Western Canadian migration seems slow

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Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

High folks, I'm getting lots of people contacting me worried that their Martins are not returning in the numbers they expected. It is still fairly early, just wondering what you people further south are experiencing as far as the migration goes. Are our Northern ASY birds still on their way? Any input would be appreciated.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 809
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Bob,

I'm in central Wisconsin, still north but much further south than you. ASY numbers here are on par with past two years. 19 ASY pair and even two SY birds here a bit early. Weather has been on somewhat of a roller coaster as far as temperatures ( hit 80° a week ago and then hard freeze yesterday) but plenty of strong southerly winds.

Snow in the Dakotas has surely slowed them down. Good luck.

Ed
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1497
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Bob,
I do not know if western Canada martins use the Mississippi River Flyway.
But SY birds are still migrating through this area (Memphis, TN region) which is right on the Mississippi River.
Migration has definitely been slow this year.
I hope that everyone still gets more arrivals.
Mark.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

overall it seemed first arrivals were late this year.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
madattiver
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:44 pm
Location: SK/Saskatoon
Martin Colony History: 12 unit North Star + 4 gourds
2014 - 1 pair
2015 - 1 pair
2016 - 1 pair + 1 sub male (until my female died)
2017 - 6 pair

I am not experienced enough to know how many birds should be back at this time, but I have noticed a lot more song birds, martins included, showing up the last two days here. I saw my first house finch today and the colonies around me seem to be growing daily.

What are your numbers like out there?
Adam
Fifth Year Landlord
AllenH
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:37 am
Location: Minnesota/Crookston
Martin Colony History: 2008 2 pair, 2009 22 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 51 pair
2012 66 pair, 2013 65 pair, 2014, 59 pair, 2015 67 pair

2016 78 pair, 108 nest cavities

Bob,

ASY's Arrive here daily. They are not used to SREH and are in very poor condition. These birds stay for a day or two and move on after feeding heavily. First SY's arrived yesterday 1M, 2F also bad condition. These birds show up on SE wind in the rains.

I am about 50% of last yrs pair count (25 of 59). Several are busy nest building already now. New ASY pairs show every day or so and appear to be from my colony as they head to the feeders before finding a nest hole.

Strange year and now appears worse than last year.

Still hoping for a good year.

Al
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Thank You everyone for all your info. Keep it coming. Yes it is a strange year, must be all the rain and storms down south. hopefully we get more ASY birds here in the next week. We had 2 bad spring migrations the last 2 years, dont need another.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Archer
Posts: 778
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.

Hi Bob, its been a hard week on Martins in Manitoba. Six of the last Seven days have been poor or no feeding. I am thankful that I have been able to teach these Martins to catch flipped crickets and scrambled eggs. Its been such a joy to know they are not going to starve at my place. My numbers keep increasing, at least 4 arrived today. Most of my returnees are males with only three females thus far. 14 here in total. I am pleased considering six pair last year, and the subbies yet to arrive. Looks like good feeding for a couple of days before we get back into two days of cool and rain. Hopefully the bad weather is almost over. Any tips on how to transition from flipping to a stationary feeder. Also had a hawk fly through the yard today, as I was feeding. That sure freaked out the Martins, they stayed high up in the sky for a good hour.
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.
2020-62 pair.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Archer congrats on teaching them to accept tossed food. You now have it made as they know you are bringing them food. Now its time to teach them to eat from a raised feeder. Start with a platform feeder with no roof. Place Oyster shell on the feeder and also in a plate or something place a small amount of egg and crickets or meal worms. Toss a few close to the feeder and they will soon learn to land and eat from the feeder. Once they learn to eat from the feeder you can add a roof like my Oyster bar. Keep feeding them all summer when the weather is cool and they will begin feeding their nestlings. Keep us post here as to your progress. Follow my web site on the supplemental feeding page. :wink:
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
MaryH
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:08 pm
Location: Washington/Greenbank

Hi Bob,
I am new to this (second year) but happy to have ASY martins - about five - in the neighborhood since May 1. On the west coast of Washington State north of Seattle.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Cool nice to hear you are having success at your new colony, please stay in touch, what style of housing do you have? I think my Bungalows would work great out on the west coast. I have a sister that lives on Vancouver Island so I am fairly familiar with your west coast Martin program. Again please stay in touch Check out my web site and email me.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
MaryH
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:08 pm
Location: Washington/Greenbank

Hi Bob,
Too soon to call success, yet, with a mix of Excluder Gourds, piling cavities (worked last year), boxes and planning to try a mailbox.

I have been unable to get in touch with the west coast martin program, so a contact would be helpful.
sheila&dwayne
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:17 pm
Location: Bonnyville,Alberta,Canada

Our martins were early this year and there appears to be a good number of them arriving. no subs yet but still early. but numbers seem to be good..
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Well a migration must be happening now, we have rain and an east wind, lots of noise at my colony yesterday and also our first male Humming bird, this morning we have 2 Orioles sitting on the sugar water feeder outside the kitchen window. They are hungry so its time to get your Hummer and Oriole feeders out. Mary, I will look up some west coast contacts and get them to you ASAP. Sheila thanks for your report as well, glad to hear your numbers are good.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Mary, have you tried this link / http://www.georgiabasin.ca/puma.htm

You should also try to contact Bruce Cousins, he is very involved with PM's on the Island try this link https://www.flickr.com/photos/viucsr/7412090308/
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
MaryH
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:08 pm
Location: Washington/Greenbank

Bob, I thank you so much for the links which I will study and follow up for information about taking care of my birds. I am following your signature advice and offering live mealworms in a feed tray with the gourd array, and this evening the worms are gone and the ASY Female is looking for more! I have my assignment, thank you very much.
Mary
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Your welcome, stay in touch. be sure to offer Finely crushed Oyster shell on your feeder as well.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Archer
Posts: 778
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.

Hi again Bob, I have a platform feeder that I used last year for serving eggshells, the Martins and Tree Swallows used it a little last year. It is only about 4 feet of the ground and is permanent. I have tried using it as you suggested but them pesky crows clean up the eggs when I'm not looking. I generally like having the crows around as they will chase away owls and hawks, any suggestions besides the elimination of the crows?
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.
2020-62 pair.
Robbo
Posts: 623
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Leduc, Alberta, Canada.

Purple Martin population normal here so far in the 2 T-14's and 8 Gourds, almost full and Sparrow trapping to a minimium. Migration slow? that could help out the the neighbor that put up a new house last fall.
Rob
2009. 98 eggs, 66 hatch, 61 fledged.
2010. 114 eggs, 89 hatch,70 fledged.
2011. 96 eggs. 80 hatch,68 fledged.Heavy Merlin preditation.
2012. 89 eggs. 56 hatch, good fledge. Guards installed. Merlin not sighted at houses.
2013. First Egg May 24, first Baby June 13.
2014. successful.
2015. successful.
2016. Martin's population decline, suspect new housing in the neighborhood. Merlin eating well also!
2017.Population explosion :grin: . first egg May 25 in a BO-11
2018. Population stable.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Archer, take a look at my website, you could try my Robin Proof Oyster bar. It takes a while for the Martins to get use to the roof and sides but it does work very well once they get use too it. Email me privately and I can give you the details on it.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
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