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#490482 - 05/22/18 09:15 PM Purple Martins / Swallows bird house
mtneer99 Offline


Registered: 02/14/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Southerland VA
anyone having luck with those birds in their ponds?

I remember talking to someone in the past few years, that said they're on a major decline, and he had not seen any in his bird houses in years.

Just wondered if it's worth it or not?
good flying insect catchers, I guess swallows use them also?

years ago I always enjoyed watching them while fishing, but I haven't seen them much lately

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#490488 - 05/22/18 10:38 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
DrWizz Offline


Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Eastern Iowa
I have tried for several years to attract purple martins to my pond. I have a 16 compartment house near my pond and have observed martins around it several times, but they have not established a colony. My biggest problem has been the tree swallows nesting in the house. The tree swallows are very territorial. Once one pair of tree swallows gets into the multi-compartment house, they will not allow other swallows or any martins to establish themselves in any of the other compartments in the house. I have numerous blue bird houses up around the farm and have noticed that the tree swallows will nest in those boxes. This year I set up a blue bird house about 30 yards from my martin house. The tree swallows have nested in the blue bird house. So far they have kept other tree swallows from nesting in the martin house. Last weekend we had a pair of martins looking over the martin house and it did not look like the tree swallows were going to chase them off. Have my fingers crossed that the martins will decide to stay.

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#490963 - 05/30/18 01:10 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: DrWizz]
mtneer99 Offline


Registered: 02/14/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Southerland VA
thanks DrWizz for the info

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#490975 - 05/30/18 03:18 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
Vortex 4 Offline


Registered: 11/28/16
Posts: 59
Loc: Texas
I have heard they eat dragonflies. Dragonflies are my first line of defense again noxious flying insects including mosquitoes so I prefer to promote them.
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3+ acre pond 32 ft deep within East Texas (Livingston) timber ranch. Filled (to the top of an almost finished dam) by Hurricane Harvey 9/17. Stocked with FHM, CNBG, RES 10/17. Added 35lbs RSC 3/18. 400 N LMB fingerlings 6/18

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#490981 - 05/30/18 04:19 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
highflyer Offline


Registered: 07/09/11
Posts: 1843
Loc: East Texas
My Martin houses are at 15 feet in the air and I have martins every year.
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#491659 - 06/11/18 09:59 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1912
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Martin presence is related to the quantity of large insects in the area. A lot of farm land nearby spraying pesticides? Not a lot of food for Martins, and they move on.

Tree swallows are almost as good as martins, you just don't get them in the same quantities to make a dent in insect populations. They are pretty and really cute saucy birds. We do have a lot of chimney swifts in the area, and they mostly feed in the evening, but wow, they clean house.

Our bats are definitely on the decline, which is pretty sad.

I keep trying to find the time to put up a purple martin house, but I keep putting it off. Only so much time in a day.
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#491661 - 06/11/18 10:55 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
DrWizz Offline


Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Eastern Iowa
Highflyer, are your martin houses made out of gourds? I have heard that some people have better luck with that style of house compared to the traditional multi compartment house that I have up. I don't think I will get any martins this year, but I do think I have the tree swallow problem figured out.

My wife and I were out at the pond last weekend and in one evening we saw tree swallows, barn swallows, cliff swallows, chimney swifts and some sort of bat. Even with all of that activity, there were plenty of mosquitos to keep us busy swatting.

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#491666 - 06/12/18 07:25 AM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2290
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Anyone know what type of bird dives to the ponds surface and looks like he scoops up what looks to be a drink of water as he skims the waters surface. I know it must be getting some type of bug that is on the water surface but it happens so fast I can't tell if its water or a bug. I may have as many as 10 of them flying the pond every evening. I am thinking some type of swallow.


Edited by TGW1 (06/12/18 07:25 AM)
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Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
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#491674 - 06/12/18 09:37 AM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
Brettski Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6873
Loc: Illinois
Tree swallows are the water surface skimmers/acrobats.
-
Tree swallows are often confused for PM's. They tricked me for a few months, too. They are much more welcome than the junk birds; house sparrows, starlings, grackles.
We will put 2 blue bird houses fairly close together; maybe 75 feet apart. Tree swallows will typically establish one house pretty quickly, then defend and ward off all other tree swallows. Then the blue birds will establish at the other house. The tree swallows in the first house won't care about BB neighbors, and will help keep other birds away from both houses.
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#491679 - 06/12/18 10:17 AM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
JKS3613 Offline


Registered: 02/12/15
Posts: 20
Loc: LA, USA
Purple Martins also skim the water like that in order to drink. It always amazes me that they can do that at such speed without occasionally augering in!

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#491697 - 06/12/18 01:10 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 963
Loc: Deep East Texas
Tracy, your not seeing bats are you? I actually built and put up bat houses because they eat thousands of mosquitos. I too like dragonflies because they eat many mosquitos. Unfortunatly purple martins like to eat dragonflies and not so much mosqiits. Purple martins around here usually fly a lot higher than our mosquito population which tend to be down near the water. So bats and dragonflies get my vote!!
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#491701 - 06/12/18 02:12 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4076
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Bats are great, but don't expect meaningful mosquito control.

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#491743 - 06/13/18 07:11 AM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: mtneer99]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2290
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Flame, that's funny! Even with me getting close to retirement age, my eyesight is still 20/20 and can tell the difference between birds and bats lol. After this posting I googled Purple Martin and Tree swallow photos. I am pretty sure they are Tree Swallows because of photos and because of the habitat they are around (like ponds). I may also have a few Purple Martins, the ones with the light colored breast and not the darker colored Eastern Purple Martins. Thanks Brettski for your suggestions on the type of birds that skim the waters surface. I also see them chasing Dragonfly in the air over the pond. And JKS3613, they do skim the water without taking a big splash from grabbing to big of a water scoop at one time. I enjoy watching them chasing dragonfly and scooping up a drink
_________________________
Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
Outlawing guns will make a lot of us down here in the South
Outlaws and proud of it

Tracy

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#491781 - 06/13/18 12:22 PM Re: Purple Martins / Swallows bird house [Re: DrWizz]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1873
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
Originally Posted By: DrWizz
I have tried for several years to attract purple martins to my pond. I have a 16 compartment house near my pond and have observed martins around it several times, but they have not established a colony. My biggest problem has been the tree swallows nesting in the house. The tree swallows are very territorial. Once one pair of tree swallows gets into the multi-compartment house, they will not allow other swallows or any martins to establish themselves in any of the other compartments in the house. I have numerous blue bird houses up around the farm and have noticed that the tree swallows will nest in those boxes. This year I set up a blue bird house about 30 yards from my martin house. The tree swallows have nested in the blue bird house. So far they have kept other tree swallows from nesting in the martin house. Last weekend we had a pair of martins looking over the martin house and it did not look like the tree swallows were going to chase them off. Have my fingers crossed that the martins will decide to stay.


We have had good luck with keeping the compartments out of the martin house until we see them. The swallows are feisty. You can block the doors until you see the martins on the house.

Cheers Don.
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