Nightmare Day

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Hanover Bill
Posts: 633
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

Well I just suffered the worse day since I became a Landlord. I've had my ups and downs, but nothing like this. I noticed a dead Martin on the ground so I figured I better look into it. Next were 2 more on the ground which led to a whole house inspection at which time I found ,6 in my gourds and 2 more in my T-14. All of this even though I am supplemental feeding.

We continue to be plagued by cold wet springs in this part of the country. Last year was even worse for many landlords although I avoided the worst of it last year. It seems a lot of the Martins are so weak from the migration that it doesn't take much to tip the scale, especially for the ASY males that arrive so early. Hopefully the SY birds will fill in the gaps left by the unfortunate ones that don't make it.

Best of Luck;
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
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.

You tried Bill. You hate to lose any. Cold, wet, windy weather is bad for feeding & even tho you try to supplement you can't force them to do it. Females seem to hang back, as males are more aggressive. I'd guess lack of insects along migrations path. They can't feed much on the way, get here only to have to deal with cold wet weather & no food. Sadly they are too weak & too far gone to recover. A few years back I had 11 arrive around 7:00PM, just after a rain storm. My colony brought them in. They were all very weak, thin & looked like they'd been thru a war. 2 females died, the rest moved on north the next day. I was able to get some of them to take supplemental food. All you can do is try.

I recently read an article about a "fall-out" during fall migration killing thousands of song birds. The fall out occurred in the southern states. A cold front hit as they arrived there. Tests on them showed starvation. So what's causing the lack of insects? Pesticides, herbicides, weather?

We have noticed a major lack of insects in our area, as well as many less birds of all species.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Posts: 488
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

I am so sorry to hear that Bill. I lost at least 9 when the artic vortex hit us in the south earlier. It was with encouragement from northern landlords like Toy and others, perhaps yourself, that I was able to emotionally and physically continue. I tried with no luck to supplemental feed but I know the techniques and will attempt it again. Hoping things will get better. On a topic Toy mention I'd like to add that I, too, am concerned about the lack of insects. What will it take to convince those that use pesticides liberally that they are killing all our insects. I am at a point that I have to pollinate vegetables in my garden with a small brush because there are no bees. What will it take?
Last edited by brent on Mon May 10, 2021 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 825
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I am sorry to hear about your loss, I know how that feels. We had a late season ice/snow storm here in Texas in February. I lost 7 Martins. I captured one and put him in a cat carrier. I learned an adult male Martin will eat 8 crickets at a time and in two hours will eat 8 more crickets.

I kept him in the cat carrier for 8 days and he ate 40 crickets each day. By the time I ran out of crickets it was warm enough to let him go.

I am still seeing a lot of New Sy’s coming in with my Martins in the afternoons. They will stay a day or two then continue their northward track.

So replacements will soon be on their way to You!
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
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

Sorry Bill,
Thats such bad news, one of the many hard times in our purple disease. Losing one is bad, losing many worse. Like Toy said, you did what you could. A lack of insects and bad weather are beyond our control.
Doesn't make it easier.
Hope the rest of your season smoothes out.
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
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