Too many unhatched eggs

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jdladybird
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Edinboro Pennsylvania
Martin Colony History: 2019 - 46 compartments- 123 fledglings
2018- 32 Compartments - 84 fledglings
2017 - 28 compartments - 86 fledglings
2016 - 28 compartments - 96 fledglings
2015 - 28 compartments - 47 fledglings
2014- 14 compartments - 33 fledglings
2013 - 14 compartments - 6 fledglings

As our season drawers to a close I am sad to say we had 53 eggs that did not hatch. The last T 14 that we opened for the season had all the nests abandoned along with several nests in the other houses. Is it possible that the SY birds that built nests and laid eggs just did not incubate? We are on track to fledge about 90 young so I know we did not have an owl attack. Plus I have owl guards and the “dancing scarecrow” that runs all night. We’re the “teenagers” just lousy parents? Has anyone else had this experience? We have had birds for 6 years and never had this many unpatched eggs.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1886
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".

............. How many eggs did your Martins lay in total... I have heard that any number above 80 to 85 percent is a good hatch rate.. per total of eggs laid.. ?

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: 2126
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.

If you had a few cold nights or a lot of SY's that could be the reason for so many unhatched or infertile eggs.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
jdladybird
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Edinboro Pennsylvania
Martin Colony History: 2019 - 46 compartments- 123 fledglings
2018- 32 Compartments - 84 fledglings
2017 - 28 compartments - 86 fledglings
2016 - 28 compartments - 96 fledglings
2015 - 28 compartments - 47 fledglings
2014- 14 compartments - 33 fledglings
2013 - 14 compartments - 6 fledglings

Dave,

We had 168 eggs laid. The weather when the SY laid eggs was great. So I don't think it was the temps. We lost 15 ASY birds to cold here in NW PA before the SY birds arrived, but the house with the most unhatched eggs was not open when the die off happened.

Julie
GFB
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:05 pm
Location: Ontario NY
Martin Colony History: I Started my first colony with my father in the late 1960's. Started building custom vinyl Martin houses last year 2018 and was successful with 10 birds fledged and it looks like several dozen birds are hanging around. Time to expand.
2018: 1 T-14 and 6 gourds. Fledged 10
2019: 2 T-14's and 6 gourds. Fledged 70
2020: 2 T-14's and 6 gourds. Fledged 111

That cold snap we had this spring was brutal, we lost 3 scouts that I know of. We had a couple compartments by SY birds with 5 eggs in each that never hatched so I think you make a good point saying teenagers are lousy parents.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Having all nests abandoned in your T14 plus some other nests abandoned makes me think you have a predator issue. Owls (or other predators) could be attacking at night and caused the others to feel unsafe and leave for another colony.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
NemoB
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:16 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Well at least I don't feel alone! We are on the coast in NC. This year we had the normal abundant activity at our houses and gourds from April thru June, but became concerned when we didn't see any fledglings. By August most of the Martins had left our area except for one pair that finally fledged 2 chicks. We took the houses and gourds down over this past weekend to clean & put them up for winter and upon inspection found nests in all but one cavity and several nests with 3-5 unhatched eggs remaining. If we had owls I think we would know (or rather the cats would tell us by jumping on our heads to see them out the window). We did have to fend off two sparrows earlier in the season, but that's actually a huge improvement on prior years. We've heard a few folks in our neighborhood report similar issues and the consensus seems to be the late cold snap we had here. Whether it was predators or cold weather, we'll be ready for their return next year!
Hanover Bill
Posts: 615
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

I would blame it on the SY parents. I have a feeling the loss of ASY birds due to the weather in the beginning of May was far worse than we may have thought. I know I had far more SY nests this season than usual, due to those losses. If we could only postpone the migration by a few weeks it would benefit birds and humans alike.
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
daveh
Posts: 653
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:40 am
Location: Kingsville Mo.

If there were piles of martin feathers and an occasional owl feather below your colony, you have owl problems. If not, then something else happened. Drop your houses every five days and check the birds. They get use to you and you know exactly what's going on.

Dave
PMCA member
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2121
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Hi,
Your hatch percentage is 68.5%, not the best but not that awful either, weather and temperatures have a big impact on hatch rates and fledging success. One year my hatch rate was down to 72.5% the very next year it was up at 90.5 % so they do adjust! I believe the average hatch rate is somewhere around 80% I think a nice thick pre nest layer of pine needles helps in colder climates.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Dave Duit
Posts: 1757
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I would say daveh and flyin low may have the answer in that of nightly owl raids. An owl if successful will continue to come back every night for a snack.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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