With all this talk on nesting material

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white-out
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

A lady friend of mine has been at this for a long time and does not use the internet. She get all of her info from a couple Amish contacts in southern Ohio. She has a large colony and uses only cedar chips in round holed horizontal gourds w/cling plates. She lives on a farm and traps over 200 starlings per season. I believe she has the closest colony near me .....approx 2 miles away as the Martin flies

I recently bought a 2nd hand pole with 18 round hole gourds and immediately ordered 18 Conley 2 entrances and tunnels. She advised me to leave at least 9 round and use cedar chips in all my houses and gourds.

Should I try this to increase my numbers from the info listed below?

1st year ...2 pair with a total of 5 eggs and all fledged
2nd year...1 pair with 6 eggs and all fledged
Also had 5 pair of SY's that showed up just before hatching and they stayed around the whole time but never laid. They seemed to not like the Conley 2 entrances and took weeks before I witnessed any enter a gourd. Not sure what they did at night.......

I shoot and trap lots of sparrows and a few starlings
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1323
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
2022-?
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
2022: ?
PMCA member

Good morning! what type is the house you used last year?
you definitely have something the martins like, and Id expect your numbers to increase rapidly especially with added gourds. so here's my 2 cents: with a budding colony you may be able to get away with offering a few round holes, but only a few, not half of them... suggest you face them towards your house or an area you can watch and shoot starlings if necessary. rest of them put SREH...just like you have on the others. Then plan on SREH on everything. Your description of the visitors is a positive sign, id expect them to show next season my friend and nest.
As far as cedar chip use--if you want to go that route put in a small handful at the bottom of the gourds but don't put them in the round hole entrance. water gets in there and they turn to mush. Test some yourself; put some in water and see how long it takes to dry, now imagine using that as a nest. Plus eggs get lost in that stuff real easy.
Pine needles are tried and true, put a couple handfuls over the cedar chips.
Im not nocking your friend here-sounds to me like she's been doing martins for a while. Take what she says, use her knowledge to help your birds but use the resources here to make it better. What I will say is that purple martins will keep coming back to a site despite its upkeep, martins attract martins. She's doing what she wants and thinks is best; However the goal in managing the species properly and enjoying your birds for years is to provide a safe house and fledge lots of chicks. you could be better. shoot for the best. Your on the right track. Take what she says and run it by the forum members.
Iv a friend who doesn't do nest checks, doesn't change out nests after season, doesn't shoot sparrows, doesn't listen, she inherited her colony from her father...every year she has fewer and fewer birds. No young birds can get a chance there, so hers are dwindling.
glad your keeping those sparrows and starlings down; shoot and trap them all.
Hope this helps,
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
white-out
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

Thank you for the detailed reply!

I have (2) T-14's with (2) Chirpy nests under one and (2) Bo 11 under the other
(1) homemade rack with (8) horizontal gourds


The new 2nd hand pole for next year is a Troyer's SDGR 18

They are on the bank of an acre pond w/cabin but approx. 1000ft from the main house...and not visible from my house. I would love to have my racks visible from the house but I would need to cut down a few acres of woods.

I have all the pine needles I would ever need so, I'll definitely stick with that. If it was you, how many would you leave round, if any?
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1323
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
2022-?
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
2022: ?
PMCA member

Man sounds like a great set up-solid systems. Can't go wrong with a t14! Guess trimming trees is out, haha. No worries. Trust me pine needles are the way to go. Wish we had that many here!
I'd put 2 round holes up, put them so you can shoot from cover and protect them. Id be prepared to put your SREH at a moments notice, what I mean by that is watch and see when the martins select, if they go for the round and starlings start showing intrest you could put the SREH up and martins should acclimate quickly.
Its tough to watch but they get in just fine...we have PMCA excluder gourds with the excluder entrances. Last year the subbies took to them like water. A bigger ASY kept trying and trying, just couldn't do it. He would fly off after about 10 attempts. He finally made it and attracted a mate. Those are restrictive entrances.
Hope this next season is productive and wish you success!
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
white-out
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

I was wondering if most of the SY's may have come from my friend's colony and not familiar with SREHs? I need to start cutting away the openings and adding the tunnels and treads....thank you for the quick replies!

I dream of having a more pairs........I can't wait for next year
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1323
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
2022-?
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
2022: ?
PMCA member

They probably are, if your site is agreeable to them they will come. Sounds like it is, the older birds are very dedicated to their site, so the young will come first, older birds will follow if there is no room at their old site or predators attack etc. Its the young you want, they will build your colony. Sometimes as in the case of my lady example she simply can't keep up, she's losing her martins.

Glad your plans are firm, now just to act. This forum is a great place for support. I have found some of the very old posts full of sage advice...read just about everything about sparrow control back to 2005. Your well on the way. Off season is a busy one. Here iv done a refurbish of a trio mini castle from the cement to the very tip top; we added a new winch, new poles, replaced the rope with wire for the winch, put troyer tunnels on the doors instead of crescents and added two spare o doors as permanent traps. Painted natural gourds and built about 10 sparrow house traps.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 3178
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Ant type of wood "chips" or shavings will hold moisture and cause problems. All it takes is a single blowing rain to get the chips wet and the babies in the nest can die from getting too cold, even it it's warm outside. Wet chips will draw the heat right out of them.
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.
white-out
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

What I find odd is I have used cedar chips in my 3 wood duck houses for 24 years that have a 4 1/2" x 3 1/2" hole...plus a wet legged duck in an out. When I change the nesting material, other than down feathers, the chips are dry and look brand new.

I have only used pine needles and will continue to...........it just made me think....thanks
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1962
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2017 Visitors
Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2018 - 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 36 Fledged
2019 - 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 97 Fledged
2020 - 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Fledged
2021 - 30 Pair, 162 Eggs, 144 Fledged

Home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".
2019 - 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Fledged
2020 - 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Fledged
2021 - 8 Pair, 39 Eggs, 36 Fledged

.. white-out .. It does sound like you have a great place for Martins.. I started like you with 1 pair the first year. then the second year 1 pair. But prepare your self for some more Martins this up coming year. My colony pairs went from one pair to eight pairs the third year... I guess I could use some wood chips, but there are so many pine trees here, and the pine straw is free to pick up.. Another thing I would not use to many round holes entrances because of the Starling love them too. Wishing you the best of luck in 2022..

Dave
PMCA Member
Little Hocking, Ohio
white-out
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

Dave Reynolds wrote:
Sat Oct 30, 2021 8:42 am
.. white-out .. It does sound like you have a great place for Martins.. I started like you with 1 pair the first year. then the second year 1 pair. But prepare your self for some more Martins this up coming year. My colony pairs went from one pair to eight pairs the third year... I guess I could use some wood chips, but there are so many pine trees here, and the pine straw is free to pick up.. Another thing I would not use to many round holes entrances because of the Starling love them too. Wishing you the best of luck in 2022..

Dave
I hope you are right!!!! I'm going to add the tunnels to all 18 round hole gourds. I would like to experiment with it but I just can't defend them from the starlings very well. Thanks you all for the help
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