Leucistic Martin Baby Fledges

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4159
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Leucistic Martin Baby Fledges

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:24 am

Around 7:30 am today one of two leucistic martin babies from the same nest fledged. A large mob of martins attacked the fledgling and its father managed to get the baby to a tree. I took a poor quality photo of the fledgling sitting in a tree in my backyard. This fledgling almost looks white, but it is a more pale gray with all its feathers reduced in pigmentation. It looks bleached. I believe it is more leucistic than albino. But what do you guys and gals think? There is one more in that nest, but I wonder if they will be able to survive since they are so different in coloration and the other martins are really harassing it and harassing it more than they do other fledglings. These two babies are almost albinos, but not quite it seems. The photo may bring out the pale whitish color more.

Please note that several days ago I conducted a nest check of my Goliad and found two leucistic babies in the same nest. At that time the babies appeared more pale gray/blue and both had dark eyes, not red/pink eyes which are typically found in albinos. But now the feather coloration does have a more whitish appearance. I can't lower the house to check the other nestling because too many babies are close to fledging.

And I managed to get one more photo after the fledgling tried to fly out with his father and other martins viciously attacked him. His father managed to get him to the lower branches of a small tree in my backyard where I took another photo. In this photo you can see the more pale gray look on his breast. His back area, including wings and tail have more of a white appearance. You can't see his eyes. But I believe he is more leucistic than albino.

I am afraid this little fella and his sibling of similar color will have a rough time surviving.

Steve
Last edited by Steve Kroenke on Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

Postby The Olsons » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:43 am

Steve,

This is a very interesting post. I am sorry that this poor little guy is being harassed by it's fellow martins and might not be accepted by them at all. Hopefully, it's sibling will fledge soon so the two of them can defend themselves a little better. When I saw the picture of them looking out of the Goliad housing they looked a little darker and I was hoping that the other martins would accept them as they do accept mourning doves and mockingbirds whose color was almost similar to the babies. But in this picture the fledgling does look very light in color. Other than the martins possibly not accepting them, what is their chance to survive. Does the leucistic condition affect their quality of life and life span? I sure hope it all goes well with them and for them and best wishes to you with these kids :grin:
Thank you for sharing the story and the picture and please keep us posted

Astrid
Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4159
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:15 am

Hey Astrid,

This little fledgling is having a rough time so far as the other martins view him as something rather odd! They harass him. But maybe his novelty will wear off and he will be left alone.

I posted another photo showing the more pale gray appearance on the breast. His back area, including wings and tail do have white coloration and it is more noticeable in flight.

Father did try to bring him back once to the Goliad, but too many other martins starting attacking the baby.

Probably lightly leucistic martins do OK or ones which still have enough of "normal" plumage so that the odd coloration does not stand out. However, these two youngsters are just too different and readily stand out like they have a target on their bodies.

Only time will tell.

Steve

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:31 am

That's neat Steve!

I hope it survives comes back to you next year.

Penny

Gary-La
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: Rural Louisiana

Postby Gary-La » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:39 am

Steve,

I was hoping that your leucistic HYs would be readily accepted to the colony as compare to the HY albino at my site last season. But it appears that it will have the same fate. They will be harrassed beyond belief. Other martins will mob these oddities to exhaustion. Almost making it impossible for them to find their birth cavity. Mine took refruge in any cavity it could quickly get into. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight....

Not much you can do but let nature take it's course. I did catch mine and wondered if I should of caged it? I called the Ft. Worth Zoo, but they said it wouldn't fit into their "bird theme". So I left it to nature and mine never returned after the 3rd evening. I felt fortunate to have experienced this phenomenon but at the same time was saddened.

I added the picture of my albino from last season so people can see the difference between a leucistic/albino martin. Mine was pure white, not off white, but yours looks lighter I think than most leucistics. Albinos will have pink eyes, leucistic martins will have normal color eyes. And it's bill/feet lacked pigment as well, yours look light in color.

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4159
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jun 24, 2007 1:59 pm

Penny,

It was unusual to have two leucistic nestlings in one nest. Both are very similar.

The one that has fledged today is still being harassed by a huge mob of martins while his father tries to protect him.

I doubt they will survive.

Steve

Gary,

I believe you are right. Every time the leucistic fledgling flies with his father, a huge mob of martins harass the youngster. He does fly well, but the other martins seem to view him as something to be attacked. He just does not belong. I don't know if the novelty will wear off soon.

The other leucistic youngster is still nest bound. I don't know what will happen tonight if the parents bring this youngster back to the colony. They will have to get him inside a nest quickly.

I doubt he will survive for long.

When I checked both nestlings several days ago inside the nest, I did notice their eyes were dark and not red/pink. But they are very leucistic with pale gray underparts and whitish wings and tail.

Steve

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:11 pm

Those Martins are just beautiful! Wish the other Martins thought so too...



29 sparrows dead since our trap opened for business...

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:52 pm

Steve,
too bad you can't put permanent hair color on them... then by the time it fades, the others will already be use to him! They sure are pretty!
Could they adapt here if you did keep them and build a large aviary (like doves)
Has anyone ever kept one? And yes I already know that you are not suppose too! I am just saying I think it would be better than letting them die in route to Brazil!

Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4159
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Postby Steve Kroenke » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:25 pm

Sony/Adie and others,

The leucistic martin fledgling has been abandoned by his parents and is viewed as a threat to the colony. Other martins mob him like he was a hawk, though they never make physical contact. He is constantly chased away. This evening Bob and I watched the poor little thing try to fly to the colony and about a hundred martins were attacking him over and over again. He is apparently getting weaker and almost fell into a cow pasture. I would certainly get him if I can. The rest of his siblings apparently fledged, but I have not seen the other leucistic fledging. I am afraid both are doomed.

Steve

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:25 pm

Steve,
That is aweful... Can you try to catch him? And what about the other one?
I like the stories w/ the happy endings!!!! I can't believe the parents would disown, knowing he was their bABY? iF THEY CAN TELL A BAD EGG, WHY WOULDN'T THEY HAVE SHUNNED HIM SOONER? They continued to raise him like nothing was wrong? and then all of a sudden.... everyone is attacking him... poor little guy!!!! I hope all works out, but it doesn't sound too hopeful! I am not going to read anymore on this subject... it's too sad! Have a great rest of the season ... I think you are great and all the things you are doing for the martins, but I will catch you on another post!
Good Luck,
Adiekaty

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:56 pm

I don't really know how to link to an earlier forum - this is the address. I just thought, on a more positive note, about the earlier post where a leucistic female was paired up with an ASY male. So, while she's not as light as the ones you have, it seems there is some hope for martins that look a little different! Of course, I don't know if there's been an update on this pair or not!

http://purplemartin.org/forum/viewtopic ... =leucistic


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 14 guests