What I would consider a productive week.

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Curtis Reil
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:51 pm
Location: Alberta/Tofield
Martin Colony History: I inherited this colony when I purchased the property from my Great Uncle. To the best of my knowledge, he had hosted Martins since 1977. Housing consisted of three twelve compartment units that he had built. Small compartments, round holes and no way to lower for managing. There were maybe 6-8 pairs here when we moved in. Through reading up on information provided by the PMCA and that provided to me by Bob Buskas, the decision was made to upgrade the housing. We are now fully switched over to North Star houses and hosted 58 pairs this season(2017). 60 compartments open for business and being so close to 100% occupancy, I believe we may expand housing offered next season. Expansion will continue contingent to high occupancy, being able to keep up on management and or until it starts to feel like work.

Well, the martins are back. That in itself is enough for this guy. However, this week has been somewhat grand. I've been able to snipe 3 bulls and one hen sparrow that attempted to set up shop. None of them made it longer than 45s on any house. Aim small, miss small. For the first time in 4 years I've seen a starling land on one of the houses. I'm sure they have, I just haven't witnessed it. Any who, this fellow landed for a peek while the martins were out feeding. All of my entrances are SREH and I finally got to see firsthand how effective they are at preventing the buggers from entering. I watched him go around to each of the 12 holes on his chosen house not just once but twice and was thwarted on all attempts until a .22 cal pellet sent him to hang out with the sparrows.

I had a fellow stop by who I had met only once before in a rather strange chain of events that I will not get into, but somehow we had discussed PM's in our encounter. He stopped in to let me know that as soon as he sees my houses up he raises his as he knows the martins are in the area. His??? Turns out that our chat peaked his interest and he erected a house and has continued to erect a new house every spring since. He now offers 48 cavities and had roughly 20 pairs last year. He wondered if I could have a look at his site. I did so and it is a wonderful spot. He has not done nest checks at all and does not offer SREH's. After looking at my housing and professing his battles with sparrows and starlings he will be converting from round to SREH. He is not sold on the nest checks yet but baby steps can lead to glory.

Today I got to engage in something rather satisfying with my wife. No not that! Haha... My daughter is in Grade 2 and the class is doing reports and will be doing public speaking on animals of their choice. Her teacher asked my wife & I if we would come in and do a presentation on PM's as I'm told my daughter has made it quite apparent we are passionate about these little birds. So, for the first time in roughly 20 years; I was in the front of a class room of 26 students who very few even knew what a martin is. Information & pictures from the PMCA site was used as well as from Bob's Northern Sky's site. We were even able to use the migration maps from the geolocator program to show the kids how far they travel. The kids are learning about life cycles, endangered & non endangered species and man's influence on the environment as part of the curriculum. The kids loved the presentation and the teacher suggested that we do a video a week of what's happening at the colony which the kids were very receptive to. Nest checks right from egg laying to fledging or whatever we want to share. These videos will then be shown to the class to finish out the school year.

So ya. All in all it has been a pretty darn good week. Now if the rest of the martins would just get their butts back here. I know they are on their way. I'm just impatient.

Oh yah! We had an SY female here last year with a band and an ASY female is here with a band. I wish I would have caught her last year so I could do so again this year & confirm that it is the same bird. Maybe this year. Pretty cool regardless.

Curtis
BW Fowler
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:01 pm
Location: TX/Buda

Curtis,

A productive week indeed. Thanks for all you and your neighbor do for your birds. Have a great year!

BW
2009-2013 a few visitors.
2014: 1 pair of SY love birds, 5 fledges; 2015: 7 pair, 34 Fldg; 2016: 12p/54F; 2017: 14p/71F;
2018: 24p/103F; 2019: 29p/130F; 2020: 38p/190F
Archer
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Way to go Curtis! Isn't is nice to know that your passion has rubbed off on somebody and now with a few tweaks, many more Martins will fill she sky. A successful week for sure!
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Curtis, this is great! Now how about doing a short speak at the Camrose Martin festival? They want someone to do a talk on S&S control, seriously you would be the perfect guy. What do you think?
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.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Hey, everyone don't you think Curtis would be fun and informative?
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.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

I have to bump this one, sorry
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.
Curtis Reil
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:51 pm
Location: Alberta/Tofield
Martin Colony History: I inherited this colony when I purchased the property from my Great Uncle. To the best of my knowledge, he had hosted Martins since 1977. Housing consisted of three twelve compartment units that he had built. Small compartments, round holes and no way to lower for managing. There were maybe 6-8 pairs here when we moved in. Through reading up on information provided by the PMCA and that provided to me by Bob Buskas, the decision was made to upgrade the housing. We are now fully switched over to North Star houses and hosted 58 pairs this season(2017). 60 compartments open for business and being so close to 100% occupancy, I believe we may expand housing offered next season. Expansion will continue contingent to high occupancy, being able to keep up on management and or until it starts to feel like work.

Thanks for the encouraging posts! I would most likely be game to give that a go but I'm not slated to be home for this years festival in Camrose. Should my schedule change I will most certainly let you know post haste.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Right On, maybe next year.
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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