Posts Tagged ‘purple martin gourds’

Good Bye Excluder Gourds?

Friday, 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

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!

Starlings and Fledgelings and Jumpers, OH MY!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

So much news and I have really been negligent on the blog. My apologies but between helping customers of, 2 kids, a busy colony and a landscape project…I have been swamped!

Bad news is the BirdCam has turned out to be a huge disappointment this year. I invested more money and hired a “computer geek” who, in MY opinion, swindled me out of my money. I was very specific with what I wanted my streaming camera to be and instead ended up with what he felt was good enough. But enough said about that…

My landscaping project turned out pretty well. Nothing huge. Just redoing the front of the house which had become a snake haven. I moved 3 cubic yards of large egg rock (that’s about 3 tons worth) over the course of a week and achieved my goal of having the front be presentable. Many thanks to Lawrence over at who gave me some tips and ideas for the fountain. It is a disappearing fountain that recycles water as it flows down a stepped “mini river” of sorts. Though his is much more natural looking and longer, mine was created with basically stuff I already had laying around. A preformed pond liner, pond pump and hardware cloth. I only added the spitter from Lowes and the preformed stepped river portion was on CLEARANCE for $14! My husband admits it came out better than he thought it would. Of course, he is used to my projects…some of which turn out badly.

The purple martins are fledging all over the place. I think there are more youngsters flying about today than babies in nests. 2 skinny jumpers were found on the ground from a nest that I am sure the parents abandoned. Perhaps an Owl or Hawk got them. But I placed them in a low hanging gourd with youngsters in it. I could not lower the rack as so many nests were over 20 days old. For those that do not know, once nests are over 20 days old, babies can jump out during nest checks from fright. The PMCA recommends that you block off entrances to those nests that are over 2o days old…some say 22 days old by attaching a rag to a string then pulling out the rag once the housing is back up for a few minutes. Just wait 2 or 3 minutes for them to settle down and then pull the rag out. But since so most of my nest were over 20-24 days old, it just wasn’t possible. So I saw them begging and no one feeding them and watched helplessly until they jumped and gave them some Gatorade before sticking them in the new gourds. Remember, you can read about common purple martin emergencies and what to do at our store site

Starlings took up residence in a flicker box located way to close to my house for the woodpeckers to be interested. But a pair of starlings did. Since no one else wanted the nest box, I let them nest and waited until they were incubating to catch them. I learned something very interesting about them. Once they decided to nest, I was hard pressed to see them both at the same time. They were very quiet, almost as if they knew that I was on to them. I did get a great pic of a starling nest. Very different from a martin nest. Of course, I could have pierced the eggs with a small sharp pin, addled (shook them VIGOROUSLY), or coated them with a thin coat of mineral oil, and let momma starling waste half a season.

Purple Martins Make Martha, It’s a GREAT Thing!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010


An article that appeared a few weeks ago in the New York Times home section captured the eye of the Martha Stewart production team who brought it to the attention of Martha Stewart herself. A fellow martin landlord, Larry Melcher was able to be on her show and did a great job as an ambassador for Purple Martins. At Martha Stewart’s website, you will find athe actual video that aired on her show and also an easy to follow “how to” guide for making natural purple martin gourds.

Just remember. If you want to attract purple martins, one gourd will not be enough. Be prepared to make at least 4 and use a face¬†mask as the fine dust created by cutting gourds is very irritating to the lungs. Also remember that you cannot successfully attract martins by hanging one of these from a tree. It must be hung in an open area at least 10 feet or more, off the ground. If you don’t have a pole to hang the gourds from a pole like this one is perfect for hanging a few gourds. Easy to raise and lower and a top perch to boot.

Check out Martha Stewart’s website and enjoy!

Storing My Purple Martin Gourds is EZ!

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

If you don’t want to call it “storing” I won’t blame you. The gourds didn’t get taken down and hopefully my little experiment in laziness will pay off.

What have I actually done? Well, the gourds were emptied, cleaned out with water and sprayed down with a dilute bleach solution. Then after a good air dry I simply bagged them up in kitchen garbage bags. I will see how the plastic holds up after a few months of the hot South Florida sun beating down on them. Hopefully the purple martin gourds will be none the worse for wear.

purple martin gourds storedNow this is an experiment so I will see how it goes and barring any hurricanes (kinda late, so I doubt it) the martin housing should be fine to wait it out. Now I do plan on replacing one of my pulley ropes on my older gourd rack. I have noticed some stiffness and minor frizz but no real fraying yet, but better to change them before my martins arrive in January than to have a problem arise in mid season.

When my birds do arrive I should be able to simply remove the bags and fill the nests with pine needles and be good to go…or so I think. But we all know how plans can work out.

Any other procrastinators out there?

Troyer VERTICAL Gourds Have Arrived!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I told you about the new gourds by Andrew Troyer that were on the way. Brand new for 2010 the Troyer Vertical gourds are here. I am impressed by the design and I am very excited to show you the pics of these beauties.

troyer vertical gourd

troyer vertical gourd

13″ deep (just like a horizontal gourd) but has the aesthetic look of a “regular” gourd that many folks prefer. At around 8″ wide the interior compartment is generous in size and yet doesn’t look like a gourd on steroids as some other plastic gourds appear. It looks a lot smaller than it actually is, in fact. The weight is distributed evenly and the 4 molded canopies on the top of the gourd can be easily drilled out for added ventilation.

All in all a superior gourd that I am very happy to offer at

2010 Purple Martin Season ALMOST Here!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

We are entering the weeks where the first arriving purple martin sightings are made. Though only a few birds trickle in at first, these few birds serve the great purpose of getting us off our rear ends and away from all the holiday food and out in the back yard scrambling to ready our purple martin houses.

Like many landlords, I have a few plans swirling in my head. A new gourd rack has been sitting in my garage for about 10 months awaiting its christening. (A sprinkle of water as the concrete cures) New gourds sit waiting eagerly to fill up the racks and the brand new 2010 Troyer VERTICAL Gourds will be in stock before the new year and are available for preorder now. Though photos of this new gourd are not available yet, they will be up ASAP.

Troyer Vertical Gourds ?

Yes, you heard right! Andrew Troyer, the Amish gentleman who revolutionized plastic purple martin bird houses by making the T-14 (T is for Troyer) and gourds with the introduction of the Troyer Horizontal Gourd, is introducing a NEW gourd. The Troyer Vertical Gourd is brand new for 2010 and should be available within the next few weeks. It is so new that pictures are not available yet but as soon as they arrive I will be taking photos and posting them up on the website,

From what Mr.Troyer tells me they will feature a standard built in SREH tunnel to give the same protection of the deep 13 ” nesting area AND they will be able to be hung on standard vertical gourd arms.

It’s going to be a VERY Merry Christmas!