We're SO sad!

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Guest

After pulling a purple martin from the pool last night, we put him back in his nest box and hoped for the best.

We found him dead this morning on the ground underneath the house. We're so sad ... he had made it so far! We're new at this so our loss is hard.

I can't but help but think that we did something wrong. ):

I hope that the rest of our babies can make it!
Guest

Assuming that you martin was a premature fledge, something did make it jump before it was ready. Was it lack of food as in a parent being killed; was it mite infestation; was it predation; was it poor housing design that might allow a nestling to easily fall or be pushed off a balocny by others? Only frequent nestchecks and observation can answer the question.

It might have been better to dry the nesting off before returning it to the compartment but generally, nestlings jump because they are desperate.
Guest

BMcArty -

We are, by no means, perfect at the PM house. We love our martins but we are just now learning about them and what it takes to maintain a healthy environment. Unfortunately, we inherited the house too late in the season to make the changes we want to make. When the season ends, we are going to try to make life for next year's group a lot happier including converting the house, changing the doors to excluder doors and weekly nest checks for S+S.

I think that the nestling didn't make it because it was just too weak (plus, I believe that the PM was at 26+ days). The parents were around and were feeding their babies. When we pulled the PM out of the pool, the mom was protecting her baby the best she could.

We've had screech owls in the area but the owl guard won't keep them out. Yes, we have sparrows in our house but we were told several times that if we remove their nests, the male sparrows might act out towards the PMs and their babies. At the end of the season we'll pull the sparrow nests and plug up the house. When the PMs are back next year, we'll pull out any sparrow nests we'll see. But, we will not kill the sparrows ... even it if it means sacraficing our PM colony. I don't believe in killing animals unless they are in immense suffering.

Our balocny has a fence around it ... I don't think that it fell out.

The other option could be mites but we are new and this and nest checks. We'll brush up on that for next year.

I've been around pet bird for 2 years and I've witnessed nature run its course many times. Sometimes birds just don't make it and if we interfer too much, we make it worse than it should be. PM are wild birds with instincts ... unfortunately, we get too attached!

We did all we could as humans and sometimes that's all you can do!
Guest

KellyannUt. my dear child, do not be too hard on yourselves whatsoever!!!!! No one can possibly put down a certain reason why a martin might jump out too soon, yes, they may be hungry, yes they may be too hot...there are so so many reasons, but you are not to blame yourself in the very least for losing this martin. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, i came home and looked out into the back yard and there was a good sized fledgling sitting on the top of the ladder. It was a little damp, and fortunately Don had been in the kitchen and saw the fledgling jump out of the gourd and unfortunately he did not get enough heighth, and he ended up in the pool. Don fished him out, we made sure he was dry, and after a few attempts at tossing the martin up high in the sky, it flew off and was soon surrounded by fellow martins. I am sorry you did not have a better outcome, but you are to be applauded for trying. the only way to go as far as being a landlord, is up. The main word to remember, is LEARN< LEARN, and never be afraid to ask. Don and i have been at it for years, and we have learned so very very much by coming to forums. We have been saddened to learn that we did so many things wrong in the beginning, but thank the Good Lord, the martins seem to understand that we are on their side, and they keep coming back. Also, if you are adament about killing sparrows, some are....you could come up with locating a place that could use them for food for their snakes, etc. If this idea still bothers you, I could say to trap them and drive them off, but believe me, you will be wasting more gas than it is worth. Being landlords encompasses a lot of things that some do not care to get involved with. Our neighbors expressed great desire this year to try and become landlords, but they told don that they would never ever cut down any of their umpteen trees in the back yard, they would never ever try to keep the squirrels away, and would no trapping of any kind...sooooo...we advised them that they just need to keep loving their own backyard, and just keep going on their daily walks where they stop and look and totally enjoy all of our martins and their antics. Sorry for the long winded post. I just am in one of those moods, I hope anything I said made sense, and I wish you only the best!
CUL Lou~Mich

KellyannUT. One thing I can think of you might have done. You could have put him into a shoe box, covered it with a light towel, and kept it warm for a couple of hours. It might have dried off enough to have ad a better chance. Also, if you have a bait store close by, you could have grabbed some mealworms, or crickets, and fed it. BUT, those are things you'll learn about as you go. As long as you did all you could, that's what counts. Since you say you are new, I'd like to suggest you read all you can. Read all the FAQs, plus all the stuff in "Archives" above. There's some good learning there. Welcome, and Good Luck. CUL Lou
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 one more little point.

This bird could have been a successful fledgling. He may have been brought back to your housing by his parents. Brand new fledglings have a little trouble getting back into their nest cavity. They will land on the housing in front of another PM's nest and be immediately knocked off. They will even be driven to the ground... or, the pool... This happens a lot! In most cases, they are strong enough to take off and try again and again and again until they finally make it.

My only suggestion would be to monitor the late afternoon, early evening return of the fledglings to make sure nobody gets left on the ground or in the water.

Best wishes to you for many wonderful Purple Martins seasons.
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

All -

Thanks for your suggestions. Next time something like this happens, we'll try the suggestions.

We looked into the nest box of the dead bird to check out its brothers and sisters. We noticed another dead bird and pulled it out. There is another nestling in the cavity and it was wanting us to feed it. We've seen the parents go into the cavity a couple of times but the parents are not as active as the other PMs.

Mites might be the culprit ... or could it be the fact that they didn't want to go in there with the dead bird?? We've read up on how to clean out the nest and we'll probably go ahead and clean it out just in case.

Any suggestions on how we can keep it cool for the birds w/out a misting system ... temp is suppose to get into the 100s this weekend.
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.

Kelly,

It could be that the parents have cut back on feeding in preparation for fledging. This is common and normal. The young PMs as nestlings are so well fed that they are generally too heavy to fly well. So they get put on a diet. They, also, will not leave the safety of their nest if it is too comfortable. The parents will often lure them with an offering of food. If they aren't hungry, then the parents have no leverage.

In my experience, a dead bird inside the nest cavity has no effect on the care of the living birds. It can't be pleasant, but, I've found dead birds inside a nest seething with maggots and then I have found the dried up flattened carcass of a dead bird beneath the nestlings. I am convinced they just continue on with day to day activities.
Sincerely,
Laverne
Guest

Laverne -

Excellent information. Thank you so much ... I read your posts a lot and they are very informative, compassionate and helpful. We'll keep our eye out for another fledgling in the next couple of days.

Thanks again! :)
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