I agree that it would be very risky to make such an abrupt change in housing.

His suggestion to modify your house to Starling Resistant Entry Holes (SREH) entries is a good one. Just keep in mind that those entries are recommended only for houses that have doubled compartments. If your aluminum house is a Trio/Nature House brand, then follow these instructions to double the compartment size:

The second thing you could try is to convert the SuperGourds to a different type of SREH. I have installed two inch long tunnels on some of my SuperGourds and these tunnels have a type of modified excluder entry called WDC. Landlords using WDC have remarked that martins accept them more readily than crescent entries. Sandy Bunn sells tunnels with WDC entries that you can install yourself. His website, Entrances By Sandy, is at the bottom of the PMCA links page:
http://www.purplemartin.org/links/Purpl ... Sites.html

Good luck, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"

Mary and Dale: Thanks for your advice! I have ordered the crescent shaped doors for the house and will make that change for next year.

Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 12:09 pm
Location: North Carolina/Murphy

Janie............I probably live within 15 miles of you.....we live in Murphy, NC.....email me sometime at geneinmurphy@yahoo.com; you're welcome to come by and see our colony!! Gene
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