A Promising Start Pt. 2

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FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

.....continued


And this is the pair of over-achieving nest builders. It looks like thy've taken about 1/3 of their nest material back out, which is a good thing as there was no room in there before. 6 eggs here.

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And in another part of the yard, a little flycatcher is on the way to making the world's fluffiest nest. He/she has been going back and forth to a materials ball...

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...and trying to get it all to stay together on a branch. Looks good from the ground, I just hope it can hold up to a wind. If it does it'll be super comfortable.

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FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

So a week ago we found a couple of eggs with blood on them in compartment #6. Of course this is one that faces away from the house so it isn't easily seen from the house, but we could see a pair coming and going and they both seemed fine.

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Then on Wednesday's nest check there were 5 eggs which looked ok, and we assumed all was well.

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And on checking today we saw two eggs broken on the ground, and these two had been pushed to the opening.

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Any ideas what might be happening here?
Archer
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

I always enjoy your posts FarmerHarv, you have a nice way of telling a story. I hate to say it but that looks like the work of a house sparrow. Did you reinstall the starling resistant entrances? Starling and sparrows will both do damage. The other possibility is the sub-adult males. They will sometimes push out eggs or young nestlings to try and break up a family in hopes or replacing the current male and starting a family themselves. They seldom break the eggs so I am leaning towards a house sparrow. Its a never ending problem but you have made a great effort. Keep up the good works. The last possibility is the house wren, have you seen one snooping around on the house?
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Thanks Archer! I don’t *think* it’s another species, as I haven’t seen or heard a sparrow or starling in weeks (except for the ones in the traps). I thought initially from the blood she had a problem with her egg laying mechanism, but then she had 3 more after that. It might be a SY alright though, as I can’t monitor that side of the house easily. Should run some power over there and set a camera up maybe, as that’s probably the only way to be sure.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Heh, so I didn’t see any straw or other nesting material when I glanced in the hole of #12 the first couple of checks and didn’t open it up to really look inside. We did see a pair taking a few leaves in the other day so figured we’d see what they were using to build their nest during the last check.

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Turns out they didn’t feel the need to build anything, and simply laid a whole bunch of eggs on the bare styrofoam.

Definitely a lot less labor intensive than the other nests in the house, and they apparently put the saved energy into laying an extra egg. Work smarter, not harder applies to martins also it seems.
Archer
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Sub adults will often build very poor nests. But 7 eggs for a sub-adult pair would be very unusual. They do like the styrafoam floors though. It looks like they have at least scratched out a nest bowl which may keep the eggs in place. In regards to your previous question about the blood on the egg, I assumed the egg was broken. Your explanation of egg laying difficulties makes sense to me.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Well, we did it! We have helped contribute to the creation of...kinda ugly miniature martins. But they’re sorta cute. Almost, if you squint just a little. But anyways, another milestone reached!

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And due to a nice slow soaker of a rain almost everybody was sitting around getting a shower and waiting to have a group photo taken. I count 17 birds, and that pretty much tallies with the 9 nests that have eggs.

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Total egg/chick count is now at 41. Here’s hoping they all fledge.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

And then there were 10. Somehow another pair snuck in and laid eggs while I wasn’t watching. I guess what I thought was a practice nest, wasn’t.

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And Percy is officially a father, with a couple hatching yesterday in #2. :grin: And the pair in #6 has laid another couple of eggs, so hopefully they’re all ok.

So we’ve gone from zero to a full house in just one year. I’m guessing they came from the nearby golf course, as it’s an unmanaged sparrow haven apparently, with just a few brave martins toughing it out there. Maybe I’ll approach them about just taking the houses down, as they’re really doing a disservice by having them full of HOSP and starlings.
Conrad Baker
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

Congrats to you and Percy. Nice setup and great photos.
gotham
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: -Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967.
-2017 martin house taken over by starlings.
-2018 did research and purchased new martin house -Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays.
-2019 opened new martin house but frustrating season long battle with wily HOSPs (see posts) and martin visitors but no settlers.
-2020 Covid-19-honored request of locals that seasonal home owners stay away and only reached summer home too late to attempt to start colony. Aiming with determination and hope for next year.

What an enjoyable, entertaining and instructive narrative and, as someone said, much enhanced by the inclusion of the photos!

I have posted some photos with my account of a much less successful season than yours ("Chicadee" Interference) but, in order to have them accepted, have had to restrict myself to a photo file size with a maximum of 400 pixels in the larger of the two dimensions (typically 400 x 266 pixels). I may investigate to see if I can do better than this.

Wishing you continued success with your colony,

Gotham
Archer
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

What an inspiring post from 0 to 12 in one year. Congrats. I know we all have a lot to do in summer, but if you can find the time, I might suggest you take your sparrow catching prowess down to Golf Coarse and change the trajectory of that colony. A sign on that house, "looking for a Keeper" might draw a mentee to your door and you could help the next generation of Keepers get started. How is that nest of Seven doing? I had several with seven this year and one is actually raising 7, the others made it to six.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Congrats on an awesome start to your colony. I enjoy reading your posts. They make me smile.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Thanks all! It's been fun watching the birds this year so far, with a few little challenges. We did a couple of nest changes due to blowfly larva, and spritzed a few compartments and the outside of the house with sevin due to a mite outbreak, but otherwise they're all doing great as far as we know. There are a bunch of nests that are greeting ready to fledge with peekers at the holes, and #9 had at least one learn to fly this morning so things are going to get exciting soon.

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Had a bit of rain go through this morning so everyone was perched for their photo op...

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Only problem is that when I count them I get to 38, which is about 15 too many. Looks like we had some visitors that came over for coffee and were caught by the weather.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

I think this fluffy little fellow is fresh out of #9...

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In other parts of the yard things have really been happening. 5 tree swallow boxes all fledged out, so there are 28 more little mosquito eaters cruising around.

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The brown thrashers only had a pair this year it looks like...

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Last edited by FarmerHarv on Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

The lone nest of barn swallows is getting ready to go. I really need to build some more shelters for these, as they're just great to have around.

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And this is the only nest of western kingbirds I've found, although there are two pair, plus one of eastern kingbirds in the yard somewhere.

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FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Archer wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:34 am
What an inspiring post from 0 to 12 in one year. Congrats. I know we all have a lot to do in summer, but if you can find the time, I might suggest you take your sparrow catching prowess down to Golf Coarse and change the trajectory of that colony. A sign on that house, "looking for a Keeper" might draw a mentee to your door and you could help the next generation of Keepers get started. How is that nest of Seven doing? I had several with seven this year and one is actually raising 7, the others made it to six.


The nest of seven is doing well I believe. They're peeking out now, and all 7 were fine the last nest check. They've due to fledge next week which should be entertaining.

I've thought of approaching the golf course about helping their martins, but there are two major problems. One is that there is a house on each 150 yard marker plus one more, so a total of 120 (or maybe 160) cavities which is simply a lot to manage from afar. And the other is there are many other human beings there that simply wouldn't understand what needs to be done with HOSP to give the martins a chance. Seeing as the golf course is only a couple of miles away I should probably just put up another 4 houses here, try to get them to take theirs down and the martins would be much better off.


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gotham
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: -Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967.
-2017 martin house taken over by starlings.
-2018 did research and purchased new martin house -Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays.
-2019 opened new martin house but frustrating season long battle with wily HOSPs (see posts) and martin visitors but no settlers.
-2020 Covid-19-honored request of locals that seasonal home owners stay away and only reached summer home too late to attempt to start colony. Aiming with determination and hope for next year.

Once again, what a fabulous and inspiring success story and what fantastic photos!!

I think you're right that the people on/near the golf course would not be understanding of what has to be done to keep the martins safe from the predatory HOSPs and starlings and that it would be better for you to add to your capacity.

Gotham
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

Well, things are slowing down and getting a bit quieter around here. There are three nests yet to fledge, and 22 new martins have already taken their first flight. 2 nests with 4 eggs each simply failed to hatch, but the pair in #6 had another clutch of three that hatched after their first attempt failed. If these last 12 take flight next week that'll be 34 in the first year, which is far more than I expected when we first put the house up this year.

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Sadly, both kingbirds nests had all of the little ones die in the nests. The parents all seem healthy, but when I noticed they weren't going to the nests anymore I went up and found the young ones had all perished. Another one of nature's mysteries I guess.
gotham
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: -Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967.
-2017 martin house taken over by starlings.
-2018 did research and purchased new martin house -Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays.
-2019 opened new martin house but frustrating season long battle with wily HOSPs (see posts) and martin visitors but no settlers.
-2020 Covid-19-honored request of locals that seasonal home owners stay away and only reached summer home too late to attempt to start colony. Aiming with determination and hope for next year.

Farmerharv,

How do you upload your photos which, in addition to being great, are large and seem to have a good resolution?

Gotham
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2959
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Unless I am seeing something wrong it looks like he is embedding them from flikr???? Many of us used to do the same with photobucket but last year they started charging a monthly fee for the storage and ability to embed photos into forums. I don't know if flikr charges or not, Ive never used them.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
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.
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