How Often Can I Lower the House

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I believe I have a pair of PMs staying in my Trio Granpa. This is the first year to have it up. I have trapped several sparrows using the trap door that is made for this particular house. I useually get home from work around 5 and set the trap. Around 6 I useually have a sparrow caught so I lower the house. Sometimes when I start to lower the house a PM or 2 take off. I set the trap again and repeat the process. Can I do this too often? I'm in the process of building a repeating sparrow trap but it won't be located next to the martin house.
Matt F.
Posts: 3922
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Congrats on your pair!

As for lowering the house, the time of day is the most important factor.

Midday (around 11 AM to 2 PM), is always best, as they are out feeding.

Lowering the house in the late afternoon or evening (and of course at night), once they've returned to roost, is very risky, and stressful on them.
The worst thing is to have your martins flushed from the housing, and have to spend the night outside, unprotected.
At newer colonies, early in the season before nesting begins , there may even be a risk of them abandoning that site completely if this happens.
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

I lower mine just about every day but i try and watch to see if any heads are sticking out, if so i wait till i'm pretty sure they are off forgaging for food then i lower it...usually about 4 pm ...also B-4 i start to lower either my House or Gourd rack i usually give a few light taps on the pole to let any martins that are still in the cavaties have a chance to fly off B-4 i lower any of the housing. I think if you do anything around 4-5pm you will be okey and the Martins will return even if you have scared them off.
Good Luck this Martin Season!!!!
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,

Posts: 196
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:52 pm
Location: TX/Rockwall

I do just what K.C does. Around 5:30 I get home and during these warmer days in North Texas the birds are still scarce. I tap the pole and do a quick check or sparrow evacuation. If the birds are around I just leave it up.
RC Moser
Posts: 1537
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:25 am

IMO anytime hour after sun up and hour before sun down. But, I also try to do it when they aren't in the area up to setting or birth time. The more you got the less opportune time you will have to lower the house IMO.

Most time I try to not bother them and other times a problem occurs and I have no choice to lower, they don't like it, but they settle down quickly.

I also look the neighborhood over for hawks (IMO they will use this to gain a edge) and never lower it at dusk, sundown, and NEVER at night. I am also very careful when mowing around the poles, I use the weedeater to within a foot. One slip of the ZTR handle could be disaster!

I have had no problem raising or lowering the house several times a day. When I use my sparrow trap.. its probably about 3x a day. I try not to early in the morning , afternoon is best if eggs are being laid or incubated. I too usually tap lightly on the pole and give them the heads up.
Posts: 291
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 11:40 am

Last edited by rdhd on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:47 am
Location: Sugar Land, Texas

Since I do not use any of the rooms in my PM housing to trap sparrows or starlings,
I try to do my nest check when I get home from work in the evenings around five
or six in the evenings. I do this every five days.

This does not seem to bother them that much. They go about their business after
The housing is back up.

I have six rooms mounted to each pole. This helps speed things up during nest changes.
As of right now I have twelve rooms and I?m thinking of making a total of thirty six
rooms at my sight. I will have twelve rooms per pole for I don?t have room for six poles.

These pictures are from my first nest check this season and this was done last
Saturday (04/15/06) 3:00pm.
Last edited by BumBee on Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:47 am
Location: Sugar Land, Texas

Here is another female PM in room 3 that stayed in the room during
this nest check. She did leave the room even after I raised the houses
back up.

I found that I can look at the pictures I take on each room longer than
trying to look at the progress of each nest at nests check.
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