I haven't experienced this before. Bed time.

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Whippy
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

I try to go outside as much as possible in the evening to watch the Martins come home. Usually they are just as loud as can be calling to each other and carrying on. It has been fun to watch and listen to them. So here we are tonight. There are 6 Martins remaining to go home for the night and they are all flying together in formation circling the gourds but being just as quiet as quiet can be. Not a peep out of any of them. I got out there late so I didn't see the whole lot of them come in but these 6 just flew around for about 15 minutes and then went home...without a peep.

I'm guessing they are doing this as to not raise attention to themselves during this time of night where they are most vulnerable to a hawk ambush.

Have any of you experienced this?

Coolwhips
Dave Duit
Posts: 1660
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi whippy,
The 6 remaining circling martins were most likely seeing a predator and waiting until the coast was clear to return to their nest. Circling behavior is a clue to a predator in the area. Most give out an alarm call for predators, but if it was late and most were already in their gourds, these few many have been silent to avoid a mass exodus in the sight of the predator. I may be wrong, but this is what I suspect and have witnessed over the years of being a landlord.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Black Jack
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Yes they slip in real easy. Not wanting to attract the bad guys. When i watch them zooming and soaring i say to myself they are kings in the air but when time to roost is there weakness. Everything put on this earth has its downside.
Whippy
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

Thanks for the replies, guys.

I suspected the lack of vocalization was a safety precaution on their part. I have 12 pairs and, out of all of them, these were the last 6 to go in for the night so it makes sense not wanting to spook them out into danger.

Prior to them all being paired up and having made their cavity selection, they are extremely vocal when coming in for the night. Very drastic change between now and then.

Coolwhips
mjfog
Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Whippy,
Your bird's behavior was similar to mine in 2018 when I had one rack. Birds would circle the colony near "go to bed time", a whistle would blow (kidding, but it seemed like it) and all birds would slam into the gourds. Now that I've 3 racks, that behavior has changed. Birds will circle, not in formation, but more like they are going to have midair collisions. Lots of vocalizations. Some will come into the gourds, enter or light on perches. Then, 10-12 that have landed will depart only to arrive 4-5 minutes later. All birds entering the gourds at the "whistle" is no more.
Be interesting what might happen when and if you add another rack.
Happy Martining, Mike
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

My birds when coming in for the night will start circling high in the sky and gradually move lower and lower, until they decide to come in and land. Not until the point they come in to land is there any vocalization. Then there are always some stragglers that go through that same process.
mjfog
Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Whippy,
I agree with deancamp. I said there were lots of vocalizations. Yes but only when the birds were very close to the colony; up high, not so much at all.
Mike
Whippy
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - ?

mjfog wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 5:54 pm
Whippy,
Your bird's behavior was similar to mine in 2018 when I had one rack. Birds would circle the colony near "go to bed time", a whistle would blow (kidding, but it seemed like it) and all birds would slam into the gourds. Now that I've 3 racks, that behavior has changed. Birds will circle, not in formation, but more like they are going to have midair collisions. Lots of vocalizations. Some will come into the gourds, enter or light on perches. Then, 10-12 that have landed will depart only to arrive 4-5 minutes later. All birds entering the gourds at the "whistle" is no more.
Be interesting what might happen when and if you add another rack.
Happy Martining, Mike
Mike,

That's what they have always done this year, circle in a non formation manner. I thought I'd be out there picking up martins off the ground after mid air collisions. They would fly in all directions circling, diving to the gourd rack and popping in and out of gourds etc. It was real fun to be a part of. I have 18 gourds on my rack. Last year when I had 4 pair, like you said, it was like a whistle blew and they all hit the gourds in unison.

I think I just caught the tail end of the colony going to bed. I haven't been able to get home in time to see the entire colony come in for the night. I just thought it was odd that these 6 "stragglers" were so quiet.

Thank you all for the replies. Always informative and interesting.

Coolwhips.
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