Our Lowes Satellite Martin Colony Destroyed

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Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

I guess it was a bad omen when someone knocked down one of our multi-purpose poles at Lowes in downtown Shreveport late in October 2007. Maybe we should have shut down that satellite martin colony right then.

Today March 15, 2008 sometime in broad daylight in dowtown Shreveport at Lowes, thieves wiped out our martin colony. They stole a Trio castle and a multi-purpose pole with two M-12s and four Super Gourds.

Bob had visited the site earlier in the morning and everything was OK. It appeared the colony was flourishing with over 50 martins in residence. He said martins were covering the houses and this site has nearly always had 100% occupancy levels in the past.

Then later that afternoon I got a phone message from our friends, Ursula and Al Scott who said all our martin houses were gone at Lowes. I advised Bob and he called Lowes and they said the houses were gone. Lowes really has little to do with the martin housing and does not monitor it all. Bob has maintained this colony for many years.

Bob went to Lowes this afternoon and he said it was horrible to watch screaming martins in the evening circling high overhead and then diving almost to the ground trying to find their nests. He said a cloud of martins swarmed in the sky and continued to make their hopeless dives to nothingness over and over and over again. Those poor martins had no homes to roost in. They probably continued to fly helplessly overhead in the night and finally dispersed somewhere to roost. He said it was so depressing he couldn't watch it anymore and left. He said it almost made him want to cry.

Bob talked with the store manager and he said he would check the security camera and see if the theft was recorded. The manager also said they did not remove the houses and no complaints had been made about the housing by the city.

We hope to file a police report and may try to check with various metal salvage businesses to perhaps find if the martin houses/poles were brought there for sale.

Right now there is a big problem with crooks stealing metal such as copper and aluminum in the Shreveport area. Possibly someone saw the nice aluminum houses and aluminum multi-purpose pole and decided to steal them. I doubt any martin hobbyist would do such a horrific thing.

This disaster has placed a dark cloud over our satellite martin colonies and now we fear others could be hit. We invested a lot of time and resources into these colonies and to have something like this happen in a busy downtown location is almost incomprehensible. Nothing is safe anymore.

We are not planning to replace any of the housing at Lowes. We hope to expand a more secure site near a police station which is about 3 miles from Lowes. Maybe all those martins will disperse here or to another one of our closeby satellite colonies.

We are not abandoning our goal to help martins through satellite colonies. We will have to be more careful with the selection of colony sites. But things will just never be the same again.

Todd Wright
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 12:16 pm
Location: Kilgore(Liberty City),Texas

That is unreal that someone would do such a thing, I hope that they have it on security camera. If you could find a silver lining in this case I would say at least this didn't happen a month from now and the houses be full of eggs or babies.
Todd Wright
RC Moser
Posts: 1537
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:25 am

Steve I an so sorry to hear that. that is just terrible! I also couldn't stand to watch that. IMO that's the problem Business just don't care enough to monitor something that there not selling. If lowes had any guts or integrity at all they would replace the housing pronto. But, they and others are only interested in the bottom line.
Scott D.- La
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:35 am
Location: Louisiana

That is unreal!! Probably did it for scrap. Surely, someone had to notice this. You are right, nothing is safe anymore and I hope you can burn the ones responsible. I worry here at my place and have motion sensors with alarms. Crying shame for sure!
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Steve & Bob,
Man, this is very, very Disturbing , i am so sorry that someone would stoop so low as to do this to your colony and i hope that whoever is responsible and did this gets caught and punished severely.
Did bob call and make out a Police report???
I am sooo Furious, i am going to make a few phone calls ,i have kinfolk on the Sheriff's Dept there in S'port and see if i can get any results or anything done to help maybe track down these people or person, steve , i have your email address, i will be getting back to you.
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,


The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

Steve and Bob,

I do not know what to say....I am just shocked!!!!! I feel so bad for you and those poor little martins. I know what you are talking about about them trying to find their home. Last week with the horrible storm we had our neighbors birdhouse was destroyed. It had many sparrows and starlings living in it, but also 3 martins. It was so terrible to see them in the evening come home to find nothing....They circled for 1 1/2 hours over and over trying to get into a house that was not there anymore. I finally had to close the blinds and walk away because I was so upset. We have 4 systems in our yard, and they could have easily come over for the night. But their loyalty to their home would not let them...this house was taken by Mother Nature and it was so unfair to the martins. Whoever took your housing should....well, I do not want to finish the sentence :evil:

People are so cruel nowadays; they have no respect for other people's properties or lives, and certainly no respect for any animal's live or well being.

Again, I am so very sorry for you and Bob, and those poor martins. I hope they find a place to stay and that the people responsible for this senseless crime will be found and tried with a maximum punishment.

If I can help in any way to replace the housing or get another site going, please let me know.

Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)
Donnie Hurdt MN
Posts: 1722
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:14 pm
Location: North Prairie, MN

Steve, it is a crying shame that the martin housing was stolen but what I cant understand that this was done in broad daylight and nobody noticed that this was going on in a busy parking lot? What an outrage! :x :x
I hope the security cameras do have somthing on them and those responsible are caught and severly punished.!!!
PMCA member and Martin fanatic....
2011 A pair of subbies fledged three young but none returned in 2012 :-(
2015 One Pair of subbies came and stayed a few nits but got chased away by Bluebirds and Tree swallows. :-(
2017 0ne pair of subbies nested and fledged 4 young
2018 Tree Swallows AGAIN chased away any martins that wanted to nest :evil:
2019 Same old story................ :-(
Posts: 876
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:37 am
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL

Darn this pisses me off :???: :evil: , Steve let us know if the manager finds anything on the DVR
"We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals." - Immanual Kant.

Posts: 675
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:08 pm
Location: Kentucky/Shepherdsville

Steve and Bob,
So sorry to hear this. I too, host public colonies. I'll bet your right... thieves. I just heard lately, that scrap metal of any kind that is not magnetic, is bringing some very high scrap prices.

Sad. Hope you get past this somehow, and figure a way to keep providing for martins.

If it was the scrap metal.... electric pole guards are looking more attractive..WINK !!
I manage 2 public sites, and one at home, for a total of 172 cavities. Board Member / Non Profit PMCA.
Find videos that I edit for the PMCA Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/PurpleMartinPMCA
Martin man RI
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:04 pm
Location: MA/RI area

Hi Steve
I would place something in the local newspaper someone must have seen
something plus its against the law to harm a migratory song birds nest.
If they did that to one of my sites they would pay dearly for the pain and suffering of those birds. And i would not rest till they were caught.
Gary W
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 7:29 am
Location: Florida/Pinellas Park

Hi Steve and Bob,

I am very saddened to hear about this! The worse predator on earth is the two-legged variety! I have a hunch if this was reported to the local newspaper, somebody there might do an editorial on the crime. It could cause public anger, which in turn could lead to the perpetrators' arrest and conviction.



I wonder if you notified the local tv news if they would do a small story on it. Maybe some saw it and would call in about it if they saw the story on the news.

Posts: 100
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: Louisiana/Belle Bower

I started that colony in the 1980's with an aluminum house I built on my newly purchased sheetmetal brake. The house was placed by the fence near the contractors door. Not far away was a recently planted oak sapling about three feet high. That tree is over 20 feet tall now. The house attracted martins immediately and achieved 100% occupancy the next nesting season.

Anyway, time marched on and there was a storm one year that damaged the store and blew down my house. I went to check on my house and it was gone. One of the employees confidentially informed me that the store manager had quit Lowe's and moved back to Tennessee, taking my birdhouse with him. He had always marveled at the number of martins that little eight room house attracted and I guess he felt that the house would be his ticket to success in attracting martins in Tennessee. Many people don't realize that it's not the house that attracts the martins but the location.

It was several years before I replaced that house. I think it was the early 2000's before I put up a modified Trio M-12 there. When Steve moved here I was able to upgrade the housing at the colony site with the extra resources he provided. He furnished two multi-purpose poles and I furnished the four Trio M-12s and supergourds. Occupancy at the site was close to 100% every year. As Steve stated, in 2007 one of the multi-purpose poles was knocked to the ground, destroying one of the M-12s. We decided not to replace that multi-purpose pole;instead Steve bought a new pole and winch assembly for a forty year old Trio castle I had. The castle was equipped with excluder entrances because we had trouble with starlings entering the crescents at this site last year. When I checked this morning the martins had accepted the excluders and the castle was approaching 100% occupancy. I think that the overall population at that site today was close to 25 pairs of very happy martins.

I can't imagine a purple martin enthusiast stealing three birdhouses and four supergourds when the martins are inhabiting them. The theft of the birdhouses was a very brazen act, considering that the perpetrators of this crime were at the crime scene several minutes, dismantling the housing erected beside the entrance to a very busy Lowe's parking lot. They first tried to dig up the multi-purpose pole but then I guess they finally realized the pole lifted off the ground stake. The castle pole was unbolted from its ground socket and removed. Because the thief/thieves came equipped with a shovel and hand tools makes me believe they had planned this crime in advance. This wasn't no spur of the moment heist.

It was very sad watching the martins dive at the location where their housing had stood earlier that day. With their pea-sized brains I doubt if they could comprehend what had happened to their homes. But they are resilient creatures and they will adapt, dispersing to other colonies in the area.

Not too far away is another one of our satellite colonies at the tank wash I operate out of. That colony is in an excellent location and is thriving, although not like the colony at Lowe's. I started that particular colony five years ago with a wooden T-14, but once again with Steve's help the housing has been upgraded there to two multi-purpose poles with four M-12s and eight supergourds, a Lone Star Alamo, and a Lone Star San Jacinto. That colony could be in peril, too, because the housing is easily accessible and the facility is closed at night and on weekends. Also, right down the road is a scrap metal facility. Thankfully, though, with all the theft of metals in the Shreveport area these junk yards are under more scrutiny and you must show an ID when you sell scrap at one of these places. I'm going to go to this facility Monday and make some inquiries. Maybe our houses might be there.

I began satellite colonies in this area more than twenty years ago and never had any problems with vandalism until three or four years ago. First it was kids at the truckstop damaging the aluminum houses with chunks of concrete. Then someone damaged the housing at the dump with rocks thrown from the railroad tracks. This year a kid was shooting the martins with a BB gun at the same dump colony. Now the Lowe's colony has disappeared. Maybe this is just a sign of the times--people are becoming more inconsiderate and lawless. What's the world coming to when you can't even put up a house for the purple martins? I don't even want to think about it.
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:51 pm
Location: Bush, Louisiana

Bob & Steve,
A story like yours is SO distressing. When I hear of things like this happening it makes me wonder what kind of a person would commit such a heinous act. If it was done as a prank, then they have a "sick" mind. If it was done for the money, then they need to be put in jail. Our society is becoming one where people look the other way because they don't want to get involved. If it isn't happening to them, they just don't care.

I know you must be worried about the other colonies that you have around town. I pray that the hateful people that did this awful thing will not strike again. Thank the good Lord that there weren't any eggs or babies yet or it could have been far, far worse.

I am so sorry that this happened to you and your colony.
"Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap, yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
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

Bob and Steve,
I deal with rescued dogs, helping to find them new homes after they have been dumped at shelters or on the streets for reasons you wouldn't believe. Some of the stories I have heard about the way people treat their pets sadly doesn't surprise me that these low lifes would uproot a colony of "birds" and steal their home for scrap metal. I wouldn't be surprised if people saw them and didn't even realize that something was taking place that shouldn't be. Others probably turned a blind eye. People have become so calloused anymore to wrongdoing OR they are afraid to take a stand for fear of being harmed themselves.
If the birds are back tomorrow looking for their home, get a news crew out there or video tape them yourselves so that someone can write a story and really play up the devastation these birds have suffered. Animal lovers HATE it when people torture or are cruel to those that are dependent on humans to stay alive. I'll bet you someone will come forward that saw something as long as they don't have to be identified publicly.
I am SO SO sorry this happened. You are good guys who have a passion to help our precious Martins. You spend endless amount of time and your own resources to make that happen. There just aren't words enough to describe people who would do something so evil. Well actually there probably are but I'm sure it would be censored.
Tim Mangan-Kansas
Posts: 1728
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:25 am
Location: Kansas, Pittsburg
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 22 Pair

Steve & Bob:

Not much left to say. I know this will put a damper on your whole season.

Happening in broad daylight, someone saw the perpetrators. Of my 32 years with Southwestern Bell, I spend 20+ of them in the security dept. Investigated many thefts of our copper wire. Scrap dealers do have to keep good records of anyone they purchase scrap metal from. When you file a police report, they should give you a head's up on what scrap dealers you might want to check first to possibly find your poles and houses. Of course, this is assuming that the theft was committed for the scrap metal value which unfortunately, might not be the case.

(I would find it hard to believe that not one employee of Lowe's did not see somthing going on around your pole.)

Licensed Bander
2015 - 14 Pair - fledged 68
2014 - Moved to Kansas - 7 Pair, 35 eggs, 28 fledged in first year
2010 Thru 2013 - Moved-Tried to start new colony
2009 - 46 pair, 217 eggs, 178 fledged
Glen Webb Jr
Posts: 478
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:03 pm
Location: Illinois/Stewardson

Possibly someone saw the nice aluminum houses and aluminum multi-purpose pole and decided to steal them. I doubt any martin hobbyist would do such a horrific thing.
No, I dont' believe a martin hobbyist would do that, but a lot of people who have martin housing (or want martin housing) are not dedicated landlords. They are greedy, inconsiderate people. I doubt they care if they have martins or not. Just want the housing for their yards. No decent martin landlord would ever do this.

I've always feared this myself. It doesn't help that my dad keeps saying this about my gourds every time I see him. My colony is at least 50-60 yards from his property basically on an empty (but maintained) country lot. It wouldn't take anything for someone to come up and take the gourds. They won't get away with the poles but hopefully this doesn't occur. I happen to think I the people in the area are decent people and wouldn't do this.
Many people don't realize that it's not the house that attracts the martins but the location.
You have no idea how many times I argue this with people. Especially anyone over 50. They know it all because their grandparents and uncles and blah blah blah had martins and they know what to do.
I began satellite colonies in this area more than twenty years ago and never had any problems with vandalism until three or four years ago. First it was kids at the truckstop damaging the aluminum houses with chunks of concrete. Then someone damaged the housing at the dump with rocks thrown from the railroad tracks. This year a kid was shooting the martins with a BB gun at the same dump colony. Now the Lowe's colony has disappeared. Maybe this is just a sign of the times--people are becoming more inconsiderate and lawless. What's the world coming to when you can't even put up a house for the purple martins? I don't even want to think about it.
I call this the dumbing of society. I've been saying this for years now and things like this just prove my claim. I work at a private school and the ignorance I see from kids and even the teachers and parents is shocking. We are getting dumber and dumber. Common sense and respect are quickly disappearing and people luck us on this forum are left scratching our heads wondering what is happening. Guess I can get off of my soap box now. But things like this infuriate me. Kids or no kids, have a little respect for the little creatures of our world. Take away the bbguns, cell phones, ipods, and MTV and maybe we can get smarter again.
Al Denton
Posts: 1468
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:31 pm
Location: Carolina Shores NC
Martin Colony History: New site and housing for 2018...Trendsetter 12. 1 pair of subs. Fledged 5...2019...11 pairs

Oh man...that almost makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. What a low-life to do something like that. So sorry Steve and Bob!
2018-new site...1 pair
2019-11 pairs
2020-15 pairs
John Miller
Posts: 4779
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Steve, Bob

Sent you a PM discussing if you want help contacting the local paper...we might think it out as to whether there's any value in it.

This sickens me. Read one thing recently that inspired me. A guy who was very active in a cause, which seemed to be uphill, said "You can't change the world, but don't let the world change you." I hold to that.

James Strickland FL
Posts: 2249
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 8:04 pm
Location: Reidsville NC
Martin Colony History: 2017 Had a lot visitors no Matins nesting, hoping 2018 will be different.
2018 Had 1 pair
2019 had 30 pair

:-( Another sad day! People in this world have become nothing but bad. I hope that they are caught and you guys take it to the full extent of the law. People will steal anything now days. Here in Fl they will steal the plants right out of your yard. Sorry to hear something like that.
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