Help! Babies Jumping out of NEST!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Guest

I had one pair nesting and 2 chicks. One of the chicks jumped out very prematurely and was found dead. THe other is now jumping out of the nest and cannot fly yet. I have put it back 5 times now and it still keeps jumping out. THe parents won't feed it while on the ground. I'm in Houston and its very HOT here now and I have been giving the chick little water with a syringe twice a day. At least its smart enough to get outa the sun but I am worried that a preditor may get it. What am I to do?
Guest

I'm a noob, but I've read that a mite infestation causes premature fledging.

Ian
Guest

Have you checked your nests for mites? That can be a reason that he is jumping out of the nest. If you have mites, put a little sevin dust (5%) (1/4 tsp) around the inside of the entrance.a Depending on his age, you might want to do a nest change and/or put a little sevin under the nest.

Someone else who has martins may come along and give you some better advice. Hpefully they will see your post soon so you can save that little fellow.



Good luck,

Lanell

Lanell
Guest

Thanks for your responses. Yes I have checked the nest and NO mites!! I put the chick back in the nest nightly for the past several days and the parents always come back in the morning. I just hope they are feeding it. I don't really know however. I am concerned that he may be getting weak. What do people do in this situation.

I know that ther are many journeymen PM raisers out there and am wondering why I am getting little response? A little advise to what I should do would be appreciated. Should I buy a cage and raise him until he can go on his own. If so , how and what do I feed him?

Thanks
Guest

Hey Laverne - awe some good advice here! Where are you? :lol:


Lanell
Guest

:cry: Well- thanks to all for your help but I checked the nest this morning and found the baby dead. HE was sitting upright and looked like he died peacefully. My guess is that he died from lack of nurishment. I'm a first time host and feel pretty bad that I didn't know what to do. Hopefully I will be prepared a little more for next year.
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Hi Everybody! Thank you, Lanell, for bringing this post back up to the top.

I don't usually get on the computer in the evening. I have to watch "The Purple Martin Show" and it is not inside my house. But, my webcam arrived - so, it won't be long and I'll be watching some of it from inside.

BTW - y'all did an excellent job of responding to dkjtwo's question... :wink:

Dear dkjtwo:

We have ruled out mites. ... thinking ...

This is what I would do. Go back outside, find the nestling, check his breast bone. Feel it gently with your fingers. Does it feel thin and the bone is protruding - or, is it covered with muscle? You will still be able to feel the bone - but, if he is well nourished it will not protrude so starkly from his body. For those of you who have never held a healthy nestling and don't know how he should feel - do it on your next nest check - just for your own personal knowledge. If the nestling is not starving, then his parents must be feeding him enough. It doesn't take near as many trips to feed one nestling as it does to feed five nestlings. So, you won't see the parents making so many trips.

I don't know how much time this nestling has actually spent on the ground. If he is still inside his nest cavity, then leave him there - if he is on the ground, I would pick him up from the ground, put him in a shoebox (no don't put a Purple Martin nestling into a bird cage)[you should line the shoebox with pine needles or dried grass clippings], and go to the nearest pet store that sells crickets and buy 50 or so. They should cost less than $5 or $6. The nestling will be frightened at first - so, you will have to force feed him. It's a simple matter of holding his little head with two fingers (watch out for his eyes) and while holding the cricket in the other fingers, gently pry his beak open with a fingernail. Once his beak is opened slip the cricket in. Release him and see what he does. He may throw the cricket back at you - or, he may swallow it. I always feed insects head first. With a small nestling you may want to pull the kicking legs off the cricket first. If he throws it back at you, try again and this time push the cricket way down the back of his throat with your pinky finger. Don't give a Purple Martin nestling water - he will get the water he needs from the crickets. He will eat 4 or 5 crickets, then he won't want anymore. But, in 45 minutes he will be hungry again.

Now, the nestling is secured and fed. Go back outside and thoroughly check his nest cavity. There is "some" reason for his jumping. A healthy, well fed, comfortable nestling will stay in his nest until he fledges. Something is wrong. See if you can determine what it is. I would remove the nesting material and put in fresh. If you still don't find any mites, or ants, or fleas and check for a wasp nest, then put the nestling back in his nest, raise the house, and wait. Keep an eye on him.

If you can't do all this - then take the nestling to a rehabber. If he continues to jump from his nest - he is doomed.

If you attempt to raise him yourself, he will be all alone. His parents will leave when you take him from the housing. The rehabber I take my birds to has a PM colony. She says she releases her rehabilitated fledglings into her colony. That is usually the last she ever sees of them. They are difficult to identify, but I know from watching my colony that parent PMs don't like other PM's young. They only like their own. They will not adopt an orphaned fledgling into their group. They might allow an extra to tag along once they have headed toward the premigratory roost - but, when they are still coming back to their natal cavity at night, they don't normally allow intruders. So, where is this little jumper going to end up? Once you have raised him and then released him - where's he gonna go and with whom?

I wonder if releasing him into a premigratory roost might be better? I just don't know...

I would do everything in my power to keep this nestling with his parents.
Sincerely,
Laverne
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

I'm so sorry - I guess you responded while I was writing my post.

It is very sad, I am so sorry for your loss.

Could you tell if he was extremely thin? It still may have been something wrong with him physically that caused his death. You could have tried everything everybody ever suggested and he still would have died. This is just one of those things. Please don't take it personally.

There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips here on the PMCA's website. Go to the top of the Forum and click on PMCA Home. On that first page, scroll down until you see the "Download Center". Find the article regarding "Tending to Sick, Injured, or Orphaned Martins". They say it all better than I did.

Between now and next season when I am sure you will attract more PMs, please read everything you can and become familiar with how to locate basic information when you need it... because you will need it, over and over again...

Good luck for better luck next year. :cry:
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

You can still clean out the nest in the housing compartment or gourd and see if you can't determine why the nestlings jumped out. Personally in real hot weather areas, nothing beats a natural gourd painted white with proper ventilation holes. In an area like Houston, aluminum housing gets hot, especially the less expensive models sold at wal-mart, etc..

Think about it like this. In the old prison systems, they would lock prisoners in tin houses called hot houses. The reason being is that the tin houses would amplify the heat during the day. So in essense, a poorly designed aluminum house is like a hot house.

This is just a suggestion. I have no idea what type of housing or gourds you are using. Is there anyway you can get a digital pic and post it here so we can look at it?
Guest

Thanks Lavern/Patriot for your posts. They ahve definately educated me a little more for preparation of next year.

I didn't get a chance to check his breastbone but yesterday he was flapping his wings and moving a little around the yard. Do you think that the water I gave him killed him? I have often seen PM's diving to take a drink from the lake.

The house is actually plastic, white with a green roof. Hopfully the pic will work below.
Attachments
s 013.jpg
s 013.jpg (27.34 KiB) Viewed 8076 times
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

:shock: Heavens no - I don't think the water you gave him killed him. I just know it makes their stool very loose. Adult PMs drink water - but, they don't give it to their nestlings. They go to a lot of trouble to carry fecal sacks out of the nest and away from the colony. This has a two-fold benefit. It keeps the nest cleaner and it helps in preventing ground predators from zeroing in on the colony.

I see nothing wrong with your PM house. It would not have caused the death of these two nestlings.

Sometimes, they just don't survive. There may have been something wrong with them internally. Every colony has eggs that never hatch. Every colony has young that do not survive to fledging. Every colony loses fledglings that never make it to the premigratory roost. And every fledgling that makes it to the roost doesn't make it all the way to South America.

It is very unfortunate that these were your "only" ones. I know your heart is broken. I share your pain - I can't stand to lose even one. But, the ones that survive - they are the reason we keep putting up the housing and bringing them back to our yards year after year. I celebrate the successes in my colony and try to enjoy the time while they are here, because they leave too soon and I miss them while they are gone.

Do you have a neighbor with a colony? You might go visit - maybe it will help your grief. If you could find a premigratory roost to visit I know that seeing it would take away your blues. They are awesome...
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

Yeah, looks like your housing is OK. In the future, I would just do nest changes regardless, even if you can't visually see anything wrong. Matter of fact, I would start the season out every year with a fresh nest and seven dust or similar sprinkled below the nest. Also, check for wasps, in all the compartments. Wasps in other compartments will still go into the compartment where nestlings are at. The odors from the nestlings will attract wasps to investigate.
Guest

If the water went into his lungs, then maybe he did die from the water. I wonder why he kept jumping. Guess you will never know.
Guest

Good point, but he didn't cough or sputter or anything.

Here's another pic of both the babies lurching out of their home waiting on Mother. Either they were just really hungary or maybe it was too hot in there. The house and particularly their room did face the afternoon sun. Who knows?
Attachments
PM-babies2.JPG
PM-babies2.JPG (29.16 KiB) Viewed 7993 times
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

No, that is totally normal PM nestling behavior. What bothers me is the shallow interior depth (floor to the bottom of entrance hole). This may have aided the fairly young nestlings to get their heads out the entrance hole before they were physically agile enough to prevent a fall. I don't know... I'm just thinking about why two apparently perfectly healthy nestlings are now gone.

Purple Martins prefer a deeper cavity. The entrance hole should be higher up on the front panel of the cavity.

Maybe this is the reason - maybe the nestlings weren't "jumping" - maybe they were "falling". I never thought of that before. My gourds are deep and the nestlings heavy bodies keep them down inside the cavity where they belong. When they get tall enough and can stand up on their legs, then they stick their heads out - but, there's no way they will fall out.

What do you think about that idea? How do you think you might remedy that problem?
Sincerely,
Laverne
Matt F.
Posts: 3900
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Another thing that could help keep the little ones from falling is a porch. I sure would love to see S&K make that 20 room model with some porches like those that are on their 12 and 16 room models.

That's definitely not as important as what Laverne said, as their are many gourds that have no porches and seem to do fine.
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

I have lost quite a few martins recently. They were very poor, so they probably were runts, and those usually don't survive. The later in the season, and it is very late here, the more I notice that there are a lot of runts, and they are very weak. They can fly a short ways, but they don't seem to have the strength to hunt, and the mothers don't feed them much, so they end up dying. Early in the season, it seems like nearly all of the babies can fly very good. Maybe part of this is the hot, dry weather that we have here. However, throughout the years, it always seems to follow this same pattern...

In my opinion, the mother gives them one day to fly, they feed them a bit, and if they can't make it, they seem to give up on that baby. We can only do so much for them.. I would say that for every 20 to 40 that fly, there will be one that is too weak to fly.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Guest

Thanks for your Posts/

Lavern- that is a very good point. There is a little fence there but it looks usless and is actually meant as a perch. The top of the opening measures about an inch above the floor but when you consider nesting material, it could be level with the opening. It certainly is far below par when comparing to a natural gourd. Maybe next year I will get some goards instead of this hotel. At least it will give them a better chance for survival next time.

Any suggestions on attaching goards to a telescoping pole? ( the pole cost more than the Hotel)

Thanks again to ALL for your posts and concerns. THis first year has been a little challenging yet educational for me, and thanks to you I am a step ahead for next year.
Guest

Thanks for your Posts/

Lavern- that is a very good point. There is a little fence there but it looks usless and is actually meant as a perch. The top of the opening measures about an inch above the floor but when you consider nesting material, it could be level with the opening. It certainly is far below par when comparing to a natural gourd. Maybe next year I will get some goards instead of this hotel. At least it will give them a better chance for survival next time.

Any suggestions on attaching goards to a telescoping pole? ( the pole cost more than the Hotel)

Thanks again to ALL for your posts and concerns. THis first year has been a little challenging yet educational for me, and thanks to you I am a step ahead for next year.
Matt F.
Posts: 3900
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

dkjtwo,
Are you using an S&K Tri-Tel/Quad-Tel pole? If so, forum member "roadrunnermoore" has some photos of an S&K gourd rack using that pole.

Here's the thread:
http://www.purplemartin.org/forum/viewtopic.php3?t=112
Post Reply