Flinging Crickets

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iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

I just came in from flinging crickets to my last pair (with four babies). It has been raining here since last night, and I figured they needed a little help feeding the youngins... :) ... I have taught them to catch the crickets as I fling them with a spoon from our balcony. I just say ?here ya go
babies?, and if they're hungry, they come. Sometimes they get within 3 or 4' of me. It is such an exhilarating experience watching them snatch the crickets out of the air. They took about 50 crickets, and when they got done feeding the babies, they stopped coming. I really wish I could get them to eat from a platform, but they just will not go to it. ... :-( .... I have tried putting egg shells/oyster shells and crickets on there, but they always go for the shells I have on the ground. The other parents are still bringing their fledglings back late in the afternoons. If it keeps raining like this, I think I will try flinging them some crickets too .... :) .....Pat
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did you train them when the weather was bad? I trying putting crickets on the martins porch and on a tray, and they didn't go for it. I cannot try "flinging" because they never perch or sit on their porch.
sharon
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Oh well, look at all the fun you'd be missing out on if they would eat from the tray... :grin:

I know what you mean - it seems like they are just too dumb to understand. Eventually, if you keep this up, one of these years there will be a bird who will make the connection in his little brain and then suddenly all of them will "get it"! But, you must be persistent... :wink:

I think it is wonderful that you are feeding them and they are feeding their young with what you give them. It just warms my heart!

...and yes, by all means, please feed the parents of the fledglings this evening - maybe the fledglings will try to catch a few... :lol:
Sincerely,
Laverne
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Hi Sharon.

I just wanted to point out that Pat's in Kentucky and they are getting rain from the remnants of Hurricane Dennis. Those kind of steady drenching rains keep all insects grounded and the birds can find nothing to eat. They will sit on top of their housing with their beaks pointed to the sky and sulk all day. But, when they have babies in the nest, I'm sure they are frantic to feed those hungry nestlings. So, this is a great opportunity to provide them with supplemental food. There is an honest need by the birds - or, as Pat said, "when they got done feeding the babies, they stopped coming."

Purple Martins will not accept food from you if they don't need it. That's why I don't think there is any danger of us creating a species of wild bird that we have to feed. But, when they or their young are hungry, then it's a free-for-all and very exciting.

Don't feel bad, Sharon, that you can't feed your pair - when they honestly need it (one day it will happen) you will be amazed at your instant success. I say this from experience. I was all pumped up to feed my colony - I was able to feed them one day in February three years ago. But, they honestly needed it and when the crickets started falling down in front of them - they went for 'em. But, if they are not in need, they will just look at you.
Sincerely,
Laverne
iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

Hi Sharon and Laverne, Sorry I'm just getting back to you, but my electricity went out and just now came back on.

Sharon, when my Martins came in April we had some really bad weather, and they weren't able to hunt. I had ordered about 1000 crickets, and took them out to their housing and started flinging them with plastic spoons. I think the key is to not fling the crickets at them, but about 15' away from them so they can see them and have time to react. Anyhow, I shot about 700 of them and all of a sudden I saw a female start watching the crickets. I flung a few more, and off the house she went after it. She took about 5 more of them, then the other Martins started after them. I got so excited and pumped up, that I broke the last of my plastic spoons, and had to go to town to get some more and I also got a slingshot. Thank goodness Wal-Mart had crickets, so I bought some more of those to. I came back home and started using my slingshot, but I find I can do it much better and faster with a plastic spoon.... :) .... Just make sure if you try flinging crickets that you have plenty on hand, as they are kind of slow to catch on, but once they learn, they don't forget... :)

Laverne, It sure would be nice if they would learn to eat from a feeder. I don't mind flinging them now, but it sure was cold back in April when I was out there doing it. ..LOL... I think next season I'm going to try to get my feeder up higher. Right now, it's just on a Shepherds Crook. I'll fling some more crickets this afternoon when the rest of them come in, and let you know if any of the fledglings take any.... :) ....Pat
Guest

I know I will get plenty of experience in April if the martins come back. I have seen the pictures of martins sitting on window sills trying to get warm and stay away from the snow. And a few years ago I got a frantic call from my sister to bring more bluebird houses....hundreds of tree swallows were trying to pile into the few bluebird houses she had....so I went and bought some more houses, brought them to her yard, and the tree swallos piled in to the top of the box. Didn't know about crickets at that point, and wouldn't have had time to FED EX them in anyway.

anyway...every spring we have freak snow falls, rain, cold, cold, cold. So the birds have a hard time.

I know Ed Donath feeds from his star feeder all birding season. He has them trained to eat eggs. He lives only about 60-90 miles south of me. Hope I get some more birds next year that I can worry about "training".

Sharon
iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

Hi Sharon and Laverne! I flung crickets yesterday afternoon, and again this morning. It has been non stop rain since Sunday night. The fledglings joined right in... :) .... They didn't do so well catching them yesterday, but are better today... :) ... I even had a couple of Barnie's come through that caught a couple of the crickets. :) The PM's haven't even left today. I think it's because it's a lot windier today than yesterday, and besides, they know where they can get some free food ....LOL.... I'll go back out this afternoon and fling some more if the weather doesn't break. I've got to find some kind of padding to put on the tips of my fingers, as they are getting pretty sore....LOL.... Well, I just wanted to let you know how things were going. TTYL.....Pat
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Good Morning, Pat.

Have you tried using a big nylon serving type spoon? You can load them up with a lot of crickets and launch them high and maybe it would take the pressure off your fingers. I don't know if you really need to fling a lot at one time - but, I know it would help your sore fingers.

I am so excited to hear that the fledglings joined right in with the cricket catching. Next spring, when it is so cold, and landlords start reporting that their martins are dying - word will get around that Pat is flinging crickets and all the Purple Martins will show up at your house...

Keep up the good work - I'll bet your nestlings haven't even lost any weight!! :grin:
Sincerely,
Laverne
iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

Hi Laverne! I do use a big serving type spoon, but it's hard to get more than one live cricket on it....LOL.... I am out of my frozen crickets. Next year I will be ordering more, because it's a lot cheaper that way. I launched about 700 crickets yesterday. None of the adults or fledglings left the houses to hunt. It was to windy and raining. This morning it was barely raining, and most of them were out. I flung about 20 this morning, then when I got home from staying with my grandson, the parents of the nestling's only took about 10. I'm so glad they had a good hunting day! My DH helped me fling them yesterday afternoon. I was thankful for the help. I put band-aids on my fingers and that helped a lot. Plus, I think they are getting callused up....LOL....I did a nest check/change and their nest was sopping wet! They still looked good and healthy... :) ... This will be my last check on them because they are 20 days old. Well, I better get off of here, the other PM's and fledglings are coming in and their making quite a racket. I'm going to go watch them for awhile... :) ... Pat
drdoo55
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 7:49 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Lomira

Sharon About two weeks ago on a Thursday morning the weather was not very good here,cold and windy. So I got some crickets and put them in there gourd and in about 5 minutes I could so them eating them.I did this two days in a row and they cleaned them all up.The next day I put them out on the bed & Breakfest and by gosh they were there within a few minutes getting them.And it is sure fun to watch.Now I have Martins comming from all over for my eggshells and crickets and I hope this is start of a good thing. Tony P.S. When they need they will them,but keep trying and dont give up.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

iluvbirds, your Martins will eat from a raised feeder if you quit feeding them Oystershell on the ground. Feed them only on the feeder and they will quickly learn. My birds eat from my feeder steady. Good Luck!
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
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drdoo55
goo idea to put them in the nest cavity....I have the house down now every day anyway to do the nest changes. Wouldn't that be fun if it worked....thanks....
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