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Old 03-25-2009, 08:14 AM   #11
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Those are amazing houses. Kudos to you both. Thanks for sharing
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:34 PM   #12
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What size hole for the gourds and where exactly would you position it? Looks like they hoisted a laundry drying rack into the air and hung gourds from it.
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:49 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone.

It's hard to say what size hole (entrance) to use. In the old (and new) aluminum house with a round hole 2" has been the standard. A round hole for a purple martin house should only be used in small (6"X6"X6") compartments.

The aluminum Trio line of houses are the most common and were some of the first houses that were not mounted on "tilt down" poles. They ride up and down the pole on a rope and pulley assembly. The tilt down houses were primarily home made houses on small family farms. They were tilted up in the spring and tilted down in the fall to clean out the compartments. Any purple martin housing that is worth anything will ride up and down the pole it's on without tipping. Nest checks are suggested once or twice per week during nesting season. The house must be able to ride up and down the pole without tipping in order to do this. The number of nests, eggs laid, eggs hatched and birds that live to fledge are recorded.

Gourds can be natural or plastic. If natural gourds are used and starlings are not a problem in the area a 2" round hole can be used. If starlings are present this is asking for problems. Most gourd racks have four arms to hang two gourds from. The gourds face in four directions because you don't want four gourds on two arms facing each other. The martins would have problems taking turns to feed their young with four holes facing each other in close proximity. I've seen home made gourd racks made out of the old 8' satellite dishes. Gourds can be hung high on lines.

Starling resistant entrances come in a number of styles. All of the entrances I use have prevented starlings from nesting, but these entrances are only starling resistant. None of them prevent house sparrows from entering easily.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:28 PM   #14
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I am going to be growing gourds. We have both HOSPs and EUSTs. We do keep their numbers down. What type of hole would you suggest I do.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:11 AM   #15
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Great pictures!!
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:14 AM   #16
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Natural gourds are great as long as you have the time to grow them, dry them, soak them, scrub them, paint them . . .

If you have the time to do all of this, make a crescent entrance to exclude starlings. The dimensions must be exact to accomplish this. Calipers are recommended. "The starling-resistant crescent entrance should measure 3 wide and 1-3/16 tall (patterns available from the PMCA)."

Now you just have sparrows to worry about. There isn't an insert trap for natural gourds. You will have to pull nests, shoot if possible and set up additional house sparrow traps in the area. If you don't create access to the inside of the gourd you cannot really do nest checks properly. Some folks will use a dental mirror for nest checks. If you cut the top off of a large mouth plastic jar with a screw type lid and cut a hole large enough for your hand toward the neck of the gourd you can attach the jar top over the hole with epoxy putty, or something similar. Now you can check nests and tend to any problems. Old nests can be cleaned out, too. While you have some epoxy putty build a "roof" over the entrance hole to minimize rain getting inside. Drill a couple of drain holes in the bottom and make sure that they don't get plugged.

I buy plastic gourds.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:16 PM   #17
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You rained on my parade. I'll buy plastic gourds for the martins. I can use my gourds with a crescent entrance for other species not requiring nest checks. Where do you buy your plastic gourds?
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:27 AM   #18
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What kind of bird wouldn't you do nest checks on? I love to check my bluebirds, tree swallows, chickadees . . . I know a lot of folks who go to the trouble of using natural gourds. Some people wouldn't think of using plastic gourds. It all depends on how much time you have. I really didn't want to turn anyone off on the idea, just wanted them to know what they are up against.

I have Natureline gourds, but I prefer supergourds. This is one source for them:
The Purple Martin Society, NA -- Sales -- SuperGourds

Good luck either way you decide to go!
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:34 AM   #19
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"What kind of bird wouldn't you do nest checks on?" Ones that are hung in range of my husband's air gun.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:52 AM   #20
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You need to make him a special badge that says Bird Patrol when he's watching the birdhouses. hehehe
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