Only a Few Martins Left at Tulsa Roost

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Dick Sherry
Posts: 774
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Last evening I checked the roost neighborhood, and could only find a small number of martins. There were 10 or so flying over the jail complex, and another small group that went into a tree with starlings around Brady and Main. Just west of that corner is a company named "John Martin Mfg.", but they apparently don't like roosting martins because they severely trimmed some trees between their building and the street. Overall, I think the birds were fairly safe in this location during the time it was used as a roost. We will see if they return to it next summer.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6210
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Dick,

Our Corpus roost is totally emptied out - I checked last night and nothing. On our last visit the previous week it was clear that we were seeing the tail end of the roost for the season. But yesterday evening another landlord in the neighborhood called to tell us he was seeing groups of martins flying overhead, groups of about 100 - and it appeared that they weren't heading towards the roost but either to another roost site we don't know of, or maybe just heading out on a longer journey, perhaps to the Rio Grande Valley roosts, or further.

We've been seeing nighthawks passing over each evening as well, and the ruby throated hummingbirds are hitting the feeders hard. they don't nest this far south but come in droves during migration. Each trip to the Hawkwatch site at Hazel Bazemore park allows us to see swallows and martins, hawks and dragonflies - all making the journey south.

thanks for keeping us informed about the roost - you and Tom Martin have been great roost monitors for years. thanks for letting us enjoy it along with you - this has been a better year for the Tulsa roost than others.

Louise :wink:
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Louise, I have always been curious about the migration of the Ruby Throat Hummers and the Purple Martins. I am no expert on this by any means, but it seems to me that both species must migrate into and out of Alberta on the same route and at very much the same time using weather patterns to their advantage. Our birds don't start their migration south up here until about mid August, yet you are saying that the roosts are void of Martins at about the same time. Shouldn't our Northern Martins be just arriving at roosts in your southern location about now? I also wonder how many Martins and Hummers from hear in Alberta migrate through Texas or would they head further east and head across the Gulf through Louisiana. This year, I hope they stayed further west and avoided this Hurricane. More important, I am very sorry to hear about the loss of Human lives and the severe damage the Gulf coast has received.
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.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6210
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Bob,

I am a newcomer to TX but John Barrow tells me that local roosts have usually broken up and moved on earlier (than this year.) He also told me that after a brief martinless time, occasionally very large roosts of martins from further north will form here at about the end of August (now) and might last until mid October. He said that in years when they don't, he believes the martins overfly the central coast of TX and travel south still further, perhaps to the Yucatan peninsula.

There is an annual hummingbird migration festival in Rockport/Fulton, just north of Corpus, in mid September, when hummingbird migration peaks. Hundreds of hummers can be watched visiting feeders and plants throughout the area, and in special viewing areas and yards in the community. But I believe hummers pile up all along the gulf and feed like crazy to put on weight before setting out over the gulf. Unfortunately, there will not be as many feeders waiting for them from LA to AL this year, at least not along the coast.

I believe as many as 9 species of hummers have been seen - maybe more. A good number of hummers winter in south TX too, but usually not rubythroats.

Louise
Last edited by Louise Chambers on Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dick Sherry
Posts: 774
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Louise, we are getting close to the time when nighthawks will be going over almost every evening in large numbers as their migration nears its peak. I go to quite a few high school football games each Fall, and part of the fun is watching the nighthawks pausing to catch flying insects around the stadium lights. Last Friday night, well after dark, a chimney swift came darting over the field, made a pass near one of the light poles and continued on its way. So it is possible to watch migration while a game is being played!

We did have a good year for martins in this area, and they seemed to go through the roosting period with minimal problems. I am hoping most of the martins from this area avoided New Orleans, but we will probably never know. Now it is time to think about changes to be made before next year.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Thanks a bunch for this report Louise, maybe if you see more Martins passing through in the weeks ahead it could be western Canadian Martins. Please keep us posted. My good friend and bander Hardy Pletze, banded a record 1956 HY Martins this year, so keep an eye out for a silver wildlife band on their left leg. By the way I have just one young Ruby Throat left here at my feeder, I'm sure he will be gone very soon. Some years we will get a few Rufous Hummers migrate through central Alberta in Sept. I will let you know if we see any. :wink:
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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