Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Purple Martin Colony Preparations

Purple martins are starting to show up in various parts of Texas.  Seems like they just left on their long migration to South America.  I usually begin seeing them showing up at my colony around the second or third week of February, which isn't far away.
This year will mark the 20th year that I have had a martin colony and over the last few days I've began making the usual preparations for their arrival.  I cleaned out and washed the gourds in a mixture of bleach and dish washing liquid and repainted the wooden rack's arms.  Each year I also change out the ropes used to raise and lower the racks.  A rope that has been out in the elements for a year can weaken and the last thing I need in the middle of the nesting season is for a rope to break, which could be disastrous.
I also had to re-caulk several of the PVC elbows that I installed on each gourd that help with ventilation during those hot Texas summer days.  
I've began to replenish my leaf pile that I've had near the racks for years.  This allows the martins to collect nesting material near the colony so as to not waste precious energy looking for it otherwise.
Once I got the gourds attached to the racks arms I placed caps in the entrance holes until I begin to see martins in the area, otherwise English house sparrows and European starlings would try and take over.  Hopefully this will be a productive season.
Read my previous purple martin posts here.
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