Chicadee Interference

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gotham
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: -Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967.
-2017 martin house taken over by starlings.
-2018 did research and purchased new martin house -Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays.
-2019 opened new martin house but frustrating season long battle with wily HOSPs (see posts) and martin visitors but no settlers.
-2020 Covid-19-honored request of locals that seasonal home owners stay away and only reached summer home too late to attempt to start colony. Aiming with determination and hope for next year.

Today is April 12, Easter Sunday. The Purple Martins usually reach Prince Edward County, where we have our seasonal home on the north eastern shore of Lake Ontario, about April 15, and last year I reported their arrival on April 13. As per my account posted above, last season was very disappointing, with our effort to establish settlement in our new martin house frustrated by a season-long battle with an unbelievably persistent and wily male HOSP. Since the middle of last August, when the martins left "the County", I had been looking forward to trying once more this season and prepared to do battle with the little son of a gun if he showed up again.

We had not counted on a viral pandemic. We live in Toronto, an epicenter of the disease in Ontario. Like many cottage country areas in the US, until the Covid-19 risk resolves, Prince Edward County is asking city dwellers not to come to their summer homes. There is concern that an influx of asymptomatic, but potentially infected, people could overwhelm the limited medical infrastructure in this rural area. There is also a worry that the new arrivals might want to "stock up", putting a strain on the local food chain.

We have, therefore, had to resign ourselves to missing out on the arrival of the Purple Martins this year. Perhaps we will be able to get to our summer home in time to meet the SY martins as they reach our region in the latter half of May. Meanwhile, we have to console ourselves with the fact that the martin house on the adjacent property is up, so the Purple Martins won't stop coming to our area.
Gotham
gotham
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: -Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967.
-2017 martin house taken over by starlings.
-2018 did research and purchased new martin house -Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays.
-2019 opened new martin house but frustrating season long battle with wily HOSPs (see posts) and martin visitors but no settlers.
-2020 Covid-19-honored request of locals that seasonal home owners stay away and only reached summer home too late to attempt to start colony. Aiming with determination and hope for next year.

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In my earlier post, on April 12, I said we were reluctantly delaying going to our summer home, so as to honor the request of the locals that, because of Covid-19, seasonal home owners stay away. Regrettably, we then did not make it to our lakeside property, with its martin house, until July 10, much too late to try to establish a colony.

On our arrival we were pleased to see no sign of HOSP's. However, we did note significantly less martin activity in the area than there once had been, continuing a 3-4 year trend of apparently declining purple martin numbers in our region. Fortunately, though, the dilapidated martin house on the adjacent property was again occupied (see attached photos "adjacent1 and adjacent2"), as it has been for decades. This gives us hope that some martins will return here next season.

The martins in that house left on their migration on August 1, a week earlier than last year and 2 weeks earlier than what had, for years, been their usual departure date of August 15, giving us perhaps another reason for concern. Sadly, they left behind a youngster (see attached photos "abandoned1" and "abandoned2"). I presume this is a nestling who was unable to fledge for some reason and had to be left behind. Although this problem may not have been able to be averted, it was perhaps made more likely by the fact that this martin house is unsupervised. It is very high up at the top of a massive steel pole that is secured at its base by large rusted bolts, requires at least 2 men to lower and was not taken down and cleaned after last season. Although we do not know the relatively new, and only intermittently present, owner of that property, we are now making an effort to introduce ourselves and to have him join us in trying to support the martin population coming to this area.

Next season we plan to make an all out effort to re-establish our property's decades long purple martin tradition, that was interrupted 4 years ago by a starling invasion of our old martin house. If we have the good fortune to start a martin colony in our Lone Star Alamo house we will do our best to be good martin landlords.

Gotham
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