FIRST EGG! (and a Q?)

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Well, finally - my first PM egg this season was laid by my one and only SY pair on Thurs, June 16. But, when I checked again on Fi afternoon, expecting to see two eggs, there was still only one. I did poke around a little, because I know that eggs may sometimes be hidden in the nest, and I feel confident I didn't miss one. It is still too early in the AM to check for eggs right now.

Question: Can PM skip a day between eggs? Is this more an SY trait, or is this part and parcel of the completely weird season I am experiencing?
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Hi Dr. Kathi,

In my colony SY pairs are much less reliable than ASY when it comes to producing clutches.

I do not know how much control the female has over her own egg production or whether she can actually skip a day. However, she can certainly lay eggs in inappropriate places, like a second nest of her own or another pair's nest or anywhere, I suppose. It appears to me she can stop laying altogether and that this is most likely to happen when the weather deteriorates. Weather in my area has been lousy for martin breeding activities for 3 days now - cool, rainy, windy.

Many times I have had a pair lay an egg or two, then stop, only to restart after a week or so. This behavior appears to be weather-related and much more likely in SYs. Frankly, I suspect that one reason the ASY's in my colony persist with breeding activities so confidently is because they've learned that I will feed them during poor-hunting periods.

If you don't see another egg today, don't be too concerned. They will likely start over. If they start over soon enough then their "old" egg might even be viable - delayed incubation definitely happens and the delay can be up to 10 days or so.

Good luck, Mary
Last edited by Mary Dawnsong on Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"In Michigan every martin matters"
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.

and yes, it could be too early to be checking for eggs. Somebody posted about a web cam image of a female laying an egg. She sat in the nest and had contractions and actually delivered this egg and then stayed with the egg for several hours afterward. If I remember correctly, she was still on the nest at 10:00 am.

I don't do nest checks in the AM for this reason. I do not want to disturb the process of egg laying and the bonding that goes on between "mother and egg" :lol: Something goes on here - if this is her first egg - how does she know it's going to become this little pink hatchling that will demand to be fed? All of this stuff must be instinctual and hormonal. Humans experience some of these same feelings - we just choose to ignore them in many cases...
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

Thanks for the input, Mary & Laverne. Still only 1 egg as of 1:45pm today (Sat) when by rights there should be 3. I double-checked all the other cavities - nothing in any of them - and the female flew out of the gourd as I was lowering the rack to check. Almost as if she was incubating the lone egg. I hope she progresses and has at least a couple more yet this season. It has been cooler here the last couple of days, cloudy but not rainy. Maybe that is why.

Everything this season has been weird - late timing from return to nesting, bringing green leaves before building a nest, a bachelor colony of 5 males/1 female, and now only 1 egg (so far) in 3 days' time. :shock: I have blamed the weather for every other thing, why not the interruption of egg laying?

I have checked nesting bluebirds too early in the morning once or twice and disturbed the female while she was trying to lay her egg, so I learned not to check PM too early. I can imagine how I would feel with a stranger peeking into my labor & delivery room, so I try to be sympathetic to the birds!
floridasunshinegoddess

Kathi,

It is my understanding that occasionally Martins WILL skip a day... especially if there is a change in weather. But, as you know, they will incubate them all at the same time.

Keep us posted on how things are going.

Wishing you the best!
Guest

Color me BLUE. This year is my manic-depressive season - up one minute and down the next. What a teeter-totter I am riding. :???:

I checked my one nest every day this weekend. One egg (the first) on Thurs, still just one on Fri, Sat, and Sun - and I can't blame the weather. The nights were in the 50's, the days in the 70's, low humidity, light breezes and no rain. Plenty of bugs - just ask the barnies, the TS and me! Today (Mon) the one egg is damaged. Not a pierce or a poke, like a wren or HOSP would do - and there hasn't been a wren or HOSP in my vision in a couple of weeks or more. This was more like a dent. "Blunt force trauma," they would say on CSI. I am absolutely, positively certain I didn't dent it when I was checking the nest each day.

So, I pulled it out - no sense in it rotting in the sun - and now I am back in "Wait and see" mode. I still have my boys' club of SY bachelors, with my one SY pair. At least I am seeing and hearing martins every day, even if I don't have any babies to show for it.

Tearing my hair out over these darned birds,
floridasunshinegoddess

Oh Kathi... How discouraged you must be! :x I am hoping they start all over and renest!

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! :wink:
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.

Oh my goodness :-( Dr. Kathi! (Don't pull your hair out - you'll look funny) :lol:

I'll walk outside past the colony and all the birds will fly and Mike says, "You're pretty scary lookin' to me, too!" :wink:

Seriously, I am so sorry for the loss of this precious egg. I'm pulling for you to get a renest, too...
Sincerely,
Laverne
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