Concerned

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Friends,
It has been an amazing afternoon. I have literally been swamped by Martins. First there were 3 then a dozen. Right now there are 7. My concern is the temperature is 41 and snow is forecasted. Earlier they were on the roof perches now they are on the porches. I'm guessing maybe it is too early in the day for them to enter the house. Since I have never had to care for them I have no supplies. I tried flipping scrambled eggs and putting some in an elevated tray. Weather is to be bad till about Tuesday.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
ToyinPA
Posts: 2174
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

phldave wrote:Friends,
It has been an amazing afternoon. I have literally been swamped by Martins. First there were 3 then a dozen. Right now there are 7. My concern is the temperature is 41 and snow is forecasted. Earlier they were on the roof perches now they are on the porches. I'm guessing maybe it is too early in the day for them to enter the house. Since I have never had to care for them I have no supplies. I tried flipping scrambled eggs and putting some in an elevated tray. Weather is to be bad till about Tuesday.
Dave
They will only accept supplemental food if they are hungry. If you get snow or rain & they are hanging out on your housing, wait until late afternoon & try again. It may take several tries until they go after it.

Cut the egg in 1/4 inch pieces. Try aiming towards an ASY Male. Make a sound/whistle each time you flip, until you get them going after it, so they relate it to you flipping. The ASY males seem to be the ones that will attempt to go after supplemental food first. Once you get one to accept it, the rest or most of them will join in.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Spiderman
Posts: 825
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Crickets worked better for me. If they are alive just put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. For me it seemed they recognized the flying crickets as insects and started feeding on them easier,

Dairy Queen makes the best plastic spoons....lol.

Good Luck! It takes patience to get the 1st one to eat. Pretty easy after that.

They will remember the process the next year when they return
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Well gang, they are still here. I think 7 spent the night in one gourd, and another in a compartment in the house. Four of them exited after 7:30 this am flew a little and are now sitting on the house. I think 3 are still in the gourd. It's only 26 deg and we have over an inch of snow, 40 is forecast for tomorrow. I fear they are merely riding out the storm and then they will be gone.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
ToyinPA
Posts: 2174
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

phldave wrote:Well gang, they are still here. I think 7 spent the night in one gourd, and another in a compartment in the house. Four of them exited after 7:30 this am flew a little and are now sitting on the house. I think 3 are still in the gourd. It's only 26 deg and we have over an inch of snow, 40 is forecast for tomorrow. I fear they are merely riding out the storm and then they will be gone.
Dave
Since you have no crickets try the scrambled egg again. Just do one egg & see how it goes. These 7 or 8 may decide to stay.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
detioh11
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: St Johns, MI
Martin Colony History: 2015 A few Visitors
2016 1 ASY pair 4 eggs 4 Fledged
2017 ASY male returned chased off by starlings
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 3 Pair with nestlings and an ASY male bachelor and 2 SY males around all the time fledged 16

I am in the same boat Dave. I had no Martin’s last year. Since Friday I have seen 3 ASY females. Two are in a gourd right now. Not sure about the 3rd. We have freezing rain and cold temps until Wednesday here in Michigan. It started getting bad Friday afternoon. I am going to go get some crickets and if I see them come out I will try to feed them. If they survive it is hard to know if they will stay or not. Strange that I have only seen females.
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Good luck Folks! I have always admired how much hard work you do up north to help the birds through the cold. Thanks!

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
paule
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:06 pm
Location: Central Iowa
Martin Colony History: 5 Modified Trios 10 Gourds and 1 B&B
2021 31 Pair ??? Fledged
2020 29 Pair 109 Fledged
2019 24 Pair 83 Fledged
2018 23 Pair 92 Fledged
2017 26 Pair 105 Fledged
2016 21 Pair 99 Fledged
2015 15 Pair 59 Fledged
2014 18 Pair 40 Fledged
2013 16 Pair 30 Fledged
2012 10 Pair 30 Fledged
Started in late 1980's

Dave,
As a landlord that has gone through this a few times, what I can say is never give up! One year before getting them trained I got them to eat meal worms (with heads pinched) flipped on our house roof while one female was warming herself. The rest followed. I believe they started eating them as soon as the worm would move. Could not get them to take anything on the fly that day. Obviously won't work now with the snow but maybe in the future. What I am trying to say is all this can be very frustrating but trying everything and anything usually pays off. That being said, even though I think I've got everything covered it is still a little unnerving on days like today.
Paul
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Project MartinWatch participants and supplemental feeding is provided. I also add heat to housing when needed.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2174
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

I just came in from flipping for the 2nd time today. They are puffed up, wings drooping, trying to stay warm. I'll flip again early evening. It's cold & windy, total cloud cover, rain is on it's way. Calling for heavy rain & high winds thru Monday. Tuesday we could have snow flurries. Yesterday it was 85 here! Temps dropped 30 degrees in 2 hours late afternoon yesterday. It's not to get into he 50's until Wednesday. So I'll be bundled & out flipping.

I'm so glad I got mine to supplement feed years ago or I know I would have lost many to the weather conditions. There aren't many in my area anyway, so I try to keep as many alive as I can. The next closest colony is about 20 minutes drive from me.

For those trying to get them to supplement feed for the first time...do not give up. All it takes is one martin to get them started. Try eggs, crickets, meal worms. Flip, place inside cavities, on porches, or a raised tray. Keep trying. The point is to keep them alive until the weather gets better & they can feed on their own.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Well most of them jammed into one gourd last night, I saw a couple others go in a compartment of the house. Was a cold night 20's and windy. Before leaving for work I whipped up more scrambled eggs and placed them in the elevated tray. One had exited and was sitting on a porch before I left.
Went home for lunch and they were soring overhead but soon landed on the house. I don't think it will reach 40 today. Another cold night ahead.
I hope the almighty sees them through for at least one more night.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
mwren
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 pm
Location: OH/Athens
Martin Colony History: I have had my martin colony on the dam of one of my ponds for nine years. The colony has grown each year, but I am now concentrating on helping friends and acquaintances who have shown interests in martins. My colony consists of three T-14's with 8 Troyer gourds attatched to each T-14, a Troyer gourd rack with 12 gourds, and another gourd rack with 18 Troyer gourds for a total of 96 nest cavities. I am having serious predation issues with hawks and owls and am experimenting with various hawk guards and "screens". Established successful supplemental feeding the last few seasons and have had a blast flipping mostly meal worms and some crickets. Faculty from Ohio University are using my colony as a research site to study parasites that target cavity nesting birds. In exchange for access to my bird trail nest boxes and martin housing, they are banding all birds involved in their study.

phdave, I am not having any luck with supplemental feeding either. I have tried flipping crickets, meal worms, and scrambled eggs the past 3 seasons, with very near zero success. I also have B&B trays up in the middle of the colony. On the food trays, the only birds I ever see feeding there are bluebirds and the occasional starling or sparrow. Last week during the last cold spell, I did have some success feeding a beautiful male yellow throated warbler who figured out that I had placed crickets in the tunnels and on the porches of my colony! He went to each gourd, and gobbled the crickets. The two very weak martins just watched from their perch! This little warbler even flew down to the back of my utility Kabota when he recognized the cardboard box that was carrying my crickets . He jumped in and out of the box, picking up a few crickets that were left!! It was amazing to watch this bird figure things out. I can only hope that my martins that are still alive will be strong enough to learn how to feed later today. Our temperature is still in the high 30's, windy and spitting snow.
I understand that timing must be everything with this flipping. The birds must be near starving to figure out what I am trying to do for them, and strong enough to still fly, and then return to their box safely. I worry about "forcing" these birds into the air when they are in such poor shape because the accipiters on my farm tend to view my colony as the best " McDonalds Drive-Thru" for miles around. I don't really have any choice today because we are close to 3 days in the 30's with zero insects airborne.
I am not going to give up, even if the yellow throated warbler is the only bird I have that is smart enough to figure things out! As long as I have crickets, meal worms and scrambled eggs, my birds will have a chance to save themselves. Wish me some luck.
Mike "Bird" Wren
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I hope this terrible spring has dealt the last blow of cold weather. I have seen a second pair of barnies get in the nest with a pair for the night. My barnies have 2 or 3 eggs in their nest that are probably dead. Do I remove them? The PMs have come and gone now several times with the cold wind, and the numbers are decreasing. Today I will get some flukers crickets and put them in the gourds for those that have remained. Hopefully no dead birds to remove.

Global warming is a hoax and I hope if governments are messing with the weather that they stop.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Well, 3 $10 jars of dried crickets from flukers at petco later... those didn't go very far in 40 gourds. One jar had LIVE INSECTS in it. I hope those gourds have enough seven.

There were 3 dead ASY males. Two were recent, probably from last night or the night before. One in the "old neighborhood" of first arriving ASYs had a dead male? that had been there for a while and was wormy.

This really does concern me as there are few if any teenagers, mostly only stronger ASY males. There was only 2 gourds that looked like they were nesting and only brown last-years leaves. The trees they like to get leaves from are putting out nice soft green leaves but there is a shortage of females IMO.

We'll see, but not good.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
detioh11
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: St Johns, MI
Martin Colony History: 2015 A few Visitors
2016 1 ASY pair 4 eggs 4 Fledged
2017 ASY male returned chased off by starlings
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 3 Pair with nestlings and an ASY male bachelor and 2 SY males around all the time fledged 16

Don’t give up trying to feed guys. If you have live insects you can try freezing them to kill them. Then thaw them out with warm water. Soak them right in the warm water. I got the 3 birds here to feed for the first time yesterday. I managed to fling a cricket about 3-4 inches from an ASY makes headband he ate it. It took 20-30 flips before he caught that one. It took about 10 more before he caught a second one. After that it was game on. This morning they flew right over to the garage when we came outside. After 1 day they knew we were their meal ticket. I truly believe these 3 would be dead if I hadn’t gotten them to eat. The weather has been bad since Friday afternoon. Keep trying and hopefully it will pay off.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1956
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.

Hi Dave,
It wold be ok to place scrambled egg pieces right on their porches to the sides, so as not to block the entrance. If they are hungry enough they will eat. They are also not likely to leave since they have been there for a while.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Well, I had almost given up seeing them today, fearing they had moved on. But they showed up at sundown. Hopefully they got their belly’s full with this 50 degree day, because the forecast is awful tomorrow and the next 2 nights. I never dreamed, whenever I got noticed, that I would have such a group that I would be unsure of how many there are.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
TheSmiths
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History:

Tried to attract PMs since 2004; began more ernest attempt in 2014.

Current housing consists of two modified Trio M12Ks and a round gourd rack.

2018 — 3 pairs

2019 — 6 pairs

2020 — 12 pairs; barred owl late in season


Monitor FILs colony as well as colony at park.

~15 years of providing housing for bluebirds, Carolina wrens, house wrens, Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, great-crested flycatchers and northern flickers.

Chris B wrote:My barnies have 2 or 3 eggs in their nest that are probably dead. Do I remove them?
Your Barnies are a little early aren't they?! I'd leave the eggs. You'd be surprised what those eggs can withstand as long as the parents are tending them. Do you have any idea when they started laying?
Chris B wrote:There were 3 dead ASY males.
Sorry to hear that.



Best of luck getting them to eat, Dave, and everyone else dealing with the cold/rainy weather.
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I removed the eggs yesterday. They were cold. This pair of barnies are real pros. I think this is their 3rd year but it may be longer. They had 2 broods last year for 7 total fledglings. This year they widened their nest so they may have big plans.

The PMs were pretty active last evening. I don't see how those dried crickets have much for them but better than nothing and I bot all they had. Was I supposed to wet them? I will drive the mower around the grass today and hopefully raise some skeeters. It's strange watching PMs fly low level like TS or barnies, but they are doing what it takes to survive I suppose.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Gang,
I am a little bummed out today, We had that storm move through yesterday, temp in the 30's with mixed precipitation. I got home after work and kept an eye out up til dark, and never did see any martins. I am hoping they were holed up in my site. Didn't want to disturb them. kept an eye open til leaving for work this am before 730 and nothing. I ve had them around since Saturday any thoughts?
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
phldave
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

After talking to the neighbors, they reported that they saw the Martins yesterday and low and behold they showed up a half hr tonight before sunset. I am almost convinced I may have a start this season. I think I counted 5 asy males and only 1 female. The boys have got some courting to do.
Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
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