Ready to Throw In Towel

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DelmaWhisenhunt
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Idabel, OK

Guess my martin season is over before it had the chance to get going. By the time the sparrows had been conquered, the blue birds took over. Martins still fly over, but the bb are on constant watch. Fighting hard to not go on a pity trip. So congratulations to those who are enjoying success.
Delma Whisenhunt
Idabel, OK
Martin Lover
Guest

Hang in there, it is still a little early to call it over for 2010.

dick
Robert McCallum
Posts: 215
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:34 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Tulsa

Delma,

As Bill Clinton said, "I feel your pain". I have 29 cavities and one pair + one nice black ASY bachelor. Maybe next year. One pair is just enough to tantalize me. Only a few years ago I had 13 pairs. My friend Stan tells me there are more coming. Never believe Stan! LOL
Getting old is not for the faint-of-heart.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Delma,

I agree hang in there. You just never know when a pair will move in. I think there are still a lot of birds coming by everyone's reports. So chances are you may still get lucky with a few little tenants.

I have to laugh as I'm still trying to start a colony here too and find I have days of frustration also. I sometimes think we get so used to buying what we want and unfortunately these little tykes can't be bought or I WOULD have some by now too. :lol:
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
Tom Teague
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2003 12:39 pm
Location: Trophy Club, TX

I agree...like I have reported several times, Not much activity here in Grapevine, just the colony east of me. Haven't seen very many flying around not have I seen an SY yet. I keep playing the day time chatter CD but really probably wasting my time.

Tom
Veronica G
Posts: 338
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:36 am
Location: Texas/Edinburg

Don't give up yet. I have had several waves of migrating martins come through these last couple of weeks. I'm sure some of them are heading your way :wink:

Veronica
I participate in Project Martin Watch!
Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

Take heart Delma. Several years ago, well into the season, I had an unexpected surprise. My martins (about 20 pairs) were busy feeding their young, with some young due to fledge within a week or so. It was around the first week of June. Out of the blue a dozen or so martins showed up. Two adult pairs, and a mix of male and female sub-adults. I suspect that their previous housing / nests were storm damaged or suffered predation. The two new adult pairs nested and fledged young toward the end of July (well past the usual fledge date). Hang in there, you never know.
Craig Dyer
Hanover Bill
Posts: 621
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

C'mon now Delma you aren't going to give up that easily. At least you are in a part of the country where there is a pretty good population of Martins. I, on the other hand have learned through my exhaustive research that I live in a county in Western Pa. where there is virtually no Martin population, but I will soldier on, and I'm sure you will too. I'm just hoping that a few Martins will fly over my place on their way north and decide to check out my real estate. Hang in there, positive thinking changes everything.

A sidenote to Bob McCallum, you are so right Bob, Old Age Ain't For Sissys.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Bob
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:46 am
Location: Illinois/Fairbury

Delma, I feel your pain. I had a thriving 43 pair last year, before a couple raccoons got past my pole guards and a very wise owl destroyed the colony.

Thus far, no martins. I have a smaller second site that had 11 nests fledge last year. I had 3 ASY males show up last week. Two stayed for 5 days the other for 2 days.

As of today not a single martin.

I am not giving up hope. It is early and there is a site just 3 miles away that is filling up, so hopefully some of his extras will find my site.

I can understand your feelings, but hand in there!!!
Brad-AL
Posts: 566
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 2:00 pm
Location: North AL

Delma, it's too early to give up hope. One thing that these kind people have not mentioned is that you must break the Bluebirds dominance of the Martin housing. If you don't do that you will never get Martins. Sorry to be blunt, but that's just the way it is. Bluebirds that dominate a Martin pole will keep most any Martin from taking up residence. Especially the shy SY birds.
DelmaWhisenhunt
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Idabel, OK

Several bb houses are in place in the yard, all placed different locations with plenty of distance and one martin house given to bb located on one side of yard, but no they want to command the post way on the other side of yard. I lowered the main house and left it down three or four days and no sign of bb, but the first time I saw martins trying to light here came the bb's clear across the yard, approx. 300 ft. What are the answers? They totally ignore the bb houses.
Delma Whisenhunt
Idabel, OK
Martin Lover
Caroline94535-ND
Posts: 328
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:12 am
Location: North Dakota/Larimore
Martin Colony History: Will add later

Delma, if this were my colony/bird site, here is what I would do.

Now keep in mind this is just my opinion, but I really do think it will work.

First and foremost, you must not let blue birds, tree swallows, or any other bird other than Purple Martins nest, roost, or live in the Purple Martin houses.

Now you have to re-train your blue birds.

You said there is a PM house on the side of the house that was "given over to the bluebirds." Take it back. They don't know the difference from "their" PM house and a regular PM house. Don't let them nest there. Time for hardball.

Block off the entry holes; lower it; take it down and hide it in the garage; do what ever you have to do to put up a "No Vacancy" sign. If there are eggs or chicks in that house, you'll have to let them hatch and fledge, but seal off all the other holes and once the BBs have fledged, take the house down.

Now, you may, or may not win the battle and get nesting martins this year, but you will be setting the ground work for a successful PM year in 2011.

Seal off your dedicated PM house. Don't let any BBs in it. Once they all settle down to their own houses and nests, then you can decide if it's safe to reopen this season.

You might want to move your BB/TS housing even further away from the PM houseing. Do you have space to move them to side yards, or toward the front? They have to learn the PM house is not theirs. If they can't get it in to nest they will move on.

Keep your decoys up and play the DawnSong/Daytime Chatter. Keep the PMs interested. If some come in, open one or two holes, but only when you're there to monitor them. If the BBs intervein, close it up again.

Hopefully, by moving the BBs back; stopping them from using the other PM house, and drawing in more PMs, balance and peace will be restored.

Make sure your house and decoys are up and BB free when the late summer migration south begins. You'll get lots of visitors and young PMs looking for their homes for next season. By then, you'll be ready for them.

Keep smiling! You'll get there. If it was easy, it might not be so much fun.
~ Not all those who wander are lost.
DelmaWhisenhunt
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Idabel, OK

Thanks Caroline/ I will remember your suggestions. True I may not be able to remedy the situation this season, but prepare for the next. I never thought about likeness of houses, just location. By the way the name Caroline has become unique in our family. May 15th a great grand-daughter arrived to our family and must say, she is a real keeper and her two little brothers thinks God delivered an angel. I was blessed to be present for her arrival. Arrived in Ft. Worth late Sun. evening and she was born the following night about 10 P.M. My scheduling was perfect.
Delma Whisenhunt
Idabel, OK
Martin Lover
Caroline94535-ND
Posts: 328
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:12 am
Location: North Dakota/Larimore
Martin Colony History: Will add later

...and another coincidence.

My Great-Great Grandfather Marcus Crosby settled on land in Oklahoma, it was in or near the Indian Territory. Great-Great Grandmother Molly was Native American. He was Irish.

They had my Great-Grandmother Betty Crosby Whisenhunt, who lived near Heavner, Zoe, and Poteau amongst other areas.

My Grandmother, Catherine, who raised me from birth, was born near Poteau and is now buried in Zoe.

So, "neighbor," (maybe we're related!) keep working on those BBs. Teach them good "house manners." I'd get "their" PM house down as soon as possible.

If I wasn't up here on the northern prairie, I'd come over and help you.
~ Not all those who wander are lost.
Guest

I plugged all my holes up at the beginning of the season in 2006. Placed a gourd on a shepherds hook 35' from the martin site. A pair of TS took up residence. May 20th of that year I was outside looking & spotted a martin up so high I could barely see him. He folded his wings back & dive bombed straight down to the gourds. I then went & open up a few holes. He went inside a few of them. Next day he brought in a female. These were SY martins. Hung around for about a week & I did not see them for another 3 days. On a monday morning I went out on the porch & heard a ruckus like you would not believe. 9 martins were all around them gourds. One pair started nest building. Got one pair that year. Last year had 32 pair. Once a TS or BB pair takes up in that gourd 35' from the site they will protect it 35' around it but won't bother the martins. By the 20th of May most all TS & BB's have found a nesting site & will not bother your martins. This is how I got started. Hope this helps. Its not to late in Okie country.
Keith
Posts: 418
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Missouri/Ava
Martin Colony History: 85 pair in 2020. Seems fairly consistent the last few years.

Delma,
Here are some of my thoughts. I hope not to discourage you more, but I believe that your Martins that you had come by already would likely have stayed if the BB had not been around. I have found BB to be very territorial so would not even offer BB houses unless you can place them about two acres away from your PM houses. Also, you can attach a piece of sheetmetal or plastic to the PM pole or somewhere close by, take a small gun that shoots bbs and hit the sheetmetal every time you see a BB on the housing. The noise this makes scares them away and they will finally deem this an unsafe place to nest. Since BB will want to nest before the PM arrives, this practice will need to be exercised early in the season. I do like BB and glad that I live on a few acres that the BB boxes can be placed far away. I do have five boxes. If I lived on a lot the choice would have to be made not to have BB if really trying to attract PM.
Keith
DelmaWhisenhunt
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Idabel, OK

Thanks for your suggestions, Keith. I had already thought I should remove all bb houses in the back yard to another location and when the weather clears plan to ask a neighbor friend to lower the claimed martin house to check it out. I am on an acre and half, so not actually crowded. Amused for idea of using BB gun, would have to be something of size for me to hit, although I use quite often for the noise. My husband always laughed and said, I shot like the rifleman. Just never hit target as he did or does.
Delma Whisenhunt
Idabel, OK
Martin Lover
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