GHO Owlets & Am. Kestrels

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sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

I might still be in the Wannabe club after this year.

I have a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls (see pictures of mama & owlets) about 300 feet from my PM houses and a American Kestrel pair nesting in a Wood duck house about 200 feet from my PM houses. I do have owl guards up on some of my housing; but I am not sure if they will deter the kestrels. I wasn't initially concerned about the kestrels until I read some of the post about that kestrels might/will prey on the young PMs. I plan to put more owl guards up once I get my first nesting pair. Any other thoughts how I might protect the PMs when I get my 1st nesting pair would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers David
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Mama Owl Close Up.jpg
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Baby Owl Close Up 01.jpg
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2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
MichaelH
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:10 am
Location: IL/Gillespie
Martin Colony History: 2015 28 cavities 2 pairs
2016 big upgrade 56cavities 16 pairs great year
2017. 76 cavities 36 pairs
2018. 146 cavities

Cool pictures of the owls ,.
Not sure but might put the martins of if they find out you have owls and kestrels so close by ,but I am no expert sometimes you just never know how Mother Nature will act ,.
But hoping that you do get the joy of havin martins at your site ,.
Mick
2018 146 cavities.
KathyF
Posts: 3522
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Yowza-COOL! And a very, very tough situation! Those owlets are adorable - is that your picture you took of them? On the one hand, you are very fortunate to have Kestrels and owls nesting. :mrgreen: On the other hand, ouch, ouch, ouch.
Not much you can do this season about the Kestrels...but next season, you might want to reduce the hole on the wood duck box, until you see wood ducks...I've had to do the same thing, since starlings keep trying to move into it.

You said you only have owl guards on 'some' of you housing. What kind of guards are you using? You may also want to consider adding guards / fencing to *everything* now...because as sure as the sun rises in the east, you're likely to suffer owl predation now and the only think you can do is reinforce everything. I would love to follow your progress...I'm pretty sure my GHOs are nesting nearby, but haven't been able to find them yet.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
mwren
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 pm
Location: OH/Athens
Martin Colony History: I have had my martin colony on the dam of one of my ponds for nine years. The colony has grown each year, but I am now concentrating on helping friends and acquaintances who have shown interests in martins. My colony consists of three T-14's with 8 Troyer gourds attatched to each T-14, a Troyer gourd rack with 12 gourds, and another gourd rack with 18 Troyer gourds for a total of 96 nest cavities. I am having serious predation issues with hawks and owls and am experimenting with various hawk guards and "screens". Established successful supplemental feeding the last few seasons and have had a blast flipping mostly meal worms and some crickets. Faculty from Ohio University are using my colony as a research site to study parasites that target cavity nesting birds. In exchange for access to my bird trail nest boxes and martin housing, they are banding all birds involved in their study.

I would agree with KathyF who is recommending that you ramp up your anti-owl protection for your martins. With owls close by, and young to feed, I would bet that you will have issues. I have a very healthy owl population on my farm, as well as Cooper's, Sharp-Shins, and Red Tails. I have rods fastened to the porches of my houses that seem to help deter the hawks and owls. If I am still losing some martins my plan is to go to more elaborate wire fencing if I must. I enjoy the birds of prey almost as much as my martins, and things can get exciting around my colony when the hawks are on the prowl. I would also recommend that you take a close look at your "fly-ways" approaching your martin colony. Remove any trees that could be blocking "open-air" anywhere near the colony. Birds of prey will use those trees to perch and plot their aerial attacks, as well as the trees blocking or funneling approaches and exit paths around the colony. Good luck and enjoy your martins as well as your owls! Mike "Bird" Wren
Mike "Bird" Wren
sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

I have owl guards on six of my super gourds. On twelve of my super gourds I have added the Troyer tunnel to them. The last six gourds are troyer horizontal. Do you think I need to add owl guards to the super gourds w/tunnels or the troyer horizontal gourds?

I have installed metal bars on my T-14 house porches for owl guards.

The Grandma & Grandpa houses don't have any owl guards at the moment. I have a couple owl guards (metal fencing) prepared to attach to those houses when/if I get any nesting pairs in those houses. The owl guards attached to the front porch of the house; but I don't know if that would prevent the owl from reaching in. All of the Grandpa houses have been converted from 12 to 6 compartment. The Grandma houses have not been converted.

Cheers David
2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
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.

Hi David, Very cool indeed. Great horned owls are magnificent birds of prey. They can also be a purple martin landlord's worst nightmare. I have been extremely fortunate over the years. I have never experienced owl predation. There are great horned owls all over north Texas. I see and hear them all the time. There is one that perches on the phone lines about 1/4 mile away at dusk every evening. It must be catching enough rabbits & skunks...so far no problems (fingers crossed). There are also American kestrels in my area. I have never witnessed one even attempt to catch a martin. Best of luck to you this year.
Craig Dyer
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.

P.S. I offer housing with 12" deep compartments (crescent entrances) and also Supergourds. Not advising one way or the other, but I have never used owl guards or cages over the housing. Hoping my good fortune holds.
Craig Dyer
KathyF
Posts: 3522
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

David,
I've made some extensive posts, with videos & pictures, documenting the issues I've had with my local GHO -

My first post about my issues
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2014/05 ... -thee.html

through to now:
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2016/03 ... anges.html

you can read about the various issues I've had and what I've tried (ie, nothing works, except the cages) since 2014 on my blog....just check the post links on the left-hand side. I've had quite a ride. :grin: And I've tried to share all my experiences so others can benefit. I hope it helps.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

KathyF,

Thanks for the post. I looked at your links. I will have to design and put something together. I have the gourd rack, T-14, Grandma & Grandpa houses to design for. Should be do able.

Do you think I should put the owl guard up as soon as possible or wait until I get my first nesting pair?

Cheers David
2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
KathyF
Posts: 3522
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

sdsteil-IA wrote:KathyF,

Thanks for the post. I looked at your links. I will have to design and put something together. I have the gourd rack, T-14, Grandma & Grandpa houses to design for. Should be do able.

Do you think I should put the owl guard up as soon as possible or wait until I get my first nesting pair?

Cheers David
David, here's my thoughts on it, but YMMV (your mileage may vary). It's difficult to know what to do before you have a martin colony.

But, since you don't have the problem (yet), one compromise would be to buy the 2x4" wire fencing, and cut out multiple wires to make some nice BIG entrance holes - (ie, 4x4" or even 4x6"), with some 'landing strips' on the bottom wire of each opening. I use undersill trim - nice & stable, weather-proof and not sticky. Others use electrical tape, but that can be problematic.

Ensure the larger entrance holes are directly in front of each nest cavity entrance. This way, the birds can get used to having a caged-in house, won't be freaked out trying to enter a 2x4" hole, it will provide them with some amount of security AND when the owl does come hunting, you could simply discard the "introduction" wire and put up new wire with smaller entrances (I use 4x4").
An owl's reach is something like 10-11" (don't recall exactly), so bow the wire out to keep him/her from reaching directly in.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
sdsteil-IA
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Iowa/Keystone
Martin Colony History: 2020 - First nesting pair.
2002 - 2019 - Trying

KathyF,

Is the undersill trim just used to help the martins find the entrances? How exactly are you attaching the undersill trim to the wire or are you just sticking it over the wire and letting hang down? Could you take a picture? Is the cage removable some how to allow for nest checks?

I still have some 2x4 wire mesh laying around so I will get to preparing my cage.

Thanks again.

Cheers David
2020 - 1 nesting pair
2012-2019 - 0 nesting pairs
2011 - Bought 18 acre farm with a 1 acre pond
2008-2010 – 0 nesting pairs
2007 – 1 nesting pair. Female died trying to lay 4th egg
2002 - 2006. 0 nesting pairs
KathyF
Posts: 3522
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

David
It makes it easier to a) find the entrance; and b) for their feet to grasp the top of the covered wire. Otherwise, their landing tends to be a bit uncertain, and that amount of pause could be bad.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EPSaAmMZwcA/V ... G_0717.JPG

The only parts of the cages that are 'semi-permanently' mounted are the tops. And I don't use one big solid piece of wire - I cut it into panels. I zip tie everything down and together at the sides, so I can do nest checks. Snip, snip, nest check, re-zip with new ties.

More pictures here in this post and check out the video of them using the small entrances with only wire, versus how solid they're able to land on the trimmed entrances.

http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2016/03 ... anges.html
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
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