Martins in Central Virginia

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Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

I thought they left July 29th. But subsequently they came back. Then left for a few days. Now they are back. What's going on? I wonder if these are the ones that nested at my place or some that are on their way to the roost area where they will prepare for the long journey south? I'm guessing the roost area is in Richmond. There are some pear trees at the Farmer's Market where thousands of them roost. I went to a Purple Martin Festival there years ago. Watched them come in to the trees in the evening. Glad to have brief sightings of them in these last few days.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1796
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 and join.

Hi cervey,
During the day near the end of the season it is very common for martins to be out teaching their young how to catch bugs. They are gone almost the entire day and then slip back to their housing at the end of the day. They also form small local roosts in surronding areas. Another thing that may be happening is other martins from other coonies that have started their migration south are stopping by your colony for a visit. Once you see the last martin ofr the season, I alway wait two more weeks before taking everything down for winter cleaning and storage. You will see others input as to the timing of when to take the housing down for the season.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Thank you Dave. I read in the forum the term "white bellies" and those are the ones that were showing up unexpectedly. I assume those are young Martins. Second year? I'll keep the gourds up in case some in transit stop by. I so enjoyed watching the Martins this second year. I plan on putting up a second pole with 4 more gourds. Looking forward to next year already. (for other reasons too).
Posts: 2959
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Male and females will both have light colored undersides until the year they are born and then the first year back from their first migration. The second time coming back the males will be all dark. It's one of the things that takes some time you learn being able to pick out the males from females when they are young, and even tougher is picking out the young females vs. the older females.

To answer your initial question it is not uncommon at the end of the season for them to be gone for a day or more at roosts. I hadn't seen one at my house for several days and then today while I was out on the mower I had several buzzing around.
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.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1905
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".

,,, Your right ... It’s not uncommon for them to come back in the evening.... My little ones fledged on the July 30th, and they have been coming back for 10 nights in a row... They come in at 8:10 to 8:15,, right before dark, and spend the night and leave at 6:30am.. I don’t see them all day, until just before dark... Maybe in another few days they will decide to start going South...

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
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