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Tree swallows and martin decoys – purple martin forum

Home » Backyard Birds & Animals » Purple martin »

Carl, I hope “out on the front lawn” is within 35 or 40 feet of your PM rack. If not, then you have MISread the interference protocol. Other recent posters have had the same “MISreading” …thinking that the idea is to draw the TS AWAY from your PM rig… and this will NOT accomplish the protective configuration you are after, as the next TS that flies by your PM rig will NOT be impeded at all from taking a PM gourd.

purple martin photos


The idea is to draw a pair of TS _U_P__T_O_ your PM rig and get them to commit to housing within 35 feet. They then become the “police” to keep all other TS away from your PM rig.

purple martin box


As to your observation that the TS seem disinterested in a particular type cavity, I don’t find that surprising. Things might be different if there weren’t so many choices available; but I’ve also noticed also (and read in general) that the TS as well as the PM’s seem to have a “definite idea” of what kind of housing they prefer when there is abundance. When housing is scarce, I’m sure things would be different.

images of purple martins


Co-incidentally, I am dealing with a similar phenomenon… i.e. that for 4 years I can’t get the local PM visitors interested in “Condo style” housing when gourds are available… which caused me to make an “emergency decision” this past week. My gourds (6) appeared to be all “taken” …and still the PM’s had shown no interest in the condo. I assumed that when a shortage of cavities occurred the birds would start using the condo… but I was wrong. Even after 3 days of scarcity (as I await the delivery of 8 more gourds) I have to report (with considerable disappointment in my PM’s) that they continue to fight over the gourds (as well as the girls) and neither the males nor females seem interested in condo living.

What’s a person to do? I’ve tried talking to them; but they do not listen!

Good luck! And please pardon my constant “harping” on the interference protocol! Many of us worked long and hard on that research and with very good teachers involved. We know it works; and I would hate to see you “miss out” on martins because of configuring incorrectly. ~Dan

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