Rain Warrior

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Recalling the story below about last season helped keep me from missing ‘them crazy martins’ too much over the break:

It was a bit late in the season to be house-hunting. At least 10 pairs of birds had claimed cavities in our 12-gourd colony. The 2 “available” cavities were in fact both being guarded by a pair of birds dominating more than one gourd. One of these pair eventually broke down under the pressure of feeding their 5 young and fighting-off birds interested in their “second home” next door, but that’s another story.

Another pair of birds, an adult male with a sub-adult mate named Whirlwind (1), had successfully staked claim to one gourd on the top level and one on the lower level. But one day when a heavy, driving rain came in, it seemed like at least 6-8 still-unpaired sub-adult males in the neighborhood were forced to seek shelter at our colony. There was chaos with all the sub-adults trying to enter occupied cavities.

But then, in the middle of all the ruckus, I noticed a sub-adult pair in the mix. They seemed interested in the top gourd currently claimed by Whirlwind and her mate. The rain showed no sign of letting up. The male was very busy repelling attempts by sub-adult males to enter the top gourd, while Whirlwind was doing the same in the gourd below. The new sub-adult pair were difficult to keep track of in the all the activity and soon got lost among all the other birds.

And then opportunity knocked when two sub-adult males began harassing Whirlwind in the lower gourd, forcing her mate to join her inside the lower gourd to thwart the intruders, but in the process the upper gourd was left unguarded. “Now’s your chance,” I thought. After searching for a while, I saw the sub-adult female cautiously approach the now empty upper cavity. And soon her mate joined her… but I waited, and waited…and waited! They hopped on the porch, looked into the entrance. “Hurry, now’s your chance” I said out load! But still they didn’t go in…until finally one, and then the other, entered.

Soon the gourd’s adult male ‘owner’ came back. When he realized there were two birds inside, he did a brilliant thing, he went and told Whirlwind there was a problem.

Now Whirlwind doesn’t sit around and wait for anybody. Without hesitation, she quickly flew up and entered the top gourd. There was a long pause…the rain poured down…finally a sub-adult head stuck out of the tunnel entrance, but it had to struggle for quite some time to get out. It eventually escaped, leaving the two females inside. Another long pause went by. Then a head popped out, but whose was it? She struggled for a long time before breaking free. But who was it? Once she got out, she went right back into the lower gourd…Whirlwind had been defeated! There was a new female Rain Warrior in the colony.

From that point on, both pair of birds were absolute model citizens! I saw no problems between any of them for the rest of the season. It made me think, “How often has mutual respect between two individuals grown out of an initial confrontation?” Deciding to get along turned out to benefit both tremendously: Rain Warrior was able to secure a much-needed cavity as egg-laying time was growing near; and Whirlwind spared herself the tremendous burden of defending two cavities while fledging 4 young. Rain Warrior and her young mate went on to lay/hatch/fledge 6 little ones. Chances are one of these young females will be here by mid-March, ready to make new stories for their pet human.

Best to all,
BW
(1) https://www.purplemartin.org/forum/view ... =2&t=32537
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
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.

That's a great story. Some days when I am watching my colony, I definitely think of "Days of our Lives" except this drama is real and for keeps. Last summer I watched an sy female claim a cavity away from my colony founder. He was using the second cavity perch as an additional lookout, he liked to sit there and wait for his lady to come in for the night, when she came in he would follow her in. This sy female had the guts to take him on, and win. She attracted a mate, built a nest, laid eggs, and then mysteriously disappeared for the rest of the summer. We'll see if she show up again this year.
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.
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Yes, they are quite the soap opera at times, but also sometimes a harsh reality show.

I did have a pair keep a second gourd next door (before the housing was full). They used it as a roost house after fledging, kind of like a vacation home next door.

Lots of luck,
BW
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
Post Reply