Can I use SREH entry holes and still attract SYs?

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I'm a first-year landlord and just purchased a Heritage Farms Quad-Pod house. The owners manual says that I should use the round hole entrances to give second-year Martins the best chance to establish themselves. I've read that using SREH entrances are the way to go. I would appreciate any advice from more experienced landlords.
Adam Romain
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 5:40 pm
Location: Texas, Fulshear

Hello Dsmith, welcome to the Forum!!!

Although I don't have much more experience than you, last year I put up a new house that I build which was 100% SREH. That new house filled with both ASY's and SY's, 9 pair in total. :lol:

As I'm sure other more experienced landlords will say, you live in a martin rich area and should have no issues attracting martins with SREH's your first year. I didn't worry about starting with round then changing to SREH's once eggs are present. But, that's just what my own experience has been. :wink:

Good luck this season!!! 8)
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hi Donald ,
I would definately convert to all sreh's for the protection of the PM's & their egg's & babies from those Starling Nasties, i can tell you first hand of all the devastation that happened here at my colony a few year's ago, like you i also had all Round hole entrances and between the starlings and other predator's i had been completely wiped out and had to start all over again. I bought new PM houseing (a lonestar Goliad 20 room )and added a Lonestar Gourd rack also , The Lonestar PM House came w/ all round entrances but i ordered Door's w/ all sreh's and installed them. In answer to your question i had to start all over again attracting Martins to my Location but never had any problems useing the all sreh's on my Houseing & Gourd Rack , The Martins took to them quickly and seemed to like them because of the protection.Me ,Having to start a new colony and not encountering any problems with the Martins negociating the entrances I would think that you would get Martins as well with no problem of them getting in & out of the sreh's. If you are uncomfortable about converting all of your entrances just convert most of them and leave a few as round hole entrances.I hope this info helps you and if you are ever in my neck of the wood's come by and see my setup's and we can talk Martin Stratagy, I'm just off of I-20 & Carrier Pkwy in The Westchester Sub div.
Last edited by klcretired on Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

Dale Hrncirik


I started a colony at our new place in Allen last year. I offered 21 cavities and all were crescent except for 2 round holers. There were 5 pairs of SYs that nested and fledged young with only 1 pair choosing a round hole. So yes, it's possible and very likely in the south where the concentration of martins are greater. I also want to let you know that my crescents are 1/32 over the recommended 1 & 3/16". Some of my SREs are porched on the plastic gourds but none of the naturals have porches.

I would advise to offer at least 2 round holers if that's possible. Position them so that they face your house so you can keep watch. If you have problems with starlings and can't shoot or catch them in a trap, be ready to switch to an SRE.

I've been landlording since 1998 and started out all round before SREs were really in widespread use. I started gradually changing over to crescent SREs by the 2nd or 3rd year and was totally SRE by 2002. I may offer only 1 or 2 round this season as last year but will be ready to switch out gourds if I encounter any hint of danger.

Good luck,
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Donald ,
I want invite you and to tell you that we are having a Purple Martin Landlord's Meeting on Thursday Feb 2,2006 at the PMLNT (Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas) and Louise Chambers of the PMCA is supposed to be there as Guest Speaker if i got my info right.Here is the website below w/ directions in case you are interested in comming , I have had a total Knee replacement but i am going to try and be at the meeting:
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Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

John Miller
Posts: 4779
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Mr. Smith

This is such a tough question. I'm with Dale on SREH size, but most folks strongly caution against it. One compromise for you would be to hang just two natural gourds with round holes. Starlings would probably pass these over, especially a little later in the season when subs are arriving. It's not without modest risk, but "reasonable" risk I think.

John Miller
Dave S (Texas)
Posts: 151
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:42 am
Location: Round Rock, Tx

Hi Don
I started my colony many years ago. I heeded the advice of veteran landlords figuring they knew what they were talking about. Back then I had to make my own SREs. No PM has ever seen a round hole entrance at my colony site. That first year, 4 of 6 rooms/2 of 4 SGs were occupied and 28 youngsters fledged through my crescent SREs. Besides using SREs I also suggest you begin keeping an accurate journal. Write down everything you do and happens at your colony site. It will be a valuable record for you in years to come. The hardest thing in the first year is learning PATIENCE.....very hard, so very hard! Keep the faith and you will succeed.
Welcome to a great hobby/avocation! :grin:
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:42 pm

I abruptly switched from all round holes to all crescent SREHs 2 years ago when I found an adult martin that had been killed by starlings. The martins never seemed to be bothered at all and made the adjustment without skipping a beat. The starlings don't even bother to try getting into my houses anymore. That leaves the house sparrows to deal with.

Patrick in Fort Worth
Posts: 362
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:27 pm
Location: Virginia/Catlett

Don, I was in your spot except I had Bo Villas instead of Quad Pods. Intructions suggested opening the round holes initially. I did, then left for wark. In less than a day, European Starlings took over the Bo Villas and drove away my Purple Martins. I replugged the round holes and opened the crescents. The Purple Martins that had chosen the Bo Villas abandoned them and moved to the house and gourds that I offered.

If there are Starlings in your area, stick with SREH unless you can spend all day every day with a pellet gun to defend the cavities with round entry holes. Be patient. I wasn't; enlarged crescents on my S&K house, then had to order new doors when Starlings took it over two years ago.

As soon as the first Martin figures out the SREH, all the other Martins will learn to use them by imitation. SREH are now common enough that SY birds coming to your place probably have seen and entered SREH during their hatch year before going to their premigratory roost.

Take care,

Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Definitely go with SREH on your houses and /or gourds. Do it right the first time. Your Martins will love you for it. I have started dozens of new colony's up here in Alberta Canada using crescent SREH. The subadults have no problem what so ever entering them and actually prefer them over round entrances. Take a look at my website, click on Starling control for more info on this subject. Good luck this year! :lol:
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.

Wow! :grin: Thank y'all (Texan for "you all") for the great response to my question. SREHs it is.

I'm already excited and haven't even seen my first Martin yet. What a great forum.

The way I look at this is "surely" the PMCA studied these factors. Parent PM's will bring back their newly fledged back to the nesting cavity for up to a week or more after the young ones have fledged. If these newly fledged can maneuver and manage the crescents and excluders, surely subadults can.

Also I read somewhere, but obviously I never measured a newly fledged PM, but I read somewhere that a newly fledged PM is the fattest he will ever be the first time he leaves the nest. True or not, I don't know. But if so, that is even more proof that a subadult will have no problems with SREH's if a newly fledged PM can.
Martin man RI
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:04 pm
Location: MA/RI area

Dont worry i have three sites all Crescent no round holes
the birds pre-fer the extra large units over the small ones!
Ray in RI
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hey Don,
If you see or hear any PM's in and around the Ft. Worth area please email me or post it so we will know.....anxiously awaiting!!!!!!
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

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