Smaller Subbies ??

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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

A pretty good wave of Subbies arrived here in Western Pa. in the last few days. One thing I noticed is that they appear noticeably smaller than the Subbies of previous years. Has anyone else noticed this or is it just my old senior eyes playing tricks on me?

Would appreciate other opinions on this.

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.


I haven't seen any SY Males yet, but the SY females that are here do seem smaller than previous years. This cold eat weather allowed me to just train 4 SY Females to supplement feed in the last 2 days.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
John Barrow
Posts: 958
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Hanover Bill,
I have seen hundreds of subbie (and ASY) arrivals this season along the Gulf. All are arriving thinner and hungry. Part of that, IMO, is due to the polar vortex in February which, we know from weather reports, extended far to the north and east of us. What I don't know is how far south it impacted natural resources. That freeze killed birds present at the time (and there was NOT an abundance of purple martins in the country in mid Feb.). But it also killed insects, plants and most other host material at the same time. Along the Texas Gulf we also experienced an extended drought that delayed recovery. Food resources are better with recent rains, but the local birds are still fighting to find food and nest normally. Migrants pass through quickly and it is understandable that they might arrive in your area famished by the long migration.

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Location: NE Alabama
Martin Colony History: 2018-First Year 0 Martins
2019- Lots Lookers
2020- TBD

I have one that's been coming looks almost like a hatching but goes in and out of the gourds like a subby looking to nest.

I will try and get a picture see if I can get a identification.
2018-14 Gourds First Year 0 Martins
2019- 14 Gourds Lots Lookers
2020- 6 Gourds had one male stay 3 weeks.
2021- TBD
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