Central PA end of season report....

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ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

Congrats to those that had a great Martin season. Mine was not so great.....

The season started with a cold rainy & snowy April. Temps below normal. Early May was also below normal temps & wet. June was also wetter than normal. End of June a heatwave hit with the heat index reaching 110 with humidity to match. It was like being in a sauna. No relief. Mid-July another heatwave hit. Then the heavy rains came & forgot to leave. We've been stuck in this pattern ever since. We had 9 inches of rain in 4 days, with a total of 13 inches in July. August 1st-4th we had another 6 inches. Got a few days break & you guessed it more rain. It's just won't quit. Some areas have gotten almost 8 inches of rain today alone. Cars washing away, campers washing away, people needing rescued by boat, roads washed away, bridges gone, homes flooded. It's been a major mess across central PA. Flash flooding & flooding have been the norm all summer. It's rained 20 out of the last 29 days alone. News is reporting flooding & evacuations right now...again.

I had 17 pair in 2017. A cold front destroyed most of the 83 eggs laid. 18 hatched, 9 died, 9 fledged.

This year I didn't get them all back. I only had 10 ASY Males & 2 SY Males, with a few other SY Males visiting daily, but I lacked Females.

2018 Counts:

10 ASY Males. 2 killed. One in a fight with anther ASY-M, one by a Starling.
2 SY Males - that stayed. Had 1 paired with a SY-F, but they never laid any eggs. The other had no mate. I had a few other SY-M's visit daily.
2 ASY Females
5 SY Females - lost 2 to I assume hawks while they were at the river feeding. So I ended up with 3 SY -F.

Only had 5 pair/nests with eggs.
Eggs laid 29
Eggs hatched 22
Chicks died 12 - dehydration from heatwave
Chicks Fledged 10

I lost 2 nests, with 5 chicks each, only a few days after they hatched due to the heatwave. I tried to save them, but they were too dehydrated.

I lost one chick that was 22 days old. He either fell off the balcony or got pushed off. He laid in yard, in the hot sun all day, temp 95/HI 106. We weren't home most of the day. Had I been home I could have saved him.

Only had 5 nests with eggs, hatched. One nest failed & re-nested. The pair that re-nested were both ASY's.

Due to the rain & heat I flipped over 5000 crickets to these 5 pair, plus a few SY stragglers. The martins struggled to find food from the time they arrived most days.

The last nest (re-nest) had 5 eggs. 3 hatched on July 9th, 2 on July 10th. The last one hatched was very tiny. About 1/3 the size of the first 3. I knew he wouldn't make it, so I hand fed him crickets dipped in water twice daily & kept him in the nest. He grew, but was smaller than the rest. Due to all the rain this nest had tons of blowfly larva. I changed the nest 6 times right up to age 24 days. 3 chicks fledged on day 28 & the other 2 fledged on day 30. Once they fledged they never came back. The last I saw them was the day the last 2 fledged on August 8th, sitting in the top of a tree a few houses away. Then they, with their parents & the other nest fo fledged chicks & the SY's, all headed to the river. Others were hanging around waiting for them. One nest of 4 chicks hung around for a couple weeks, along with stray SY males. I assume they all headed to Erie to the roost, where they could find dry weather & food.

We also had a nest of 5 House Finches in a hanging plant on our front porch. They all died within 2 days due to the heatwave.

It's been a very trying martin season. All I can hope for is next year we have a lot less rain & a better Martin season. Even with the weather issue I fledged 1 chick more this year than last year, even then it was way less than normal.

Toy in a very soggy PA
PMCA Member
Buckeyefarmer
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:33 am
Location: Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2015- 0 visitors
2016- 0 visitors
2017- built T-14+songbird magnet, 6 pairs,15 fledged
2018- built 2nd T-14. Anxiously waiting!!

Wow! That has been some terrible weather. Surely you’ll have better luck next year. You need to be commended for flipping that many crickets, job well done!!
Mark
Central, OHIO.
Hanover Bill
Posts: 616
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

Hi Toy; You certainly did the best you could for your Martins. You are overdue for a good break, hopefully it will come in the form of a great Martin season next year.

Weather is a strange phenomenon. I seem to sit in a pocket here where a lot of the rain and bad storms miss us completely, passing either to the North or South. Often times we are begging for rain in the summer while neighboring communities are dealing with flooding. It's hard to figure out.

Best wishes to you and all of the people in Central Pa. dealing with the flash floods, etc.

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
FarmerHarv
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:18 pm
Location: West Central Saskatchewan
Martin Colony History: 2018 - First house up in late June, lots of visitors brought over by “Percy”, a very enthusiastic SY male.
2019 - 10 nests, 51 eggs, 41 hatched, 40 fledged.

That's just a tough year, and your perseverance definitely paid off for those that fledged. A tip of the hat to you for not giving up and helping where you could.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

Toy -- Wow what a year.. The weather sure was different in different parts of the country. We had some rain but nothing what you all have gotten.. We will probably get the snow and you all will be dry.. Hoping better weather for ya, soon

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

Buckeyefarmer wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:15 pm
Wow! That has been some terrible weather. Surely you’ll have better luck next year. You need to be commended for flipping that many crickets, job well done!!
Mark:

It sure has been. Yesterday 3 counties in northeast PA got hit hard again. Flooded 3 times in 3 weeks. Homes washed off their foundations, cars washed away, etc.

You'd be surprised how fast you can flip 100 crickets, one at a time. Only takes me a few minutes, depending on how many martins are here a the time. I've tried platform feeding, but they won't take to it. I guess they like to see me out there freezing or getting wet right along with them, LOL.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

Hanover Bill wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:13 am
Hi Toy; You certainly did the best you could for your Martins. You are overdue for a good break, hopefully it will come in the form of a great Martin season next year.

Weather is a strange phenomenon. I seem to sit in a pocket here where a lot of the rain and bad storms miss us completely, passing either to the North or South. Often times we are begging for rain in the summer while neighboring communities are dealing with flooding. It's hard to figure out.

Best wishes to you and all of the people in Central Pa. dealing with the flash floods, etc.

Hanover Bill.
Thanks Bill.....I'm sure everyone here would gladly share all this rain. Maybe we could ship it to CA to help put out the fires.

Towards the end, not long before the last chicks fledged, the martins were soaked daily. I felt so bad for them. Then we caught a break for a few days, which allowed the chicks to fledge without getting soaked, & then they were all gone.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

FarmerHarv wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:30 am
That's just a tough year, and your perseverance definitely paid off for those that fledged. A tip of the hat to you for not giving up and helping where you could.
Thanks.

I feel it's my job to help them. God sent them to me, knowing my love for animals & knew I'd do what was required to help them. They came to me back in 1997. I had no idea what they were & had no house for them. Day after day they came back, sat on the power lines crossing my back yard & sang & sang. We got them a house & they've come back every year since. We had a lot of Martins before the St. Agnes flood in 1972, which wiped them all out. The only other landlords are on Amish farms about 20 miles south & west of me. They all got there colonies started several plus years after I got mine. So I guess I've helped in their return to central PA over the years.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

Dave Reynolds wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:17 am
Toy -- Wow what a year.. The weather sure was different in different parts of the country. We had some rain but nothing what you all have gotten.. We will probably get the snow and you all will be dry.. Hoping better weather for ya, soon

Dave
Thanks Dave....you can have the snow ;). I'd love a mild winter with little snow.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
bwenger
Posts: 1046
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Espyville/Pymatuning Reservoir Area
Martin Colony History: Taking care of 11 active public colonies and trying to start two more in northwestern PA. Also attempting to restart another one in southwestern PA, in Collier Township's Hilltop Park. In 2017, not sure what happened but the ASY male returned and then a couple of weeks later he was gone. It could have been weather related. No other birds showed up. I had a starling nesting at the Public site that I had trouble getting rid of.
In 2018, we fledged 629 martins at all of the sites.

Hi Toy,

Sorry to hear again about another rough year for you and your martins. We give you a great deal of credit for all that you do for them. In most cases, other landlords would have lost this colony long ago, but your determination has kept it going and we're all waiting for you to have a good year and fledge 70-80% of your eggs. That day will come, and we'll all be very happy for you!


It would be nice if you could get more ASY females back, since they would lay at least another egg per nest when compared to the SY females. Hopefully a good year will follow this bad year.


Take care,

Bill
Bill Wenger

Building the Purple Martin population one bird at a time!
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

bwenger wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:41 pm
Hi Toy,

Sorry to hear again about another rough year for you and your martins. We give you a great deal of credit for all that you do for them. In most cases, other landlords would have lost this colony long ago, but your determination has kept it going and we're all waiting for you to have a good year and fledge 70-80% of your eggs. That day will come, and we'll all be very happy for you!


It would be nice if you could get more ASY females back, since they would lay at least another egg per nest when compared to the SY females. Hopefully a good year will follow this bad year.


Take care,

Bill
Hi Bill:

It's been a major struggle to keep them going all these years that's for sure. The weather has been the major reason. We had over 50 inches of rain, as of 2 weeks ago, & have had more rain since. Sun has been far & few between since April. Most birds (all species) left early this year. Too wet for them.

When my colony started the next door neighbors had no trees. Long time neighbors passed away & then we got new neighbors. They drug home trees from camp. I think they are black popular. They grew very fast & very tall, but not really wide. They are now a good 80 foot tall & create a major mess all summer thru fall. 2 weeks ago they dropped half their leaves, all still green. We heard they will be cut down this fall. I can only hope, as I think this will help my colony. It will give them more open fly way. All tho the martins do like to rip the leaves off for their nests. One year they tore all the leaves off one entire tree top.

I can always use more females. I never seem to have enough for all the males that show up. In the end some males leave & don't come back.

It's not so much the lack of eggs. It's the darn weather anymore. Last year a cold front destroyed my best laying season ever. This year it was the rain. All I can do is keep plugging along & hope for good weather & lots of insects. I have 6000 crickets in the freezer ready for next season.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
C.C.Martins
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021:
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021:
PMCA member

Toy,
That was rough to read, mother nature sure dealt a blow to you, the birds and those folks in PA. Like most of us, we watch the weather and the reports from the north were cringeworthy. 50 inches of rain, good Lord!

You did save some of those birds, they wouldn't have survived without the feeding, nest changes and care/maintenance. Its tough when you love the birds so much, but you can only do what you can and cannot save them all. Despite all the downturns you assisted other landlords, myself included.

I truly wish you all the best, take care during the off season and steel yourself for a successful return next year Toy.
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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 heart birds wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:11 pm
Toy,
That was rough to read, mother nature sure dealt a blow to you, the birds and those folks in PA. Like most of us, we watch the weather and the reports from the north were cringeworthy. 50 inches of rain, good Lord!

You did save some of those birds, they wouldn't have survived without the feeding, nest changes and care/maintenance. Its tough when you love the birds so much, but you can only do what you can and cannot save them all. Despite all the downturns you assisted other landlords, myself included.

I truly wish you all the best, take care during the off season and steel yourself for a successful return next year Toy.
Tom


Thank you Tom for the kind words.

I would guess before the snow flies we'll have reached 60 inches of rain. Insane!!! All of central PA has been hammered. All I can do is pray for good weather next season. Crickets, straw & pine needles have been fully stocked for next season. We'll be cleaning out the houses soon & putting the covers on for winter.

Soon we'll all have eyes to the sky for these beautiful birds to return.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
C.C.Martins
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021:
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021:
PMCA member

60 inches, dang. seems we can do things for the heat like venting, shading and insulation. we can feed them when they are starving. we can protect them from the cold. protect from predators, bugs and give them fantastic places to live. Its the extremes in their environment we cannot fix. funny how we pray for rain but not too much, bugs, bugs and more bugs, warmth at just the right times and cool spells when its too hot, calmer days when its windy, windy days when its blasting hot and stand watch during big storms and worry.
The birds are resilient though and will survive just fine, and the dedicated beings that they are come right back to our back yards.

I did have quite alot of hummingbirds this year, lots of young Rubythroats and black chinned birds. Had 4 feeders going, they put quite a dent in our sugar. This last weak front pushed them south I think, havnt seen them in a few days. They would fuss at me when I was changing the water and would almost come up when I was hanging it up.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Hi Toy,

Once again you battled in a tough location in your small town there. No lack of effort on your part there that's for sure. Hope you can somehow turn the tide there. Sounds like those trees could make a big difference for you.

I still rooting for you there. I guess the only thought that crosses my mind is to make sure your housing is as warm, dry and ventilated as possible that you are using. Anything sub-standard in any of those departments only makes things tougher when weather does not cooperate. I had a couple tough years as well here and now only use certain housing to ensure things go as well as possible in cold, hot, wet, weather. Sometimes I have to adjust as the season progresses. My colony would have died out years ago without a bed and breakfast menu and only the best housing to battle the extreme elements here.

You are due for a better year of weather there next season. I know this year really was tough out there.

Good luck and keep the faith.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2137
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.

Doug Martin - PA wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:20 pm
Hi Toy,

Once again you battled in a tough location in your small town there. No lack of effort on your part there that's for sure. Hope you can somehow turn the tide there. Sounds like those trees could make a big difference for you.

I still rooting for you there. I guess the only thought that crosses my mind is to make sure your housing is as warm, dry and ventilated as possible that you are using. Anything sub-standard in any of those departments only makes things tougher when weather does not cooperate. I had a couple tough years as well here and now only use certain housing to ensure things go as well as possible in cold, hot, wet, weather. Sometimes I have to adjust as the season progresses. My colony would have died out years ago without a bed and breakfast menu and only the best housing to battle the extreme elements here.

You are due for a better year of weather there next season. I know this year really was tough out there.

Good luck and keep the faith.

Doug
Hi Doug:

They say it's been the wettest year on record for our area. All of central PA was hammered. Most birds (all species) left early due to all the rain. We just cleaned the martin houses out today.

I started years ago with S&K barns, then upgraded to T-10's, made from thick plastic dog kennel plastic. PMCA sold them for awhile. They do not get hot to the touch, even when it's 95 plus. I add heat packs when temps drop & they do stay dry. We added 2 vents to each room the first year we got the houses. My biggest issue is the darn cold/rainy weather & lack of insects. Lots of farms along the creek & river, so they get sprayed a lot. I have the B&B, but they refuse to use it. I have tried many times. So I'll just keep on flipping.

All I can do is keep on plugging along & hope for good weather & lots of insects.

Saw a small flock (20) Chimney Swifts overhead today. They circled for about 5 minutes, then they headed east.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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