South/Central Texas question

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Elmo
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:40 am
Location: TX/San Antonio

Does anyone in the San Antonio/Hill country/Valley area use pine needles as a prep for your houses? If so does it help your martins? If not, do you prep your houses with anything?
I was thinking of using dead live oak leaves. Any thoughts?
-=DKC=-
Posts: 356
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:26 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Martin Colony History: ................
2019: 11 pairs
2018: 11 pairs - 43 fledged
2017: 4 pairs - 17 fledged

Elmo wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:46 am
Does anyone in the San Antonio/Hill country/Valley area use pine needles as a prep for your houses? If so does it help your martins? If not, do you prep your houses with anything?
I was thinking of using dead live oak leaves. Any thoughts?
I'm in Corpus Christi. My Purple Martins use dead/brown Live Oak leaves to build their nests. So that's what I use for prenests and nest replacement.

I haven't prepped the gourds with leaves this year but I hope to do so before they arrive. I don't think they need it but it does allow me to add a tiny bit of 7dust under the leaves.

Also, I have a vegetable garden near the pole. I mulch the garden with Live Oak leaves and that's where they get the majority of their nesting material.
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' till you do succeed." - Curly Howard
rrmartins
Posts: 1435
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

I don’t my put anything in mine, they do a good job at nest buildings. Good luck to you this year.
2020
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1247
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
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
PMCA member

I use pine needles, a small handfull of wood shavings but pine needles mostly. Its a good idea to give them something to bed down in especially after their flight and the early start of the year temps.
It also conserves their energy for egg laying and eating plus reduces their vulnerability while on the ground searching for nest material...why not give them a boost? Its like inviting someone over for dinner and forgetting to cook, lol.
My first year, i didnt do anything like that although it was great watching them build nests i realise i could have saved them an effort. Avoid straw or hay, it turns to mush!
Point is to set the birds up for a sucessful season and enjoy their short stay with us.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
G Saner
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Elmo,

Yes. I use pine needles in my 24 gourds. Like Tom mentioned, it is a good idea to keep the martins off the ground where they could have a problem with predators. My second reason is to shorten the nest building phase and get them to lay eggs a little earlier so the babies fledge before it gets too hot.

My ASY pair add sticks, mud and leaves to the nest. Most of the SY pair just add leaves.

Gary
G Saner
Elmo
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:40 am
Location: TX/San Antonio

Thanks to all for the advice.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 648
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

We live in Georgetown and don’t have any pine trees. We have always started out with fresh aspen shavings with a little Seven mixed in. We have oak trees nearby. When the birds begin nest building, some kick out all the shavings and bring in oak leaves and sticks. Others leave some of the shavings and top it off with oak leaves and sticks. Occasionally some build mud and stick dams. A few SY’s have even gone so far as using the aspen alone for nesting. Guess they haven’t learned yet :grin:. None have ever taken it out until they start nest building so I think they appreciate having something warm and cushiony until then.
Today is extremely cold, in the 30’s, and rainy so I’m glad they have that extra layer of protection.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Elmo, I use Pine Needles ( I Order them ) AND I'm Sure Glad I did ! My only Scout pair here right now, have chosen the # 1 spot, the upper left corner room in my # 1 ( most southern ) Trio House. I am so glad that I had prepared it with a sub floor & a nice amount of Pine Needles as a bed for them, and i covered the vent holes in the back & front doors & on the side wall. The past week +, I'll go outside around 6:10 pm & by 6:30 they circled the colony & then ZIP right in for the night. Again, I'm so happy knowing that they have a bed to sleep on in the past cold nights, instead of a cold metal floor. Best of luck, Anthony :grin:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Elmo, I have used both pine needles and oak leaves & twigs. Pine needles work fine, but I have to drive out to Bastrop to scavenge the needles. :grin:

The folks above have given you good advice. Oak leaves and twigs are the nest materials of choice for the local martins, and all I have to do is just rake them up from the backyard. Both will work for you though.

All the best,
BW
2009-2013 a few visitors.
2014: 1 pair of SY love birds, 5 fledges; 2015: 7 pair, 34 Fldg; 2016: 12p/54F; 2017: 14p/71F;
2018: 24p/103F; 2019: 29p/130F; 2020: 38p/190F
Elmo
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:40 am
Location: TX/San Antonio

Thanks to all for the input. As a starter I have ordered some pine needles, and I will see how that is received..As of now I haven’t seen any Martins, maybe a couple of scouts once but I’m not sure.
Beach42
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:38 pm
Location: Galveston, Texas

Hello Everyone,
I put in cedar shavings in first and shred some queen palm leaves and I spread them out over the ground underneath the houses and the Martians will fly down and pick them up to build their nest. No need to buy stuff that you already have. It's neat to see!! Good Luck!!
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