Julie Dupree, Temple, Texas firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone has wondered about using excluders and were worried the martins may not figure out how to enter.....be patient......they have no problem entering once they've decided on a particular nesting cavitiy.
This year I changed all my entrances to excluders. At first, the martins were not interested in trying to figure a way to enter the new holes. They would investigate, sit on the porches, poke their heads inside and look around, but would then fly away! This went on for about 3 weeks with not one martin entering the houses or gourds. I was getting really worried about my decision to make each entrance an excluder.... until now!!
Early this week, 5 martins were sitting on my houses when all of a sudden an adult male stooped down, peeked inside a nest, wiggled his rear end back and forth, and scooted right in!! The female followed him with NO trouble at all! I was so excited to finally witness my first martin entering the new excluders.
I am now comfortable with my decision to change to all excluders doors since there is a terrible starling problem in my area. So far, not one starling has been able to enter through an excluder opening....and this makes me feel confident about the added protection for my martins!! So please, don't give up if you see the martins not entering...... they are just not ready to take over that particular nest! Be patient, if they have chosen a home, nothing will prevent them from learning how to enter the new door.
email@example.com // Plano, TX
You asked how long the martins took to figure out the excluder openings -- last year I put up all batman-style SREH openings immediately after finding a beautiful ASY male PM pecked and killed by starlings. (It was early in the season before egg laying had taken place). I have a modified house with one 6x6 compartment for the entrance room, and a connected 6x6 room for the nest. The sub-floor is intact in the nesting room, but removed for the entrance room. It makes for easier entering and exiting for the martins, apparently, for the sub-flooring to be removed in the entrance compartment. That was what I learned from reading on this forum!!! SO much information can be found right here! For the new openings - it didn't take long at all -- perhaps only that same day or the next day! Soon the martins were entering and exiting as if they were round openings, in other words, with no difficulty at all. We went on to have 25 nestlings successfully fledged. Do not fret -- you are definitely doing what is most helpful for the purple martins. I don't ever fear the starling-murder scenario happening again! I hope you will have much success this season with "your" martins!! -- Roslyn