Will martins lay a second clutch?

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Location: Missouri

Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby TravisF » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:17 pm

So I think I'm going to have a final count of four nesting pairs this year. My ASY pair hatched out 5 of 6 eggs, which are 4 days old now. The first SY pair to start nesting are due to hatch on Saturday, 5 eggs total. I have another SY pair sitting 5 eggs in a Bo11 gourd due to hatch a week from Friday. The last SY pair would have had 5 eggs due to hatch the same day, but a male house sparrow started destroying the eggs daily after the third egg was laid.

The sparrows have been dealt with, and that pair of martins are still spending a lot of time in the nest and bringing in a supply of green leaves. Do you guys think they'll try to lay another clutch, or do they even have time. It's been five days now since the last egg was laid and destroyed.

On the topic of the sparrows, that's an interesting story. I've been having a heck of a time with sparrows this year. I've shot countless sparrows that have tried nesting along side the martins, but right after my ASY pair starting nest building, I had a male house sparrow that I just couldn't get a shot at. The second he saw me come around the barn, he was off. I had been lowering the house daily to remove his nest from the cavity he had claimed. I honestly was ready to just let him nest in the house with the martins as he and the ASY pair didn't really seem to bother each other. But after he destroyed the eggs on the other side of the house, all bets were off.

I ended up trying the glue traps that someone on here had mentioned. I know some people are going to cringe at that, but I had watched these birds for weeks trying to get him, and not once had I seen a martin go near that cavity since the sparrow had claimed it. Anyhow, I put one in the cavity last Friday, and I swear within two minutes, I had his mate caught. I left it alone the rest of the day, and on Saturday morning I put another trap in the compartment. Ten minutes later, I had another female caught. While removing the trap, I checked on the ASY pairs nest and noticed 4 of the 6 eggs had just hatched! I had to leave the farm for several hours, but planned to try again when I got back because I really wanted to get the male. This is where things got interesting....

When I got back, I sat by the corner of the barn for a bit, gun in hand, just watching to see what kind of activity was going on. Apparently the male house sparrow was on the back side of the barn the whole time, and I just hadn't seen him. I noticed the ASY male martin circling over head. Suddenly, he started alarm calling, made a big wide loop out over the field, then folded his wings and came in like a fighter jet! He disappeared for a split second behind the house, then reappeared locked in flight with the sparrow. He briefly let go, swooped up probably 10 feet, then dove back down onto the sparrow who was trying like crazy to get out of there. He literally drove the sparrow down into the lake! Both of them ended up in the water! Luckily, the martin managed to get air born from the water, but the sparrow didn't. So I go running out there thinking this is my chance to finally get him, but I couldn't get a clear shot because the male martin is circling/hovering over him a few feet above the water. I'm running as fast as I can trying to get there before he gets to the bank, bet when he gets about 3 feet from the bank, a bass devoured him! Problem solved!

That was a long story, but I thought you guys might enjoy hearing that. Apparently martins can get pretty defensive when they have newly hatched young!

Anyhow, what do you guys think? Do they still have time for a replacement clutch?

Posts: 2021
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.

Re: Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby ToyinPA » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:28 am


Wow what a story. You never know what will happen in the Martin world. This is a first, I think, anyone has posted that a Bass got a HS.

To answer your question....Yes they have time, but the real question is will they? Not all will re-lay. The fact that they are bringing in green leaves may be an indication that they are getting ready to lay another clutch. I'd give them a few days & then check the nest.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby TravisF » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm

Yeah, it was quite the sight. We had martins years ago at my parents house, and I've seen a few young martins get eaten by bass when they fledged too early and didn't make it across the pond. In this case, it just so happened they landed in the water while fighting mid air I believe. This male has became very aggressive though since the 5 chicks have hatched. He aggressively attacks any bird that gets within a 50 foot radius of the house. I hope that doesn't get him into trouble with more aggressive birds like starlings!

I think I might have a good shot of this SY pair laying a second clutch. I've got my fingers crossed!

Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: Will always be a wanna be landlord, martins or not!
2016- Two lookers-No takers.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged.
2018-18 pair. 85 fledged.
2019- 18 pair.
Home colony: 12 natural gourds, one modified house. 18 cavities in total.
PMCA member

Re: Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby C.C.Martins » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:21 pm

That sir is a great story!!! Those sparrows are smart, sly and frustrating as heck. Then to have the martin be part of its downfall then a big bass eating him up is priceless. Boy, couldnt have gotten a better story. Thanks for sharing! If you ever catch that bass, just let it go it did its job!

2016-Wanna be LL. Two lookers. nada
2017-5 pairs. 15 Fledged
2018-18 pairs. 85 Fledged.
2019- 18 pair.
Offering: 12 natural gourds, w/crescents and WDC openings. 6 modified compartment house, crescents with tunnels.

Posts: 629
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Re: Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby BillieJR » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:52 am

Great story - never ever thought of a fish eating a bird. lol! Love it!
Billie from southern Wisonsin

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Will martins lay a second clutch?

Postby TravisF » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:31 pm

So I now officially DESPISE sparrows. When I got to the farm after work tonight, I noticed a sparrow fly off the porch of the martin house on the same side that the two SY pairs are nesting. I went and lowered the house, and sure enough he's started building a nest in the only available cavity on that side. I cleaned it out, then checked on the two martin nests. Still no eggs in the one that had the eggs destroyed last week. In the nest that had 5 eggs due to hatch on Saturday, they're now down to three viable eggs as the sparrow poked a couple big holes in two of the eggs. It's very frustrating seeing a couple fully formed dead chicks that would have hatched in a couple days!

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