Archive for the ‘www.purplemartins-r-us.com’ Category

Motivation to Clean Those Purple Martin Houses

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

OK, I know how it is. After the first few years, after your martins leave, you kinda loose the excitement of cleaning out those dirty gourds and house compartments. I guess it is one of the less glamorous aspects of playing landlord to a couple hundred or so odd birds every year. Even though I know better, I find myself again putting off the dirty task. Heck, my birds will be headed back in only a couple of months! What is the big deal, you ask. I know for a fact that there are plenty of folk, good and decent folk, that don’t touch their purple martin houses or gourds from one year to the next. You may be one of those people. You watch from the sidelines and enjoy the view in the spring and come fall you walk away. Nothing wrong with that…unless you want to be taken over!!! Here is my lesson learned from last summer and the reason why I WILL finally get to my gourds this week. I promise!  The bees simply loved the gourds and made quite a nice hive. The paper wasps like to make a home in there also. The solution is simple. After cleaning out the gourds I just cover each gourd with a tall kitchen garbage bag and they sit clean and protected from all sorts of non-purple martin wildlife. You can take all the houses down if you have the garage space or you can plug the entrances with door shields or plugs. Beware, if you use door plugs, look for air vents that you may also have to plug that are large enough to let in creepy crawlies or stinging friends. And if I don’t…well, I deserve what I get!

Where To Not Place A Purple Martin House

Friday, June 28th, 2013

There are plenty of places to buy a purple Martin house. Now, with the explosion of the virtual world, one can decide to get a martin house and be shopping within minutes.
Unfortunately, most places that will sell you a Martin house have really no idea where they should be placed. Even buying a purple martin house in person won’t guarantee that the sales person knows anything about them. Thankfully we are not one of those places! We always have a Martin specialist ready to answer our customers questions.
Recently, while touring a nature preserve, we came upon several purple Martin houses. Terribly placed, I brought the bad placement of the houses to their attention and was told that the trees had encroached over several years. Also I was told they were aware of the poor placement and that they used the houses as an educational tool. That didn’t really make much sense to me, as the best tool would be a house full of martins. I doubt the houses are used as a, “Here is what you shouldn’t do…”
For those that have questions on where to place a Martin house, check out our articles at PurpleMartins-R-Us.com for full details. In a nut shell, a minimum of 40 feet from any trees is needed. I further instruct people that depending on the height of the tree, if you have (for example) a 60 foot tree, the housing should be at least that far from the said tree.

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Mockingbirds Make Five

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

As I was walking around the far end of our property, I happened across a small neat nest in a Cocoplum bush. The bush has grown quite tall and wild and is home to an occasional rabbit or two. The mockingbirds either didn’t notice me wander so close to their nest or they didn’t care. I have had mockers nest right outside our. Front door and it seems they have come to know me. They pretty much ignore me and go about their business knowing I will do them no harm. It’s a wonderful feeling to be trusted in that way by a wild animal. The nest only has 2 eggs so I am sure it is not a complete clutch. Perhaps in a couple of days I will see her starting to incubate.
These mockers are now the fifth species of bird to nest this year in our yard. First was our Screech Owls, then our Purple Martins returned (of course), then a Red-Bellied Woodpecker took up residence right outside our window, then a pair of Greater Crested Flycatchers took up house in the (now vacant) Screech Owl box.
Our yard has become quite the haven of late for all sorts of wildlife. The vanishing waterfall is a favorite of the mockers, doves and a multitude of Common Grackles for a drink and bathing. The sunflower feeder feeds the woodpeckers, cardinals, bluejays, grackles and occasional Red-Winged Blackbirds.

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A Beautiful Day

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

20130414-194108.jpgThough the day was a bit windy, it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day. My heart goes out to the landlords up North who are dealing with unprecedented Spring snow storms. The damage to property has been devastating in some parts of the country but thinking about the poor martins arriving home to be greeted by cold snow is so sad.
I will be doing a nest check soon and I have seen most nests being faithfully guarded in the morning hours by male martins. I am wondering if a few eggs are already present.

SubAdults Arrive and Fighting Begins!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Nothing more frustrating as a purple martin landlord than seeing your beloved birds breaking out in heated battle. I am sure (from past experiences) that it will get worse, but nevertheless, watching your kids beating each others heads in is hard to watch. I have long since given up caring what the neighbors think, but 5 minutes into yelling up at the MPP pole for the martins to, “QUIT IT!!!”, I did notice the ridiculousness of it all. The martins ignored me and untill I lowered the pole, the SY male wouldn’t stop trying to enter the Sunset Inn house. Once lowered, the ASY male and female sat in the compartment quietly. I opened the room and reached in to remove the ASY male (to check for any lasting injury. The female just sat and didn’t move a feather. She stayed the whole time. I released the male, raised the housing and all was well…for a few minutes anyway.

On another note, we have gotten a few new items at our store, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. These cool Purple Martin metal Silhouettes are both functional and decorative. I can’t decide if I want to attach some to the top of my Aluminum house or up on top of my kitchen cabinets.

 

(C) 2013 PurpleMartinArt

2013 Season Has Begun!

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Arriving one day later than they did in 2012, our purple martin season has begun. Today’s count was 8 birds, both ASY males and females. The one purple martin female, that had been returning every year to the same gourd seems to be absent. For the last 3 or 4 years a beautiful ASY female would arrive first and claim the same gourd. For some reason I doubt she decided to use another gourd. One the upside, I am glad she spent several productive seasons here at our colony.

There are several new items that will be making their way to our retail website, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com , so keep your eyes open for a NEW spiral gourd rack, newly designed owl/hawk guards for Trio /Erva purple Martin houses, and more. We also have made all purple martin housing ship FREE.

Purple Martin Colony Loss: Getting Your Martins Back

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Here is a question I received concerning what to do when a colony is lost due to predation.

Q:

Dear PurpleMartins-R-Us:
My 92-year old grandfather has two purple martin houses (a 24-compartment house and a 12-compartment house). Unfortunately, after about 10 years of successfully colonizing, snakes climbed the poles about five years ago and that was, of course, the end of the purple martins. He misses them dearly and is highly motivated to resume his landlord duties should the martins come home.
My question is, how do we bring the martins back? He continues to clean the houses and raise them in time for their migrations, but to no avail. Do we need to replace the houses? Do we need to move the houses?
We appreciate any advice you can offer and thank you for your time!

A:

Basically he has to start from scratch. Use tools like dawnsong CD’s to attract them in to the site and decoys, prevent any further predation from snakes and he should be able to attract new martins from his surrounding area. Unfortunately, The martins that lived in his houses, that lost babies due to the snakes, will never return. Moving or changing the houses should not be necessary.

This question highlights the need to vigilance when it comes to protecting your colony from predation. Predator Guards, Snake netting and nest checks are tools that can keep your martin colony healthy and thriving.

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Purple Martin Scouts

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Among one of the most dearly held false hoods regarding purple martins, is the one of the infamous “scouts”. Long to be believed as birds sent ahead to gather intelligence, that then return to tell their flock to start migration back North, scouts are really just the first returning birds. Scouts is still the term we use, for these first arrivers and they are always ASY (After Second Year) birds who are more experienced and familiar with the instinctual urge to fly back North to nest. The PMCA (Purple Martin Conservation Association) has the best online tracking tool for landlords that scout reportwant to know how far purple martins are from them. One can see this scout  map at http://www.purplemartin.org/scoutreport/ Another option is to Follow us  on TWITTER. We tweet all kinds of martin related info, pictures from our colony and more. You can also LIKE us on Facebook. Just look for PurpleMartins-R-Us and click “Like”.

Our colony has tons of eggs at a nest check yesterday and even 1 nest with 5 babies. They ranged in age from 3 days old to 1 day old and seem fat and healthy. I am sure these early nests will do well as the weather has been mild and even weekly rain. Though we aren’t getting as much rain as we should, we are not as dry as last year when we had big losses from a drought.

A quick note about our BirdCam. It is up. We do not, at this time, have sound and the nest cams are turned off, so that birds can nest. But it is the best we can do. Webcams are not our forte and this cam has been a huge expense for us. Not knowing what we are doing, we sought the help of PalmBeachGeek to get the one we have online. There is a limit to the number of people that can be watching the cams at any one time, so if it doesn’t work, keep trying. Also if it doesn’t work for you, send us a quick email letting us know what your problem is, what internet explorer you are using (Firefox, Internet Explorer,Chrome) and we will try to improve things as we work out the kinks.

NWF Certifies PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The National Wildlife Federation just recently certified our property as a wildlife habitat. It is well know how the NWF helps protect wildlife by being America’s largest conservation organization. The National Wildlife Federation works with more than 4 million members, partners and supporters in communities across the country to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. By certifying our site we have shown our continued effort to provide food,water, cover and places for wildlife to raise young, not only for purple martins but many other animals that call our yard home.

Our property, at almost 1.4 acres is not only home to our 45 some odd pairs of purple martins, but a family of screech owls and wild rabbits. Not to mention the assortment of birds that visit our bird feeders and water fountain.

And speaking of purple martins, no nest building of yet, but I expect that to begin anytime. Almost all compartments are taken except by either ASY pairs or singles. The only compartments that have not been taken are a few compartments in the aluminum houses and the shepherds hook gourds. The shepherds hook gourds are simply a few gourds that I hang up on plain old 5 foot shepherds hooks and every year they get taken also. No SY birds have been seen yet, in any State, but they aren’t too far behind.