a couple of unfortunate things happened via cold snap in TX

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ToyinPA
Posts: 2064
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Postby ToyinPA » Wed May 04, 2011 10:04 pm

Matt:
Yes I would still give the 2-3 drops (no more) of water at the end of the feeding. Not only are they not getting the proper nurishment like they would with parents feeding, but they aren't getting the moisture either. Normal food is usually dragon flies & they can be very juicy. Dehydration can kill a chick just as quick as starvation.

The adults in my colony last year abandoned chicks due to drought & lack of being able to find enough food to keep chicks feed. They will look after themselves first, chicks 2nd. It was very hot & dry & we had very few bugs of any kind last summer.

Yes meal worms should work the same. I never froze mine. If you put them in the refrigerator they sort of go dormant & will last for at least 2 weeks or more. However if you think the weather will turn soon & you won't use them in 2 weeks then I'd opt to freeze them for 24 hours, dump the bedding material off they usually come in & bag them up. I would think thawing would be about the same as for crickets.

Glad I could offer you advice. Do what you can & don't beat yourself up if some don't make it. One feeding may be enough to keep them going until things change. As much as we want to save every single one, we often can't.

Good luck,
Toy in PA

ToyinPA,

Thank you for such EXCELLENT and very detailed information on how I can try and feed nestlings. I am copying this for reference.

A question ToyinPA. Would you still put 2 to 3 drops of water down the beak at the same time if you dip their crickets/mealworms in clear pedalyite or just do one of the other?
Im just curious, do you know why the adults abandoned the young in the situation you described where you fed babies for 4 weeks?

You closing instruction on how to freeze and thaw crickets will be very helpful as well. THANK YOU. My mom has just purchased 1000 mealworms on line so I suspect the same process can be used for them as well. This is why I am printing your post.

Though I cannot feed them 3 to 4 times daily because of work and I do not live here, I will follow these great guide lines and do what I am able to do with hope that the parents pick up the slack since this cold snap is supposed to be over. One feeding may make my efforts futile but I will try anyway.

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Thu May 05, 2011 12:32 pm

Thank you ToyinPA.

Yesterday I purchased the following: 10 inch tweezers, bottle of CLEAR Pedialyte, approx. 75 small crickets,( plus I had 100 big ones) and mom had an eye dropper.
small crickets were frozen and placed into a very small container of clear Pedialyte as well as several big cricketts.
Clutch 1 retain 3 nestlings. These were easy enough to remove and hand feed. Their condition appears to improve "at this time" which surprises me. These fellows took 3 to 6 big crickets each from me.
Clutch 2 (of 4 nestlings 5 days old) has lost 2 more nestlings leaving 2 nestlings. STRANGELY, the bodies of the 2 dead ones were gone. I assume the parents removed them which I dod not think Martins did (??)
Clutch 3 has 4 nestlings about 4 days old
Clutch 4 has 5 nestlings about 2 days old
The 3 last clutches were respondant to feeding with Clutch 2 being the most sluggish. The small crickets fit perfectly in their mouths but it is hard to get it in such small babies and Im afraid I will injure one by accident with the tweezer tips.
That pedialyte made those crickets pretty wet so after feeding some a few of them, I got nervous thinking I may be giving such small bodies too much fluid so I refrained from water drops plus time ran out. (Dusk was coming with 30 something Martins swirlings around me ..hahahaha. This is also why I did not remove the really small nestlings individually and put them in a shoe)
I will give them water drops today.
thank you for this advice ToyinPA. This is the 4 day out so I should get better idea of how they are doing and if it appears parents are feeding them again.
You should see other posts pop up from folks in this region with similiar problems
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6189
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Postby Louise Chambers » Thu May 05, 2011 1:50 pm

Sorry I am coming in to this discussion late, but I want to urge some caution here. I don't think landlords should take over feeding nestlings and especially have concerns about giving them liquids with eyedroppers.

Supplying food for the parents to give to nestlings is a safer option, by putting crickets, mealworms, or eggs in a platform feeder, or in a small container in the nest. Martin nestlings get the water they need from their food. It is tricky to give water to birds without running the risk of giving them aspiration pneumonia. The first thing a rehabilitator will say is not to give water. If landlords feel nestlings are on verge of dying due to lack of food, etc, please contact a rehabber for advice. Regularly feeding nestlings and giving them liquids should not become a standard landlord practice.

As landlords, we take a lot of steps to help the martins survive bad weather and to help them when their nestlings are struggling. Make sure nests are dry and warm (hand warmers can be placed under nest material during cold weather). Supplying supplemental food is the best way to help them, but let the parents feed them.

I know Toy is very experienced due to raising cage birds - but I don't think all landlords should adopt her practices. Absolutely no intention on my part of offending anyone, and I apologize for any hurt feelings - I just want to mention the above items and urge landlords to contact a rehabber, to offer supplemental food, etc. Legally we do not have the right to remove nestlings and feed them. Landlords need to be aware of that too. We don't want to lose the many privileges we have when working with martins by going too far, and perhaps causing US Fish & Wildlife Service to decide we should not be allowed to do nest changes, nest checks, etc.

I lost my very first brood of martins - all but one - to cold weather in July, up in PA. One night of record cold temps killed them, plus maybe their subadult parents didn't brood them well, or feed them enough. I know how sad it is to find nestlings dead, and send my sympathies to landlords going through that now. The one surviving nestling fledged and lived to be at least 4 years old and likely produced young each year, so a smaller number of young surviving still helps martins. Let's hope the martins that lost young renest.

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Thu May 05, 2011 3:51 pm

Thanks Louise. I am not offended and hope toyinPA is not either. I personally feel SO MUCH BETTER about leaving food in the gourds for the parents to feed to their nestlings.
That is very stressful and kinda scary to me. I hope I have not injured any nestlings. What I can do later today is just place crickets in the gourds with young since my Martins are not conditioned to take food yet(another mistake I have made).
I trust they can feed. Im as good as a Martin parent as Im to a fish in water....
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Thu May 05, 2011 4:06 pm

Louise,
Can I freeze mealworms, thaw them, then place them in the gourds with a reasonable chance that Martins(not trained to supp. feeding) will accept these as food for themselves and their young?
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged

Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6189
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Postby Louise Chambers » Thu May 05, 2011 4:31 pm

Matt, I think mealworms are best presented live, in a small container - like plastic cup from pepto bismol bottle, that must be secured so it doesn't spill. Frozen mealworms might spoil quickly on thawing. I have never tried frozen mealies, but one landlord told me his adult birds were eating them once thawed. There are also dried mealworms, which PMCA carries - these would need to be soaked before feeding, and put in small dish - so spoiled ones could be removed from the nest. Martins might catch on to supplemental food much more quickly when they have hungry nestlings - good luck, Matt.

ToyinPA
Posts: 2064
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Postby ToyinPA » Thu May 05, 2011 9:20 pm

I'm sorry. I should have not posted for Matt to do this. Forgot it's not really legal to remove chicks from nests, etc.

Matt if you already froze the meal worms I'd just put some in each nest & then check the next day to see if they've been eaten.

I was wondering if double stick tape to the bottom of a tiny cap, like Louise suggested, would be good enough to secure it from tipping over or getting knocked over? The oly downside is if the bird somehow gets stuck to it. You also want to make sure it doesn't hinder the entrance/exit.

If time permits try flinging some off a spoon. Try to aim them about 2 feet in front of them & way above their heads. If 1 martin seems interested, like looks at them as they fall, then keep trying. Once it takes it the rest will follow.

Toy in PA

The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

Postby The Olsons » Thu May 05, 2011 9:29 pm

Jerlene,

Thank you for doing such a great job feeding your martins and keeping them alive and well. Please do not listen to the "Nay sayers" because in today's world it just does not work that way anymore when it comes to animals and specifically to migrating birds. I applaud anyone and everyone who is trying to feed their martins in times of distress; I have been beat up because of this a lot but I do not care. The only thing I care about are the martins and their babies and their well beings.....

I f anyone is interested in how we got to feed the martins you can ask me here on the forum or email me at astrid1st@hotmail.com. I had the best Mentor one can think off, John Barrow, and he invited me to his place to see how feeding is done...thank you John from the bottom of our hearts. We could have never done 8 years of martin landlords without YOU!!!
Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)

Matt@atx
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:13 am
Location: Buda, TX, south of Austin

Postby Matt@atx » Fri May 06, 2011 3:23 pm

Your awesome Astrid and one dedicated passionate person for your Martins.
I like your attitude... your Martins must be some happy birds.. :grin:
2008~(1st yr) 4 pairs, 11 to 12 fledged
2009~(2nd yr) 9 pairs, 41 fledged
2010~(3rd year) 11 pairs. 50 fledged
2011~(4th year) 20 pairs, 23 out of 23 gourds Martin occupied, 3 fledged, the rest died in the drought. (1 new Blue Bird, 3 BB fledged.)
2012~ 26 pairs, approx. 100-110 fledged


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