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Feb 5th, 2020
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Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season #8114427 01/04/21 01:36 PM
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Vern1 Offline OP
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Been busy getting the Purple Martin racks ready for the 2021 season as they start arriving the first week in February here in Central Texas.

Moved two smaller racks up by big rack in front yard after 15 year maintenance and a fresh paint job.
I moved them closer together so I can run a common electric fence hot wire to them and get them away from the hay barn.
The fence charger is to keep rat snakes out of the houses as I caught no less than 35 last season, pulling a couple from inside the gourds.
Just a little more work and I'm ready!

Rack 1 up and ready, rack 2 ready to raise and rack 3 waiting for me to get more pine needles to prenest the gourds.
I stuff a short piece of a pool noodle in the entrances to keep Starlings and English House Sparrows out until the Martins arrive.
The square box on far fight is a repeating Starling trap.
I don't have much trouble with Starlings as I use Starling resistant entrance holes.
[Linked Image]

Rack 3 freshly painted and ready to raise after making some changes.
[Linked Image]

Rack 2 ready to raise after minor maintenance and a fresh coat of paint.
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Vern1; 01/04/21 01:39 PM.

Cheers,
Vern1
Texans since The Old 300 in 1824
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Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: Vern1] #8114436 01/04/21 01:51 PM
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Good to see the houses going up. Last year I bought my first rack system from PurpleMartin.org and put it up. I ordered the varmint guard that goes around the pole since I, like you, have had difficulty with rat and bull snakes in the past. Three years ago with houses I was up to about 25 pairs then the snakes hit. Two years ago hardly any birds returned, then last year it was back up to about 7 pairs. The birds still seem to favor the houses over the gourds, though. Hopefully this year there will be more birds.


[Linked Image]
Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: Vern1] #8114470 01/04/21 02:23 PM
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Vern1 Offline OP
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Been at it since late 60's and been nearly wiped out by Great Horned Owls and snakes more than once.

Do you use bird netting wrapped around your pole to catch the snakes?

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Vern1; 01/04/21 02:25 PM.

Cheers,
Vern1
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Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: Vern1] #8114520 01/04/21 03:01 PM
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Yes- actually started last year. The gourd system I bought last year also came with a guard- seemed to help.
[Linked Image]

What opening are you using on your gourds? I can't remember if I ordered the Excluder or Modified Excluder- still had a starling trying to get in.


[Linked Image]
Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: TX_LT230FH] #8115106 01/04/21 09:45 PM
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I have SREH Crescents on the Natureline Gourds and Conley IIs on the Troyer Horizontals.
I will slowly faze out the Naturelines in favor of the Troyers.
The Troyers are much easier to manage and Natureline has been out of business for a while.

Starlings will always try and try.
So far, I haven't seen one breech either entrance but get frustrated and fly straight into the 2" round hole on the repeating trap.

I had guards like the one you show that that was 36" long.
Unfortunately, I also have some rat snakes that were long enough to go right around the guard.
Bad part is they will get in a compartment, block the exit, eat every bird in there, usually over a period of days, then move to next compartment and repeat.
Unless you are doing next checks often, one day you lower your rack and there is nothing in there but a snake....maybe unless he has cleaned it out and moved on.


Cheers,
Vern1
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Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: Vern1] #8115187 01/04/21 10:45 PM
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Thanks, Vern1. I may have to try your electric fence method too. I have a spare unit sitting around.


[Linked Image]
Re: Almost ready for 2021 Purple Martin season [Re: Vern1] #8120630 01/08/21 02:40 PM
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All ready finally!
Now the only thing to do is watch the skies and empty the Starling trap!

[Linked Image]


Cheers,
Vern1
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