And So Purple Martin Season Begins!

January 13th, 2014

2014 beginsYesterday was the official start to our purple Martin season for 2014. The first purple Martin for the season was reported in Jupiter on December 30th but January 12 was our lucky day. Today I count 3 ASY males and 1 female going in and out of gourds and the males are singing happily on the rack. I find this semi out of character as they usually are very quiet the first week or so. I almost wonder if they have been here but perhaps I did not notice them. It is possible since we have been über busy here at PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. Our annual price changes, new products, and after Christmas rush has been keeping things busy.
One of our new to us products is the entire line of CUENT (Creative Universe) gourd racks including the K series 24 racks and the Gemini racks. Also new is Free Shipping on ALL martin houses, gourds, and gourd racks.

 

How Australia Deals With Invasive Birds!

January 6th, 2014

Wow, there is no denying it. Approve or disapprove, Melbourne Australia has a “No-Holds Barred”  approach to dealing with invasive/pest birds. This Pigeon Dummy Egg Nest works by encouraging the birds to lay eggs in the structure. Then at night, when the pigeons are asleep a worker access the nests to replace fertilized eggs with dummy eggs. The real eggs are promptly made into omelets.

It is reported that there is a similar program in New York City, but I wasn’t able to find a pic of that one.

In purple martin news, as of Dec 30, 2013, purple martins have arrived in Florida!

Good Bye Excluder Gourds?

November 15th, 2013

As of November 2013, the well known Excluder Gourds are not being sold on our site. by anyone other than the PMCA. Though Excluder Gourds have been around a while, we have noticed a decline in sales as the more popular Troyer Gourds, have surpassed Excluders in sales.
Excluder Gourds were popular due to their realistic appearance, having been molded from an actual gourd. Aesthetically pleasing, Excluders have been around for some time and features like ribbed porches (inside and out) , SREH, one piece blow molded plastic, and heavy duty access ports, made them functional too.
However, Excluders seemed to have gotten caught in a kind of product hibernation.
Troyer Gourds, on the other hand, have made innovations that have kept them on the cutting edge. Just recently, Troyer Gourds have revamped their SREH to include built in wing entrapment guards, redesigned access port covers, and the addition of Troyer Vertical Gourds to their line up.
Are Excluder Gourds good gourds? Yes, they are.
Are Excluder Gourds the best gourds?
No, I don’t believe they are.
Lucky for you, there are other choices.

Motivation to Clean Those Purple Martin Houses

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!

Service Dog Fraud: Quest for the Vest | anewscafe.com

August 26th, 2013

A word about service dogs: you probably don’t have one. Want to drive me crazy? Just ask,

via Service Dog Fraud – Quest for the Vest | anewscafe.com.

Had to share thi, as fake service dogs are quickly getting up there on my pet peeves list. Right behind feeding starlings and sparrows, cats outdoors and now this.

Where To Not Place A Purple Martin House

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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Purple Martin Orphans Take Flight

June 21st, 2013

At 26 days old and hitting about 47 grams, a trio of purple Martin orphans were released.
The hawk attacks have subsided and I even saw the much missed red shouldered hawk a few days ago. I hope that signals that the Cooper’s hawk has left the area. Enough damage was done this season by the Coopers who was hitting our colony upwards of 4-6 times a day. I was witnessing him taking ASY and fledglings alike from trees and directly from the housing.
Oh well…these 3 young martins got a full belly of live crickets and a dose of avian vitamins before taking to the air. I am proud to day they looked much better than when I found them on the ground after having jumped out of hunger & desperation. They were very much under weight and thankfully were able to recover. One nest mate who jumped 1 day after these 3 was unfortunately never able to gain enough weight and did not survive. Remember that taking a Martin fledgling to a wildlife rehabilitator should always be your first choice. If you need more info on what to do if you find a grounded purple, go to PurpleMartins-R-Us.com/Emergencies

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Perfect Storm

June 10th, 2013

Over a week of terrible weather due to the first named tropical system of hurricane season and a greedy Coopers Hawk has taken its toll on our colony. The hawk was coming several times a day. I witnessed him grabbing the sides of the houses and gourds and shaking them violently in order to try and flush out martins. He got 3 birds in one day that I witnessed. Of course, it could have been more than one Coopers…maybe a family of them for all I know. What I know for sure is that the large numbers of recently fledged martins are no longer being brought home at night and our numbers have plummeted drastically. There are about 4 nests being fed and night time is a much quieter affair. It is hard to say if the hawk has stopped coming by as often because there are less birds or there are less birds due to the hawk. I won’t take any credit in scaring the hawk off with our Scarecrow…but you never know.

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Mockingbirds Make Five

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

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.