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Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas Conference - (PMLNT) (Grand Prairie, TX) John Pearson is your Conference Moderator.

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Old 04-17-2012, 11:47 AM
John Pearson John Pearson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southlake, Texas
Posts: 468
Default Hawk Solutions

Below is an email I sent to a fellow Purple Martin landlord who was having trouble with a hawk at her colony. What do you all do to help your colony against hawks?

The email:

Yes it looks like you have a Coopers hawk there. They are about the size of a crow and are unfortunately year round residents of Texas. Iíve gotten one that got interested in my colony a few years ago when the heat forced the babies out of the nests and they were easy pickinsí. Now he stops by now and then but my birds are usually very wary when heís around. I always know something is up because at night when they come in to roost for the evening, they fire into their compartments without any standing around time. He has gotten babies in the past but no adults so far.

Hawks are a tougher nuisance because they are protected and you canít trap them or shoot them. They are lightning fast and can maneuver in tight spaces. There are a number of things landlords do and each works a little bit. The biggest thing I do is put up Martin decoys in my colony. Birds of prey lock onto the slowest moving, easiest target when they swoop in and those fat, still, fake Purple Martins seem to draw their attention away for a second to give the live birds a chance. My decoyís have also been hit because Iíll find them with talon scratches and they will be perching upside down after the hawk hits them. I have 24 available compartments and 3 decoys. Also attract Blue jays with peanuts. They are loud and vigilant and when that hawk is around, everybody knows it. I know one landlord that uses an air horn to totally rattle the hawk. Others use those silver streamers that they use at parties placed underneath the house or gourd set up. A member at our last meeting said he had heard where people use those garden balls that sit on a pedestal. For some reason the hawk is supposedly spooked by his reflection. Thatís the first time I ever heard that one so I donít know if it works or not. And lastly, the very best defense is more martins. I know that is easy to say but harder to do. The more martin pairs the more sets of eyes to see that darn hawk.
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