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BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

While we wait for birds to show this year, thought I would share the story below about last season:

Early last season just after the sub-adults began coming in, we noticed a loud commotion coming from our 12-gourd rack. A young adult female had just arrived, and what an entrance she made! The adult females around her were loudly voicing their intent to protect their chosen gourds, and of course all the males were nearly flying into themselves trying to garner her attention and impress the young lady. This commotion continued to surround her as she flew around the rack and investigated ‘available’ gourds.

“Looks like we got a whirlwind just come in,” I said to my kid. But that was just the beginning.

It wasn’t long before an adult male with a choice gourd (from our perspective) paired up with the young Whirlwind. There was but one issue they had as a young couple: Whirlwind preferred a gourd on the lower level, just below the gourd the male had chosen. As a compromise, they decided to occupy both, which was a decision that led to a harrowing experience in the rain, but that is another story for later*…

Suffice it to say that nest building in two gourds at once was no problem at all for Whirlwind. Most other females in the colony were adult birds, but they had not gotten serious about nest building just yet. That all changed on a dime. In a flash Whirlwind was re-arranging the pine needles that I add as a pre-nest, gathering oak leaves and bringing in twigs. She was not hesitant at all about diving to the ground to gather nesting material from under the rack. She was the mark of efficiency! Remarkable in that she had never done this before, as she was just starting her second year of life, but yet she seemed to be far ahead of the older birds… Whirlwind indeed!

And she kept up the pace. *Whirlwind and her mate eventually moved into a single gourd. (Of course, it was the one on the lower level that she initially preferred.) I remember after she finished her nest, she would sit in the tunnel entrance and watch the other birds gathering material. You could almost “see the wheels turning” in her head. Perhaps she was planning for the egg-laying stage, but knowing her, she was probably way beyond that already! Her and her mate finished their nest first, laid their eggs, and hatched and fledged their 4 young before any of the other 10 pairs in the colony, despite their relative youth and inexperience.

Whirlwind is a good example to remind me that motivation, exuberance and hard work can go a long way to make-up for inexperience. I’m blessed to have her and all these birds to remind me of this lesson.

I look forward to Whirlwind’s return with fingers crossed for her and “all them crazy Martins” as they make their perilous journey home.

Wishing you all a great year,

May all your Martin dreams come true!
2009-2013 a few visitors.
2014: 1 pair of SY love birds, 5 fledges; 2015: 7 pair, 34 Fldg; 2016: 12p/54F; 2017: 14p/71F;
2018: 24p/103F; 2019: 29p/130F; 2020: 38p/190F
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:10 am
Location: IL/Gillespie
Martin Colony History: 2015 28 cavities 2 pairs
2016 big upgrade 56cavities 16 pairs great year
2017. 76 cavities 36 pairs
2018. 146 cavities

Great enjoyed reading that ,yes they sure do have different personalities and amuse us to no end with there antics ,hope wirlwind returns with many more to bless your colony good luck
2018 146 cavities.
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed your story! Good luck to you! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
Rodger Drye
Posts: 671
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:07 am
Location: NC/Mt. Pleasant
Martin Colony History: Have been hosting and providing a sanactuary for Purple Martins for 30 years.

Great story BW, I hope Whirlwind does return for many years to come. You can surely pick her out from the rest and that's Cool.!! Wishing you the Best.!!!!!!
PMCA Member
Have been Hosting and Protecting Martin's for 30 years.
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:37 pm
Location: IL/Hillsboro
Martin Colony History: 2011 Home site--1 SY pair--2 fledged
2016 Satellite Site---4 pair--19 eggs laid--17 hatched--16 fledged
2017 Satellite Site--8 pair--37 eggs laid--34 hatched--34 fledged
2018 11 pair--fledged 60
2019 20 pair-fledged 94
2020 23pair-fledged 108

Martins are just like people,,,It takes all kinds! I enjoyed your story, BW. Hope you have more tales to tell after the 2017 season. Good luck!
Jody in Central Illinois
Landlord in 2016
2016—4 pr fledged 16
2017—8 pr fledged 34
2018—11 pr fledged 60
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Jody, Rodger, Sharon and Mick,

Thanks, glad you all enjoyed it. Jody, yes, I had to get this story out before the bird's make new ones this year. In a couple months, it will be loud and noisy, but its such a good noise to hear.

All the best,
2009-2013 a few visitors.
2014: 1 pair of SY love birds, 5 fledges; 2015: 7 pair, 34 Fldg; 2016: 12p/54F; 2017: 14p/71F;
2018: 24p/103F; 2019: 29p/130F; 2020: 38p/190F
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