First bird of the season

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
blanch
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:31 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Good Friday Morning! :) I am new here. I joined the forum to ask for possibilities as to why my Purple Martins weren't returning after residing here for 16 years.

Between my application request and the approval time, two pair have arrived on April 15th. That is three weeks late. We have five houses with space for 60 nests, so our Purple Martin population is good sized, even though not every nesting place is occupied.

Our preparation routine for their return has not changed. The seed eating bird population is the same as always. We had that huge ice storm that took trees out like a tornado went thru; I don't know if that affected their return and I still don't know if I will see the entire family return as I have read these extreme weather events can be fatal to migrating birds.

At any rate, two pair have returned, so I hope to see more in the coming days. Thoughts as to why they were delayed are still appreciated.

I love my Purple Martins - they are smart enough that some of them face the driveway to greet me each morning as I go to the barn. A great way to start any day :)
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1247
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
PMCA member

Boy thats great. Watch what happens, they have the whole place to themselves don't be surprised if they jump around. Congrats!
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Dsbal123
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 9:28 pm
Location: Oak Grove, KY

It's 4-14-21 and I have yet to see a purple martin in KY near Clarksville. I have seen only one tree swallow who wanted to nest in my Wren house but gave up. I don't want to open my gourds until I see one so the house sparrows won't take up residence. Am I doing this wrong? This is only my 2nd year and so far no PM's.
LauraR
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:53 pm
Location: Cape Coral, Florida

It has been a week since the male found his mate. I see them almost every day flying around together. They are so much fun to watch. They haven’t nested in the house yet. The male use to spend the night in the house but doesn’t anymore. It seems like it is taking a long time but I am still hoping that they will settle down and nest soon. And still no other birds but them yet.
blanch
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:31 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Dsbal123 wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:21 pm
It's 4-14-21 and I have yet to see a purple martin in KY near Clarksville. I have seen only one tree swallow who wanted to nest in my Wren house but gave up. I don't want to open my gourds until I see one so the house sparrows won't take up residence. Am I doing this wrong? This is only my 2nd year and so far no PM's.
I’m in southern Middle Tennessee so not that far from you as the birds fly :)

I think it’s the unseasonably cold weather we’ve had - those ice storms were awful. For only the second time in 17 years, I had to lock my horses out of the main pasture for several days. Not only because of the ice but also all the tree damage on the ridge; I wanted to wait until all the broken limbs were pretty much done dropping before I let them out there. We have lost at least 40% of the tree thickness and it’s all laying in the pasture.

Meaning, I think the weather has been so messed up, the migratory birds don’t know what to do. My two pair of Purple Martins still seem unsure about settling in. By now I should have a fleet of Purple Martins picking out nests from any of the 60 they have to choose from :???:

Also of note, my Barn Swallows fly thru the barn, but they haven’t roosted yet- not at all like them.

I also have big decrease in Wood Bees, which is fine by me but the point is their population is very low compared to times past.
LauraR
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:53 pm
Location: Cape Coral, Florida

This morning I woke up to Purple Martins singing away. Now there is a different male with his mate. This male has his full darker color so I’m guessing it is an older one. They hung around for about an hour. I think they went inside the birdhouse. I’m not sure where the other SY male and his mate went to. I’m seeing a lot more activity now. Hoping they all stay and nest soon.
blanch
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:31 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Hi:). I’m bumping this up, as this is where I posted about the very slow return of our Purple Martins.

We now have about eight pair that have returned. The last four pair arriving this week. We have 60 nest spaces but I am relieved to see eight pair.

It is still unusually cold in my area. I notice the birds take off at their usual hunting times in the afternoon but don’t come back at the time they used to. I think it’s still cold enough that food hunting is an issue for them and they have to fly further for food.

We started with one Purple Martin house that holds 12 nests 17 years ago, and now have five 12 nest houses. We don’t use gourds as the wind where we live would carry them into the next county.

We take the houses down from their snake-proof poles in early March, every year, and clean them out. That’s all we do.

The seed eating birds have a feeder less than 100’ from the Purple Martins but everyone gets along. The two crows who have been here ~10 years will eat peacefully at the feeder, around the PM houses, and in the pastures.

The Red Tail Hawks mind their own business and hunt rodents in the main horse pastures.

One of the Carolina Wren has again, foolishly made a nest in the steering column hole of my 4-wheeler. She must not remember the feral cat got her second batch of kids :???:

Now if I could just figure out why on earth my Barn Swallows have started fighting amongst themselves :???: :???:

My point is that it has been a very slow start to all,of this^^^activity. Hindsight being what it is, I’m blaming the extreme and long winter weather on all of it.

I’m sure it will affect how many eggs are laid and hatched. As someone profoundly commented elsewhere “let the Purple Martins be Purple Martins” and also let the others be who they are going to be. Hopefully nature is still on track to reproduce only enough kids that can be fed:)
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