Nest material

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Unk Bond
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:35 pm
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: I have had 5




I have had 5 years of enjoying my martin bird colony.




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Hello Alll
Who here uses ceder shaven's for nesting. Thanks [ Later
ToyinPA
Posts: 2166
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 put a small amount, just enough to cover the bottom of the nest tray, of cedar shavings in first, then a big hand full of white pine needles (pine straw). The cedar shavings will get wet if your houses/gourds let rain in. If you use cedar shaving it's best to do nest checks after a good rain. That way you can tell if your housing is letting in rain. If so the nest should be replaced with just pine needles (pine straw). If the nest has a mud dam you can just remove it along with the rest of the nest. They don't mind & won't rebuild it.

Some martins will just use a nest full of pine needles/pine straw, but others prefer to add to it or replace it when they build their nest. I offer wheat straw & dried twigs from bushes. They prefer thin twigs, about 3-5 inches long. Some will pack their nest with twigs, while others only use a few & some use none. Each martin is different in how it chooses nest materials & builds their nest. Some use mud, others do not. Some add trash like metal soda can tabs, plastic zip ties, plastic straws, tiny pieces of glass, ponytail hair ties, etc. you never know what you'll find. Once they get their nest built they will add green leaves when they are close to time to lay eggs. They also will cover their eggs with green leaves. They use green leaves to control humidity.

If there are eggs or chicks in the nest, put some pine needles/pine straw in a box or bucket, very carefully lay the eggs or chicks in (cover with a rag or towel to keep sun & wind off them). Change the nest & then carefully put them back. Avoid rolling the eggs around if possible. Always place chicks on their tummy, as they may not be able to roll back upright.

Nest checks are best done late morning (11AM) thru late afternoon (5PM), so as not to disturb the martins. Egg laying usually takes place early to late morning. You also never want to disturb them after dark, unless a storm brings down your housing. Once you change a nest they will not go in right away, even if they have chicks. They will stand outside & peek in for several minutes & finally go in.

Toy in PA
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Unk Bond
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:35 pm
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: I have had 5




I have had 5 years of enjoying my martin bird colony.




=

Hello ToyinPA
A exultant post well described with a lot of input. Very informational.
Plan to save this. Thanks for sharing. [ Later
Conrad Baker
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

Unk Bond wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:05 am
Hello ToyinPA
A exultant post well described with a lot of input. Very informational.
Plan to save this. Thanks for sharing. [ Later
Unk Bond, do you plan on mulching the pine needles and the cedar shavings together in one pile?
ToyinPA
Posts: 2166
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.

Conrad Baker wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:43 am
Unk Bond wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:05 am
Hello ToyinPA
A exultant post well described with a lot of input. Very informational.
Plan to save this. Thanks for sharing. [ Later
Unk Bond, do you plan on mulching the pine needles and the cedar shavings together in one pile?
Whoa....mulching??? They should not be mulched. In nature they would not chose mulched pine straw or mulched cedar shaving. I'd think mulched would compact into a hard mass or be a soaked mass if it got wet. Not a good idea.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Unk Bond
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:35 pm
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: I have had 5




I have had 5 years of enjoying my martin bird colony.




=

Hello Toy
Reply answer No. [ Later
Conrad Baker
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

ToyinPA wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:10 am
Conrad Baker wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:43 am
Unk Bond wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:05 am
Hello ToyinPA
A exultant post well described with a lot of input. Very informational.
Plan to save this. Thanks for sharing. [ Later
Unk Bond, do you plan on mulching the pine needles and the cedar shavings together in one pile?
Whoa....mulching??? They should not be mulched. In nature they would not chose mulched pine straw or mulched cedar shaving. I'd think mulched would compact into a hard mass or be a soaked mass if it got wet. Not a good idea.

Toy in PA
I agree 100% but Unk Bond posted a question on March 1, at 3:59 PM (Thinking out of the box) about mulching pine needles and stated he purchased a mulching machine. Just wondering what his plans were. I agree it is a bad idea.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 3142
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I would guess when cedar shavings get wet they would never dry out.
2021 Currently 62 nest 138 babies plus 110 eggs (6-317-21) HOSP count-9
2020 42 nest, Fledged 164 HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional lone SY's
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair 14 fledged.
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