Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We're almost landlords!

So this afternoon (despite the wind), we officially put up our new purple martin house! When and if we attract martins, then we'll be landlords. That's what people who tend martin houses are called, just so you know. Yesterday, I mailed off our membership application to the Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas (I'm thinking positive....we are going to get martins....we are going to get martins). Gisela Fregoe, who's president of the PMLNT, helped me immensely with choosing my housing. She was so patient with answering all my questions via e-mail. I also quoted her in the magazine article I wrote on purple martins, "Purple People Lovers" (Texas Parks & Wildlife, February 2009). In the meantime, I'm also looking into joining some national purple martin associations.

At the start, I'd considered buying gourds, which martins love. But for many reasons, I finally decided on an aluminum house. Specifically: the Coates Water's Edge Suites model on a telescoping pole. This house has three levels with six compartments. Each compartment has an adjoining room for the nest. Plus I wanted a predator guard because we have a pair of eastern screech owls in two nest boxes we put up last year. The "predator guard" consists of the long white poles that go up and down on the house (makes it look like a jail). We also added a black plastic pole guard (last photo) to keep snakes out. Right now, I've got the six half-moon openings capped shut to keep sparrows and starlings out. Half-moon entry holes are also suppose to help keep pest birds out.

The Crofts, our neighbors less than a block away, have a martin colony that inhabit two martin houses. Since our house is brand new, we will likely attract some of the Crofts' "subadults," last year's babies who are now in the market for a home of their own. Subadults typically arrive about four weeks after the adults, so maybe by late March we'll have some tenants. I'll take off the caps as soon as we see some interest in the house.

To hopefully encourage interest, I added pine needles in the nest rooms.

Ta da! The house is up and awaiting purple martins. Right before we finished, Joe Riba, another neighbor of ours, walked over to see what James and I were up to and offered to take our picture together. (His dog, Brandy, came over, too, for a quick hi and some pats on the head, then trotted back to her yard.) Thanks, you two!


Lorilee said...

Congratulations on getting your new purple martin house put up! Would you believe that I just put mine up this evening! It was almost dark, so I didn't take any photos. I put it up because as I was watering some plants, I noticed two male martins flying overhead. Spring is around the corner!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Can't wait to see if martins show up!

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