New Colony Started With All SREH

 Kent Justus, - Mount Vernon, AR

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have a new colony started in Mount Vernon, Arkansas. I placed 16 gourds up on May 1 and now have 5 pairs and an additional 2 subadult males that just showed up May 29. One of the males of the 5 established pairs is a black ASY. I thought the readers might be interested to know that this new colony was started with all SREH holes. I discovered soon after moving to my new home on April 29 that there were Starlings everywhere out there in the country and the only way to effectively deal with them was to place large gourds with SREH instead of trying to trap and/or shoot at Starlings all day long. I don't have time for that and I'm sure most of the forum readers don't either.

I would also like to stress that people who convert to SREH should use the crescent shape instead of the oval. I witnessed Starlings entering the oval holes but have yet to see one enter a crescent SREH. However, it is amazing that the martins that have taken up residence in my housing, who I'm sure have never seen an SREH entrance hole before, have taken to them like ducks to water. It is amazing to watch them negotiate the holes with ease and they quickly learn to fan out their tails when entering. It is also equally rewarding to watch the Starlings get frustrated when they watch the martins enter and then try themselves without success.

It is guaranteed that for every Starling you trap or shoot there are millions waiting to take their place. The real way to achieve success and save yourself the stress is just to go ahead and convert ALL entrance holes to crescent SREH. In addition to defeating Starlings the holes may also prove to be highly effective in getting martins to hold tight during an owl attack. I plan on increasing my new colony housing from 16 gourds this year to 80 gourds next year. They will all be equipped with crescent SREH and I can't wait for the increase I will have in martins next year. - Kent Justus / Mount Vernon, AR

RE: New Colony Started with All SREH

 Stan Kostka Seattle


Many Purple Martin nestbox colonies using only SREH have been started in the Pacific Northwest as well. To the best of my knowledge, every martin nestbox in British Columbia has SREH. The entrances are rectangular thru 3/4 inch wood and flush to a porch. An additional piece of 3/4 inch wood attached to the exterior of the front above the entrance makes the entrance tunnel like and more starling resistant. This design modification is credited to Dave Fouts of Portland. It is my understanding that rectangular SREH was used in Oregon in the 1970's by Tom Lund. I've also seen an ASY male nest at a first year site with all SREH. I agree with Kent that these smaller entrances also give martins better protection from predators.

[Editorial comment:  There are numerous examples of colony sites being established with SREH's, both in the eastern and western U.S.]