Archive for the ‘sreh’ Category

New Deluxe Heath Gourd Review: Hero or Zero?

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Heath products have a history of offering purple martin items that are eerily similar to existing products. So, when we saw the new Heath Deluxe Purple Martin gourd, we were not surprised that it looked familiar. Heath also markets a hexagon shaped aluminum Purple Martin house that looks nearly identical to the trio castle made famous by the late J.L.Wade, made famous in the 1960′s by being the first manufacturer of mass produced purple martin houses.

The new Heath Deluxe gourd seems to tic off some of the requirements of what purple martins need at first glance but a deeper dive gives us important info that we thought we should pass on.

Item specs:

Opening: 3″W x 1.25″H SREH
Dimensions: 16″L x 9.5″W x 14″H
Mounting: may be hung
Construction: plastic
Brand: Heath Mfg
Item Number: HMC-PMG-2
Shipping Weight: 5 lbs

Reg:  $32.99

Your Price: $29.99

 

 

 

First, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the SREH crescent entrances are too large and WILL NOT keep out starlings!  SREH entrances are a finicky thing. Just a hair off, and you might as well not even have them. These crescent entrances though crescent in shape serve no purpose, similar to other Heath gourds that tout an SREH entrance, but do nothing to keep out starlings.

The access port in the back,  makes its intended purpose, virtually impossible. How are you supposed to do a nest check with the access port at the back of the gourd? Quality gourds have the access ports on the side so a simple tilt of your body will allow you to have a full view of the contents of your gourd. These will only work if you plan on removing the gourd from your rack every time you do a nest check.

The plastic is of unknown quality (made in China) and allows for lots of light and heat to enter the gourd. I am curious if the plastic has UV inhibitors (like a quality gourd does) to prevent the gradual break down of plastics that occurs when exposed to sunlight.

The supposed owl guards pop off easily in your hand and if any body has ever seen a greater horned owl in all of its (three pound) glory, will know that hey would rip them off in short order.

Not every thing is bad about these gourds. The depth is comparable to a Troyer vertical gourd, it has an outside AND inside porch, and the entrance height is correct. Also, the horizontal and vertical hanging/ventilation holes on the neck of the gourd make for convenient hanging options (if you are unable to drill a hole). Unfortunately for an item completely made and packaged in China, the 29.99 (on sale) price point is much higher than this item deserves. When you consider that the Troyer horizontal and vertical gourds sell for less, are better products, and are made in the states, it is hard to rationalize the added expense for a sub par product.

In short, since we cannot recommend this product, we will not be selling this product in our store. Our vote? ZERO…

DISCLAIMER:

We received NO compensation from ANY company for publishing this review.

Starlings Breaching SREH

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Most people know that Starling RESISTANT Entrance Holes (SREH) do NOT mean starling PROOF. Though uncommon, starlings have been known to occasionally breech SREH. Once a starling breeches an entrance, it is even more important to dispatch the invasive bird. The fear by most is that smaller starlings that can enter a SREH could possibly breed and create more smaller starlings, and over the course of some years with the help of natural selection, the benefits of SREH would be made obsolete. This would be as tragic and possibly as devestating for the modern day martin as bringing in these pest birds to North America in the first place.

Of course, some SREH are more restrictive that others and most breeches have been reported with the less restrictive entrances like a simple crescent or a Conley II entrance. The more restrictive, the less likely a starling can get past it. So a more restrictive SREH like an Excluder entrance would be much safer.

One well known fix for the problem of starlings getting in through a SREH, is raising the floor (or lowering the entrance) as many houses use SREH that are placed much to far up. The bottom of a Staring Resistant Entrance Hole should be flush or as close to flush as possible. The lower to the porch, the better.

photo copyright Bradley O'Toole

Sometimes, the entrances are placed low enough, it’s just that the starlings are smaller than usual. Take the very popular Troyer Gourds. People love them. They are our best selling gourd…deep, strong, lightweight, pretty awesome really. The entrances are as low as they can go. You can modify the gourd and swap out the entrance for a more restrictive opening, trap the offending bird, or you can try this fix reported by Bradley O. on FB. We would LOVE to hear if this works or not from others who are having a problem with starling breeches in their Troyer tunneled gourds. By looking at his picture, you can see that all he did was clip 2 small binder clips on either side of the Troyer Tunnel.

Bradley states, “The clips are 1-1/2 inches “wide” (when in the position in the pic). We have done this for a few years now with no issues with martins rejecting or being injured by them. Very rarely, they push the clip open. And yes, Susan…, please spread the word! Once the starlings check out the gourds, they seem to be discouraged and we don’t see many on the gourd rack.”

Copyright Bradley O'Toole

We hope you all try it and let us know if it works!

Wing Entrapment CAN Happen to You!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Once again wing entrapment has struck again. Every year (early in the season usually) I have to deal with martins that get stuck in SREH entrances. 2 ASY males, one stuck in the sreh and one within the nest. Unfortunately I was out all day visiting family, came home after dark and this AM this was what I found.

For those that don’t know, Wing Entrapment is when a purple martin becomes stuck in a SREH. It usually happens when 2 or more martins are fighting over a compartment (nest spot) of any gourd or house with SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Hole) As one bird tries to leave the nest and is trying to fend off attacks from within the nest from a rival or occupant, the bird gets stuck in the entrance. Basically gets stuck when he turns as he is trying to exit. If not discovered fairly quickly the birds in the nest can die as can the stuck bird. I have wondered if vented rooms vs non vented rooms have a better survival time but this nest was fairly well vented. But still the blocking off of the entrance must have happened early in the AM and as I was out all day, there they sat and died. Those that have reported deaths from entrapment usually say that they discovered it either the same day or within a day or two of the event.

It is important to note that this Sunset Inn house did NOT have wing entrapment guards on the inside of the crescent entrances. Also there have been reports of wind entrapment on the large Trendsetter houses that DO HAVE wing entrapment guards. I am not sure if the problem is the thickness of the guard, as the Trendsetter entrapment guard is not the thickest I have seen There is no standard thickness for a guard also and it is hard to just say that thicker may be better, because we are not real sure if at some point, the thickness would hamper their entry and exit into the compartment or cause some kind of situation with young birds crowding at the entrance waiting to be fed.

You can read about wing entrapment in previous blog posts as well as on our parent website, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. Is wing entrapment a reason to not use SREH? Absolutely not. Wing entrapment remains much less common than the threat of Starlings in an unprotected colony. Of course, you have to weigh the pros and cons in your colony along with your sites individual risk factors for both problems.