Sparrow Vs. Martin Strength

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Elijah Clark
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:52 pm
Location: Bend, TX
Martin Colony History: Put up the colony in 2015 and had a mean and nasty fight with the sparrows, yet one pair stayed and five fledged.

Does anyone know if a sparrow has anymore more less strength in means of pushing open something, such as an entrance? I may have an idea for sparrow proofing a house. :)
"A good sparrow is a dead sparrow"
2015- 1 pair
2016- 12 pair
2017- 0 pair (predators). Back to square one.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Elijah,
I don't want to sound crazy, but if you invent a sparrow proof martin house you will be a millionaire soon. I would like to see your ideas on this forum. I wish you the best and you will be a huge sensation in the purple martin world if you can pull it off. I'm unsure on sparrow strength.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Fuzzmeister
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:02 pm
Location: Saskatchewan Canada

Yes I would like to read your idea as well
Dave Duit
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Elijah,
I think that watching videos of how sparrows enter and exit holes may be good. Another idea in assisting would be to look into all the physics of how they enter. There is a sparrow proof device for tree swallow boxes, but not for martin houses. It is "Anti-House Sparrow Hironbec Pendulum on Tree Swallow Nest Box" Maybe some ideas can be had by studying such a device. Pre-entrances design possibilities.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Elijah Clark
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:52 pm
Location: Bend, TX
Martin Colony History: Put up the colony in 2015 and had a mean and nasty fight with the sparrows, yet one pair stayed and five fledged.

Hi Dave,

I've been basing my ideas off of the principle in nature that every creature has something that another creature does not. This principle was previously used in the Starling Resistant Entrance to where they used the martin's body as an advantage. We could use the same principle with House Sparrows, in which we could use the martin's strength to its advantage. If we think about it, the Purple Martin flys all the way down to South America, compared to the House Sparrow who stays in one place year round, thus we can infer the Purple Martin a stronger in flight compared to a House Sparrow. The Purple Martin also has a large size, in which most creatures (though not all creatures) that are larger in size than another creature tend to be stronger than the smaller creature. I was thinking of using a small flap that covers a small bit of the entrance, in which I'll be keeping the traditional Starling Resistant Entrance, that is angled slightly inward for a smooth entrance that would not discourage Purple Martins. This flap will be attached to the top of the entrance by a small spring. This small spring will have to be tested frequently to see what strength the spring must be in order to be strong enough to deter House Sparrows, yet light enough to allow the entrance of a Purple Martin. I could maybe test this by placing captive House Sparrows in a two section compartment, divided by a prototype of the entrance. I will place a female House Sparrow in one side, in which this side will represent the inside of a room. I'll then put a male House Sparrow on the other side of the compartment, which will represent the outside of a Purple Martin house. I will then test the strength of the spring, and once the proper strength is discovered, I will attempt to use this design on an actual Purple Martin house. If the design fails to let a Purple Martin enter I may make the flap smaller, and if this doesn't work the invention will prove to be a failure. Later on in the nesting season the problem will arise where the soon to be fledglings will need to exit the nest in which they may not be strong enough to open the flap. Due to this I designed an entrance the exact same size to the side, except this entrance has a semi circle within a semi circle on the edge of the entrance that move as a door that lifts up and down (sorry that's he best way I can describe it without pictures). It can push open from the inside so things can go out but nothing can get back in (which may be problematic if fledglings need to get back in the house, due to this the entrance will need to be tweaked a bit). The small hole created by the second semi circle acts as a feeding port and as a "beacon" for soon to be fledglings. I know this idea is kind of rough but I believe with a few tweaks and tests, the design can eventually be made working. Any criticism on impracticalities of the design are highly welcomed as I'm sure there are quite a few of them. I'll be sure to check out the pendulum system for inspiration. :) I've also been looking on how House Sparrows enter compared to Purple Martins. Purple Martins I've noticed tend to just slide right in while House Sparrows seem to concentrate a bit more on entering and take a bit longer. :grin:
"A good sparrow is a dead sparrow"
2015- 1 pair
2016- 12 pair
2017- 0 pair (predators). Back to square one.
Elijah Clark
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:52 pm
Location: Bend, TX
Martin Colony History: Put up the colony in 2015 and had a mean and nasty fight with the sparrows, yet one pair stayed and five fledged.

I just looked up the pendulum and it is a fantastic idea :grin: Would there possibly be a way to do the opposite with the weights and have it open for heavier birds such as martins and stay closed for lighter birds like sparrows?
"A good sparrow is a dead sparrow"
2015- 1 pair
2016- 12 pair
2017- 0 pair (predators). Back to square one.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Elijah,
You are on to something and I commend you for your perserverance, efforts and attitude toward this task. Nothings comes easy in this world and only the strong willed succeed. I'm the President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization and our organization would like to back you in this venture in the future. Please register as a member at www.iamartin.org and place any of your ideas and thoughts on our website forum. It may take months or years to perfect and tweek this design. Seeing your work effort and creativity I would be honored in assisting you in your endeavours. I cannot say my connection to a gentleman who can market and sell your design on this forum, but I can assure you that it would make your time worthwhile. It is my way of offering you an option to pursue your design. If we can be of assistance, we welcome your future plans. Or you may opt to do all on your own, in which I'm sure you would be a success. Regardless, we are here to make things a reality. Thanks Elijah for not being afraid to tackle the big issues when it deals with the purple martin species.
Dave Duit
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
LonesomeDuck
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:04 pm
Location: Arcadia, IN
Martin Colony History: 2016- Some visitors on my Trendsetter 12, no nesting pairs yet.
2017- More visitors, still no nesting pairs yet.
2018- Added Troyer Horizontal gourds and moved house to more open location. One nesting pair of subadults! 2 eggs, 1 egg hatched.
2019- added Gemini gourd rack. 2 pairs, 10 eggs, 10 hatched.

Interesting idea, but what about the purple martin fledglings? If it was too strong an entrance for fledglings to get in and out of then it wouldn't work. Not sure if there's a huge difference in strength between a fledgling and an adult martin, but I would think there would be.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

At the time of fledge ,the young martins are the same size as the parents.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Elijah Clark
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:52 pm
Location: Bend, TX
Martin Colony History: Put up the colony in 2015 and had a mean and nasty fight with the sparrows, yet one pair stayed and five fledged.

Hi Dave, sorry for the late reply, I'll gladly register and share my ideas on your forum :grin: I will also to be happy to have your help on the subject. Hopefully I will have a working prototype before the martins return this upcoming season.
"A good sparrow is a dead sparrow"
2015- 1 pair
2016- 12 pair
2017- 0 pair (predators). Back to square one.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6210
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

One thing to keep in mind with an entrance that involves pushing aside a flap, is feather wear. Adults going in & out repeatedly could suffer excess feather wear from the friction/drag against flap. Feathers on back of head, neck, body are not crucial flight feathers but they do provide insulation. A MN landlord worked up an entrance that completely blocked hole, and martins pushed through overlapping flaps that covered hole. Some martins learned to use it (intent was to keep starlings out) but I think that's about as far as it went. That design would have cut down on air flow/ventilation into cavity.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Elijah,
Thanks for considering us as an assistant on your project. I also want to thank you for registering on the Iowa website. Good pont by Louise about feather wear, especially flight feathers. When designing any new improvement to housing a person must constantly think of anything that could hurt or hamper the martin, such as sharp parts, floor grip material, etc...I try to think of what could go wrong and how to develop a solution to eliminate the problem proactively. Thank you for taking on a big task, it takes a strong will and determination to follow through and succeed.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Post Reply