Purple Martins laying eggs in Central Virginia

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cervey1
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Hi,

I have 8 gourds and I live in Central Virginia. This is my 3rd year having Martins. I haven't participated in the PM survey as I do not want to disturb them, but apparently it is ok to raise and lower the gourds. At the end of the season last year I found two dead birds in the gourds, so I now know I have to look in on them from time to time, especially in the hot weather.

Is now the time they are laying eggs? At first they were gone a lot, out and about. Today they all seem to be clinging to the gourds like soon to be fathers in the waiting room of a hospital. It's raining today but perhaps tomorrow I will lower the gourds and look in and take a count of what I see in there.

I just need a little assurance that it is ok to be raising and lowering the gourds every week.

Dave
daveh
Posts: 696
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:40 am
Location: Kingsville Mo.

I think it's important to know what's going on in the nest compartments. I drop all 7 houses and gourds every 5-7 days weather permitting. If you drop them often, the adults and the babies will get use to you, and will not stress out. When the babies are almost ready to fledge, I stuff rags into their openings so they don't leave early. I check for mite infestation. I check the babies to make sure they look healthy. I count them to make sure they are all there. Sometimes there are dead babies that need to be disposed so that it stays clean in the nests. Some nests may be short on nesting material so extra straw is added so that the babies don't get leg splay. Sometimes there are runts and will die if nothing is done, so I will place them in other compartments with same size babies and not to many, mabe 4 or 5 . It works pretty well. But if you don't lower houses, you won't know anything. If you lose your colony, you won't know why because you haven't lowered the houses during the season.

I've been doing the purple martin watch for 11-12 years. It's a lot of work but I think it's worth it. On average I have between 65 and 70 pair every year. May have tocut this down in the near future, I'm getting old. We produce 300-330 new fledges every year.


Dave
PMCA member
deancamp
Posts: 678
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

You can be assured you will not run them off by lowering your housing. If you watch them they will carry nesting material in such as small twigs, leaves, weed stems or the like before they start laying, but it's not a problem to lower and keep track of progress. Good Luck
Jeff Dean
cervey1
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Thank you Dave and Dean for the reassurance. I will lower the gourds tomorrow and take a look. Now I'm curious.
cervey1
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Well I lowered the gourds and looked in, it caused a lot of commotion, but they are back. They are still in the nest building stage. Anyone know when they start laying eggs here in Central Virginia?
Spiderman
Posts: 822
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I try and do nest checks at about 2:00 in the afternoon. If the eggs or hatchlings get too cold they may not make it. Mornings and late afternoon is usually feeding time.
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
cervey1
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Good to know Spiderman. Are they already laying eggs in Texas?
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