"5" Lost Due To Weather

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Hanover Bill
Posts: 619
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

I have lost five Martins due to the recent cold snap, despite supplemental feeding. 3 ASY males, 1 ASY female, and 1 SY female. Yesterday and the day before I had several laying on the ground but able to fly when approached. The dead birds were all nothing but bones, no flesh on them at all. It seems as if they have reached their absolute limit of dealing with the cold, and the lack of feeding.

It is a good thing it didn't go on any further or I fear things would have gotten much worse. Finally yesterday and today we have warmed up some and they should be able to feed.

It's just heartbreaking to know these birds made it all the way back from South America only to perish here. It's too bad the migration is so early since we seem to be having these cold springs far to regularly.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
JoeD
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:49 pm
Location: MD/Westminster

Hi Bill. I am just south of you in Maryland. Looks like next week could be bad
weather wise again with 3 straight days of rain in the forecast. Hope the forecast turns in
our favor
Joe
ToyinPA
Posts: 2152
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.

Hanover Bill wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 12:52 pm
I have lost five Martins due to the recent cold snap, despite supplemental feeding. 3 ASY males, 1 ASY female, and 1 SY female. Yesterday and the day before I had several laying on the ground but able to fly when approached. The dead birds were all nothing but bones, no flesh on them at all. It seems as if they have reached their absolute limit of dealing with the cold, and the lack of feeding.

It is a good thing it didn't go on any further or I fear things would have gotten much worse. Finally yesterday and today we have warmed up some and they should be able to feed.

It's just heartbreaking to know these birds made it all the way back from South America only to perish here. It's too bad the migration is so early since we seem to be having these cold springs far to regularly.

Hanover Bill.
Bill:

Sorry for your loss. Any is too many. A bird (any bird) can not digest food & get any nutrients if they are cold. I remember Penny the rehabber telling me that. She always said to warm the chicks first then feed. So the cold/rain/etc weather prohibits them from feeding, they get weak, then cold. Once they get cold they use all their resources trying to stay alive. 3-4 days & they can lose a lot of chest muscle. They've now reached the point of no return. Some refuse to supplement feed & in those cases there is nothing we can do.

I try to stay on top of long range weather in spring. As soon as I see temps/wind chill drop the temp into the upper 40's I feed. We just went thru several days of day time temps in the upper 40's to the 50's, but wind chills had temps in the 30's to mid 40's. Not good feeding weather even tho the sun may be shining & things look good. Droopy wings, puffed up, hanging around the housing all day are red flags they need food. I try to fed 3 times a day, 4 if they are acting pretty hungry. I estimate 40 crickets per bird.

Many will starve during migration depending on the weather. I had 11 martins show up on May 2, 2016 about an hour before dark, looking like they had been thru a war. They were thin, had disheveled feathers & were exhausted. I had just gone out to feed my colony when they came pouring in. Most of them fed, but not all. They spent the night, but the next morning we found 2 dead females. The rest headed on north.

All we can do is try to save as many as we can.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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