Advice Please!!

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TravisF
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: Missouri

So 25 of 27 nest have fledged now, so I went out tonight to treat the remaining two nest with sevens dust that are due to fledge in a couple weeks and I found two fledglings on the ground. They should absolutely be able to fly as there's virtually no sheath left on any wing or tail feathers....maybe an eighth inch or less on the two outermost wing feathers. One of them did have some sheath covering several of his wing feathers mid way up, then had exposed feather after the covered part all the way down to its base....almost like it didn't preen well for several days. Most of his tail feathers were the same way. I just barely brushed the feathers with my finger nail and the sheathing just flaked right off and exposed the feather. The second one looks completely healthy. I see nothing wrong physically with either fledgling. When I let them jump off my hand, they just fall to the ground without even flapping their wings. They appear well fed and are not dehydrated, and I suspect they came from the same nest. Any thoughts as to what could be the problem? Has anyone else ever seen this?

One thought I do have is possible neurological issues. I have a couple neighbors who have sprayed their elm trees for Japanese beatles in the last week and I'm wondering if the adults are possibly feeding the chicks beatles that have been contaminated with the chemical. Has anyone had any experience with this?

I have the chicks in a bucket for the night. I've fed them meal worms and some wax worms for added moisture just in case dehydration was setting in. I'm not sure what my next step should be as I suspect quite a few of my birds will be leaving soon. Tonight there were just a couple pairs with fledglings still hanging around on the power lines when I got home from work. However, most of the mob did show up around 7:45 and started roosting either in the housing or in the big oak trees across the road.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1802
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

If you are hand feeding them, you need to do so on a regular basis and often. I recommend soaking the meal worms in pedialyte as it will aid the nestlings in rehydration and electrolytes. If you know where the nestlings came from and the parents are still in the cavity, the parents will do a much better job at raising the youngsters.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
TravisF
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: Missouri

Thanks for the reply, Dave. I believe putting them back in the nest is not an option at this point. To be clear, these two birds are at a minimum 31 days old, so they're definitely at or beyond fledging age. All nest except three are empty now, and these nests are weeks from fledging (I misspoke yesterday by saying 25 of 27 nests have fledged, as it's 24). The last nest of four eggs finished hatching today. At this point, I believe a good portion of my birds have moved off with their young. When I got home tonight, the only martins I observed were the three pair who have the late nestlings .

I don't have a clue what's wrong with these two birds. When I say they don't flap their wings, I mean they literally don't flap at all when I drop them to the ground. They just halfway spread their wings and fall straight to the ground. They are not weak at all, as they're very active in the bucket I have them in. I really think it might be something neurological. There appears to be no evident injuries, and they do have complete use of their wings....they just don't use them to fly.
Guordman
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:34 am
Location: Mo

Where are you located? We are in NW Missouri and are down to just a few left. Seems to be early this year for them to have left.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1802
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

At this time I would try to contact an avian rehabilitator in your state and ask for their advice. If you are near a college or University that has an animal rehab program, (animal sciences department) try to contact them for assistance.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
TravisF
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: Missouri

I'm located just East of Jefferson City. I don't know if they've necessarily left for good, but they're definitely not hanging around the housing much at all anymore.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1802
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

This is good news Travis,
If they have moved on by themsleves, it indicates that natural instinct kicked in and they are well on their way to a new life.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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