supplemental feeding

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D'Nese
Posts: 450
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:09 pm
Location: Unionville, TN

supplemental feeding

Postby D'Nese » Mon May 16, 2011 4:38 pm

How do you start to train your bird to eat from a platform feeder? I've scrambled some eggs and now what? How high should the platform B&B be as well?
D'Nese in Tennessee


2009-new house up, many visitors no one stayed
2010-3 pairs, 14 eggs, 9 babies 9 fledged
2011 20 pairs, 106 eggs, 79 fledged
2012 37 pair, 120 fledged
2013 37 pair, 173 fledged

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2681
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Postby flyin-lowe » Mon May 16, 2011 5:06 pm

I have never had to supplemental feed but I would guess you first have to get the martins to take the eggs in flight from flipping. Once they do that and recognize them as a food source then they might take them from the platform. The same way with crickets. Eggs and crickets are not a natural food source for martins so the odds of them taking them from a platform without eating them from the air first would seem low in my opinion.
2019- Currently 31 complete nests (27 with eggs or babies) 94 babies hatched and 19 eggs still to hatch) 6-22-19
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.

Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Postby Mary Dawnsong » Mon May 16, 2011 5:46 pm

The PMCA home page has a document with good, basic information on emergency feeding:
http://purplemartin.org/downloads/FeedingArticle.pdf

It took me a couple of years to train my colony to eat scrambled eggs from a platform feeder, but others have accomplished it faster. Extreme hunger is a great motivator.

These were the steps for my colony:
1. Catch crickets shot with slingshot.
2. Eat crickets tossed onto platform feeder.
3. Eat crickets dumped on platform feeder.
4. Eat scrambled eggs mixed with crickets on platform feeder.
5. Eat only scrambled eggs on platform feeder.

Good luck, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"

chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Postby chickadee » Mon May 16, 2011 5:58 pm

I am here to tell you they do not have to be flipped first. Last month I tried feeding mealworms for the first time. I did not have enough to flip so I put them right on the porch inside and out. They did not recognize them as food. So I ran to pet store bought them some crickets. Did the same thing and they took right to them. And today I was out of crickets and we have had 2 days straight rain. I have plenty of meal worms as always. And I knew I had to do something so I moved my bb feeder right up to their rack. Its almost touching the bottom rack. I loaded it with meal worms so they'd see them. Low and behold as I write this some of them have found it and are eating them. I have not had to flip yet. But not all the martins have caught on yet. Or just not that hungry. But I feel as if I did something to help them. Good luck

Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Postby Mary Dawnsong » Mon May 16, 2011 6:54 pm

D'Nese, another technique that has been successful for many landlords is to place piles of dead crickets right inside compartments or gourds near the entry.

Scrambled eggs are tricky, though. Martins do not initially recognize them as food and it usually takes quite a bit of effort to get them feeding on it. But there have been exceptions - starving birds can sometimes learn and adapt quickly.
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"

BigT
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:34 pm
Location: Grove City, Ohio

Postby BigT » Mon May 16, 2011 7:32 pm

Thanks to advise from pros like Mary, I was able to train my birds to supplental feed. I was flipping crickets with initial success, then started to flip the scrambled eggs. They would consistently drop the eggs at first, but once they caught on, they almost now prefer the eggs. I would always do the tossing below the B&B feeder, and would always leave some on the feeder itself when finished. They will now go to the feeder consistently. Still flip a few for fun each day to get them started, but put the majority on the feeder. For a test this evening, I put a dozen or so crickets in the gourd with the nest cam. Watched the birds come in and gobble them up without much hesitation. So if they will not take the food (Crickets) by flipping, don't hesitate to put some in the compartments, it definately works. Two more days before we get a break in central Ohio. What a lousy spring! Terry

Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Postby Mary Dawnsong » Tue May 17, 2011 7:39 am

This article from PMCA Update magazine describes one of those instances when starving martins quickly learned to eat egg:

http://purplemartin.org/update/12(3)NJSupFeed.pdf

When martins are starving, they lose muscle mass. After just a few days of muscle loss they become too weak to fly. When that happens they require several days of rehabilitation to get them strong enough to hunt. So, ideally you want to start feeding martins well before they begin to weaken.


(Hi Terry!)
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"

Guest

Postby Guest » Tue May 17, 2011 8:55 am

I am here to tell you they do not have to be flipped first ................... Low and behold as I write this some of them have found it and are eating them. I have not had to flip yet. But not all the martins have caught on yet. Or just not that hungry. But I feel as if I did something to help them. Good luck
Chickadee, thanks for this post. I have been concerned about supplemental feeding and the feeding platform. I feel a bit better now if bad weather hits us here at Topsail Beach. Three or four consecutive days of rain are rare here. Like is has been said, "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes. It will change." Good luck with your colony this year.

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

Postby The Olsons » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:26 pm

We flipped, but had to be careful because of the seagulls interfering, when one day the crickets we flipped landed on the sail boat where one little female was sitting. She caught on, gobbled the crickets down and then there were one, two and more martins doing the same.

That is how our martins became trained to eat from different "feeder" but they are safe there from the gulls stealing the food. They will sit on the lines when they are hungry. So my suggestion is try to flip and flip closer and closer to your B&B and one of them will catch on and you will have your martins trained. They probably will let you know when they are hungry.....

Best wishes to you and your martins!!!
Astrid
Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)


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