A gang of martins redux.

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cphanson
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:48 am
Location: Stoddard, WI

This season (only my second) I have been fortunate enough to have one nesting pair in my gourds. I began lowering the housing and making nest checks about ten days after I first noticed the pair bringing tree leaves to their gourd, presumably to add some softness to the pine needle base which I provided. The first two nest checks revealed four eggs and the third revealed two featherless babies and two unhatched eggs. I'll conduct another check this week and I hope to find two new healthy babies. Last season I started a subject on this forum titled "a gang of martins" in which I inquired about the significance of a large group which visited my gourds in late June. I received many informative responses. Although throughout the month of June this season there have been periodic visits by individuals and/or small (no more than three) groups of martins, a few days ago a new "gang of martins" appeared, much like those which showed up last year. Yesterday I counted seven in the group. There were definitely no ASY among any of the visiting groups, and (although I am still a novice) I think most were SY and very few, if any, were females. This year the groups returned more often and hung around longer. Much as they did last season, this year's gang checked out all the gourds and often sat on top or in a gourd for extended periods of time. The subject of large groups of martin visitors has been discussed, at least tangentially, many times on this forum, with many theories, but I still haven't found a clear answer for why it occurs. Does anyone have any new thoughts as to why a large group will suddenly show up? Or, shall I quit trying to understand their behavior and simply enjoy all the activity?
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
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.

Not all eggs hatch. So the remaining two may not. Give them time tho, as you never know.

The green leaves are for 2 reasons. One, we assume, is to add humidity & the second is to cover/hide the eggs.

I'm guessing the martins you have showing up in small groups are SY's. Some males are hard to detect, as they may only have a few dark spots on their chest/abdomen/vent area, while others will be heavily spotted with dark feathers. They are sort of like unruly teenagers checking out the area. Some will hang out with ASY Males or Females & learn from them, while others just wing it. They could return as ASY's next year or not.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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