Year-end clean-out evolution

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G Saner
Posts: 163
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.

I have a satellite colony located about 5 miles away from my home. As you can guess, their are pluses and minuses to a satellite colony. The biggest minus is that you don't get to observe the martins as much as you would like but year-end clean-out is not as easy as doing it in your backyard either. Today I finished cleaning my gourds and they are ready for next year.

I like to keep the gourds at home in a storeroom over the winter to extend their life. My gourds are of different ages but the newest were purchased in 2000. In past years, I pulled the old nests out on site then brought them home and washed them. Bending over to spray out the gourds was getting harder as I age.

This year, I pulled the nests out and then put them back on the hanging arms so I could stand up and wash them. Big difference. The Assisted Living Center where I have my colony even had a water hose for me near the kitchen. I sprayed them, then gave them the once over with a sponge. The older I get, the more I relax my definition of a clean gourd. The outside no longer needs to be white-white. I guess since the outdoor faucet is used for cleaning trash cans and rubber floor mats from the kitchen, they have faucet handles for both hot and cold water. That's right, I rinsed off the gourds with HOT water from a water heater. That is a first for me.

I suppose at some point in the future, I won't be able to bring them home for the winter but this will work for now. Does anyone have any tips for year-end clean out that could help us older guys?

Gary

PS in addition to hot water, another plus to my satellite colony is that the center keeps the grass mowed under the gourds all year. I haven't touched a lawn mower in years. The biggest plus is the residents get to enjoy the martins.
G Saner
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1308
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

Gary,
Its funny you say that. Today I took the pole and last 6 gourds down for cleaning at our satellite site as well. Brought them all home because I like to grease and lube the pole before taking it back out there to put in the connex. Didnt have the hot water though, unless you count the hot water that sits under the texas sun in the hose. :grin:
I did the exact same thing, cleaning...may have some signs of last season left. Figured the lived in look will work just fine. Iv a bunch of natural gourds here at home, some of that iron like poop will just get painted white.

They too cut the grass and help me watch for snakes, its loads of fun going out there and talk martins with everyone and again, like you, sux because can't get out there every day and enjoy them. Glad the residents like the birds, bet some of them had martins.
I don't have any tips, maybe some advil before starting.
wait for it to be cooler, maybe you could do that?
around here its late Sept or Oct then iv got storms to worry about too.
Did find a green tree frog in a gourd today, love those frogs, let him go in the back. There were 2 under the predator guard last week.
Wish you all the best next season Gary.
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
G Saner
Posts: 163
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.

Thanks Tom. I should do the clean-out later in September but get the bug to get it over with. I could at least start earlier in the day because I can only fit 12 gourds in the trunk and must make 2 trips to get them home. I didn't finish until noon.

You are right about the residents having a prior connection to martins. Sometimes when they were growing up (their parents) and sometimes their spouse. Due to the virus, I haven't had as much contact with the residents as past years. Yesterday, one lady came out while I was cleaning and thanked me for the martins. Her husband was a landlord.

Gary

PS I was born at Spohn Hospital but don't remember it.
G Saner
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1308
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

What your doing there is very special to those folks, I know if I were looking through a window at martins I'd have lots of fond memories of them, I'm glad you get the chance to bring their loved ones closer. That sir, is the best medicine. Good for the soul.
No kidding about Spohn! Had to have been shoreline, its grown quite a bit now. Small world!
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1963
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 G Saner,
I'm getting a bit older too. I use a high preessure washer. For getting the old nests out and to avoid scraping your wrist from the access port holes, I suggest using a three prong gardening tool. It saves raw arms and wrists if you have many gourds to clean.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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