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Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:16 am
Location: Branson MO

can anyone give me a quick, simple answer? A hawk has been bothering my martins for 3 days. Never had this problem before. Should I skip my nest check today, to keep from bothering them any more? Thank you.
After 3 years, I gave up and put two gourds out, hoping to get other birds to nest. I did. Had one pair of tree swallows and ONE pair of purple martins. The PM had 4 hatchlings. One died in the nest and one was found on the ground two days running and died that night. Two flew successfully.
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: OH/New Concord

dont stop nest checks you have to be aware of whats happening in the nests all the time. As far as the hawks
my wife and i are in our 70's and constantly watch out for hawks a couple times a day to shout at them and scare them. We shout blank shells at them just to scare them off. Its a pity they are protected just like the pms but you cant hurt a hawk even though it kills me not to when they are killing my babies. You also have to watch out for floater sub males that kill the babies worse thann hawks
2015 69 pairs 418 eggs 396 fledged
2019 I have 148 openings now
2016 100 pairs 600 babies fledged added another t-14 and have 126 openings now
2015 Jun 24 360 babies and 58 eggs also found one that had died
2017 632 babies 11died and 20 were killed by hawks
2015 74 pairs and 9 eggs 5/14
2010 3pairss
2018 651 babies 5 hawk kills 11 floater kills 25 died in houses and 610 fledged

2014 80 pairs 283 babies 282 fledged one died
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

pmlover - All wildlife must eat. Don't get heartbroken over a hawk feeding its young. That's how it is in wildlife survival. Our martins and our hawks have much greater problems concerning their welfare - habitat loss. Give all wildlife species (except house sparrows and starlings) the space to do their thing.

Think of all the martins you have provided for over the years that may not have a place to nest. Martin landlords do a wonderful service for this species that far outweighs what we lose to natural predation.

The lion lies down with the lamb - only in the Bible.

Conrad Baker
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

I have never used one, but I have read about PM landlords using decoys on their housing. The Hawk attacking the decoy gives the PM a chance to get away. Not sure if it works, or how many times a Hawk will be fooled by it, but it could be worth a try. Maybe someone who has used a decoy successfully will respond.
Posts: 1118
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
PMCA member

Quick answer, don't stop nest checks. your presence is a good defense. nest checks a must...if the martins are up and away they will be more alert and probably spot the hawk before it happens.

Use dove decoys, but move them around. put them up in the hawks line of attack...they learn fast so gotta keep them mobile. Got mine from Academy.

Get a yard stick with streamers attached, something colorful. wave it around as a distraction when martins are most vulnerable to an attack (when the leave and return for the night). just be out there for them. Martins will adjust to you, hawk less so.

best of luck, its tough lost a few this year.
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Firstly, a hawk may use any distraction opportunity to attack your colony. A nest check is a distraction for the Martins. Period.

Secondly, nest checks are not a must, regardless of what you read on this forum. They are a tool that can be used to gain knowledge. Unless you have blow fly parasites or mites and use nest changes to help eliminate them, or once in a blue moon find an encapsulated egg, in time to save it, then nest checks offer NO biological benefits to the Martins.

So, don’t feel pressured to do nest checks unless you want to. I use to do them colony wide, but now only spot check as needed. Hosting Martins doesn’t have to be a job.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
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