Storm just toppled my Martin house

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Posts: 42
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:03 pm
Location: Scott County Kentucky
Martin Colony History: 2020- Late start, lots of visitors
2021- One pair, 5 fledged

I’m so disappointed! I’m a first year landlord and this evening we were to do our second nest checks. I was expecting three pairs to have eggs. A storm came out of nowhere just now and toppled one of my Martin houses. We went out to retrieve it and the two nests in that house did in fact have eggs, all of which were broken. The birds were nowhere to be seen. We were able to re-bend the pole and get the house back up. The birds have since returned. Is there any hope at all that they might lay a new clutch? They had just laid the eggs this week. Sad in Kentucky.
Posts: 491
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

I have had the experience of a pair laying 2 clutches not because they were destroyed but because the 1st eggs were infertile. So I'd say yes it is possible. Sorry to hear what happened. Good luck.
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:45 am
Location: Indiana/Scottsburg

There is hope!

I live just 60-70 miles from you the way the crow flies. The same happened to me about this time of year 12 years ago.

It did make me buy poles intended for use with martin housing. I thought galvanized steel (I believe 1 3/4") would have been good. Nope. Buy the mid to upper range quality poles from a martin equipment supplier.

Also, I lower my gourds to 2/3 to 1/2 height when storms are coming. This brings them down to head height. If they have active nests, they will not abandon.
Landlording since 1996 in beautiful southern Indiana.
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:40 am
Location: Kingsville Mo.

I use to lower my houses 2-4 ft before storms arrived. That worked fine until I couldn't lower because Iwas not home. Now, I leave all houses down 2-4 ft.all season long. Does not bother the birds at all. Friday, we had a big thunderstorm roll thru. I lowered them more maybe 5-7 ft down. They did fine and the birds did fine. We have 70 plus nests with babies or eggs.

Years ago, I was replacing trio poles every season because of severe weather and the winds that come with it. Usually they would bend at ground level, sometimes to the ground or maybe a fortyfive degree bend. I started to add smaller sized diameter pipe inside the trio poles to help strengthen them up. I keep my trio houses 3 1/2- 4 ft. down from the top all season long. The trios have held up quite well.

PMCA member
Posts: 1327
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total.
6 fledges.

2021: 9 pair, 47 eggs
36 hatchlings
30 fledged

I had a tritel pole for a season, which did fine, but for the next season I bought a gourd rack and it has a big square pole.

Your martins are gonna likely lay again. They dont give up. But keep in mind, the pole is even weaker now that it’s been stressed from bending and rebending.
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:03 pm
Location: Scott County Kentucky
Martin Colony History: 2020- Late start, lots of visitors
2021- One pair, 5 fledged

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions, and also the encouragement. This morning it appears that our birds are still here. It will be interesting to see if the pairs that had eggs will try to revamp the tossled but empty nests, or choose a different compartment. I’ve learned a valuable lesson. We’ve lowered houses before bad weather before- but this has taught me not to always trust the radar. This wind was wicked, and it just didn’t match the radar signature. Since we can’t make any substantial changes to our pole system mid season, we will do our best to reinforce them- I love the suggestion to use another pole inside. Thanks again- this forum community is simply fantastic.
Posts: 3158
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Probably the same storm system that came through Indiana last night. I lowered my housing a few feet just before dark and am glad I did. They have been through stronger storms but you never know. The one we had last night only last about 20 minutes but the winds went from 0-60 in a few seconds. I am not sure what kind of pole you have but as was mentioned before it will bend a lot easier now at that same spot. You will need some way to firm it up to get through this season.
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.
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

An unexpected and severe storm in April that toppled my Rack #1 (a Tri-tel with 6 S&K Bo11 gourds). Had 4 very young chicks in one gourd (they all survived) and 31 eggs scattered in the other 5 gourds, all were destroyed (eggs, not gourds). After resurrecting the rack that afternoon, birds came back. They re-laid clutches (31 new eggs coincidentally!!) and on my nest check 6/12 Rack 1 produced 24 fledglings.
Moral of the story - don't give up, they will renest.
Happy Martining, Mike
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:03 pm
Location: Scott County Kentucky
Martin Colony History: 2020- Late start, lots of visitors
2021- One pair, 5 fledged

The poles I have are the typical purple martin 'tri-tel' poles from our local farm supply store- affordable for someone seeing if they can start a colony. But- when we make it through this season we're thinking we might upgrade to a different pole with a winch system.

Saturday's storm bent one of the poles near the base, causing the house to fall. We cut the bent part out and got the box up within 30 minutes, although the box now sits lower. The second box didn't fall, but the pole was tilted. We repaired that pole yesterday, and it took about 30 minutes. While the box was lowered- I found a nest with INTACT eggs. Pretty excited about that.

We hurried to get the poles are back up ASAP, but now they don't telescope very well. So- as is, it won't be very easy to do nest checks. I'm afraid the poles will jam and it will be very disruptive to 'unstick' them. We still need to try to reinforce the poles and attach the predator guards.
I'm trying to decide if we should do that immediately, wait a few days, or just leave my already rattled colony alone.

This is a first year site- all SY. It may be my imagination, but we seem to have fewer birds this morning. Usually 12- I've only seen 6.

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