got one pair of martins after trying for 19 years.

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I live in Milwaukee, WI, and have been trying to get martins for 19 years. was almost going to give up this year, but finally raised by wooden troy house mid-May, and started playing the dawn song. I got one adult male on May 30th, and he attracted a female. I also have a sub-adult male, but he hasn't been successful attracting a female yet.

all these years I have been playing martin music, putting mud and nesting materials in the houses, adding perches, decoys, etc. nothing worked. I even moved to a different house myself because I thought it had better flight patterns for martins. still couldn't attract martins in this new neighborhood. finally did. I cannot believe it. I hope I can keep them alive....i.e. free from predators.

I also have a hawk in the yard, and I know we have owls in the neighborhood. so I looked at the articles on predators on this site, and it doesn't seem to address the troy house. any suggestions....dowels, fencing, etc. I know I need a racoom guard on my wooden pole will have to figure that out.

have been putting out meal worms for the bluebirds, and am now putting them out on an open platform hoping the martin pair will see them and maybe take them when the babies hatch. I would like them trained to eat them before any return next year and find we still have snow here in Wisconsin in April!!!

so....I guess if it took me 19 years, the rest of you that are still trying still should have hope too...


Good for you!!

I have only been trying for six or seven years. Forget exactly how long it's been. I have visitors every year. Martins are scarce here in New England.

Your story gives me hope. Wishing you all the best luck.
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

I don't know anything about your house, but if you have owls like I do, then deep compartments is a necessity. Also, you could wrap your house with 2in x 4in yard fence wire, to keep the owls further away from the cavity. The martins learn to go thru the wire very quickly.

Congratulations on your good fortune, and I hope that you are successful in keeping the hawk away, as well as all predators...good luck
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps

I think the biggest thing I did right this year is waiting until mid-May to put the house up. I was pulling out sparrow nests (including eggs), but the martin came about 2 weeks after the house went up. It seemed the sparrows were as viscous as other years. I still have one male sparrow I cannot trap singing to attract a female. but so far he has left the martins alone. am still trying to trap him.

By troyer I'm assuming a t14; go to google and type in 't14 owl guard' you should get some useful information. What kind of entrance holes are you using?


Yes...I have a T14. Will look on google as you suggested. The pair of martins are in a deep cavity with a nest box made to go with the T14 that has a lip in the center of the pox dividing the box into a front area and a back nesting area. Kind of like a mud dam would be. The pair are using the round hole, but the cavity also has an obround hole that I put duct tape over. I drilled the round hole in the house when the martins for years refused to enter the obround. This year the male would go in the obround, but he wasn't getting the females to go in. So I drilled a round hole in the same compartment.

any help at all from anyone is appreciated. With only one pair and not many martins in our area, it would be great to get through the season with this pair.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Congratulations on your commitment to getting martins for so many years and finally succeeding!!! I wish you all the best for a successful season and the beginning of your own colony. Watch out for those predators!
Sharon in TX

congratulations, I know you are happy to finally have some Martins. I think you are awesome for hanging in there for so long. Just keep your eye on them and the Lord will let you know what to do or where to look for help.
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