Fall tasks

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Joined:11 Jun 2020, 12:11
Fall tasks

Post by pkhawhee » 15 Sep 2020, 08:52

Now that my first Purple Martin family has fledged (about a month ago or more), can i clean out their home and start getting ready for next year? Clean out the compartments and such.


Dave Duit
Joined:16 Mar 2019, 00:42
Location:Nevada, Iowa
Original Join Date:Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:02 am

Re: Fall tasks

Post by Dave Duit » 15 Sep 2020, 09:47

Hi Pam,
The answer is yes you can clean out the martin housing for the fall and get things stored and ready for next season. Most landlords wait about 2 weeks after they saw their last martin leave their colony and then clean out the housing for storage. The reason landlords wait at least two weeks after their last martin leaves is to be sure they are actually gone; martins have a tendency, (near the end of the season) to be out foraging for bugs almost the entire day and slip back quickly into their nest around sunset or early evening without the landlord noticing them. Some landlords just assume they are gone and have migrated south, but in reality they are still around and the well intentioned landlord simply doesn't see them slip in during the early evening. The two weeks is a safety check and it also serves as a stop over place for possible migrating visitors from the north. Martins from Minnesota and Canada will migrate later than our Iowa martins and if they came from a poorly managed colony or one that experienced predator attacks on a daily basis or severe mite infestation; they may see your colony housing during migration and remember your site and decide that your housing looks much more inviting. During their return next spring, they may choose to stay at your location instead of their original colony. This occurrence is uncommon, but for a new landlord the new visitors are a blessing. Now that you have had a nest that produced fledglings and if those fledgling survive through the winter months in Brazil and make the migration back to Iowa, about 15% of those youngsters will come right back to your housing. It is a numbers game when starting a new colony. Each successive year that goes by and if you keep a clean and health site, the numbers will grow. Congrats on your first year Pam.

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