At What Point To Stop Nest Checks?

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birdman in buckhead
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 am
Location: Small Town Buckhead, GA (not ATL Buckhead)
Martin Colony History: 2018: 1 pair, 5 fledged
2019: 3 pairs, 10 fledged
2020: 3 pairs, 13 fledged

Greetings Fellow Landlords,

?1 - In years past I noticed parent birds getting very "edgy" when chicks are about to fledge. Birds from other nearby colonies would show up - I suppose to help guard the fledglings or to celebrate...?? At that point I stopped doing nest checks fearing chicks might try to fly before they were ready. Is this the correct thing to do?

?2 - I asked this next question in my post about a hawk attack. Thought I might get more input with a separate post. My birds (at last count 30 - mostly ASY birds with 15 chicks about to fledge), were attacked by a hawk or owl 3 days ago. As far as I know only 1 bird was killed and there have been no more attacks. The birds have been on high alert ever since the attack - squawking/divebombing me if I get within 20 feet of their housing. This rarely happened before. My question is should I continue doing nest checks while the birds are so anxious?

Thanks in advance for advice.
Birdman in Buckhead (BinB)
Posts: 1297
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

I have martins ready to fledge any moment.. but had to do a nest check today. I did not bother the compartment the soon to be Fledglings were in.. i did a quick check in a gourd to put in fresh straw and sent the rack up nice and slow. And to remove a dead chick in another compartment.

But yeah… Don’t do any nest checks when when little martins are ready to bolt if at all possible
Posts: 1116
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- didnt know anything about martins, put up an all wrong house in 2016 and had two come by and inspect all the cavities. Left soon after not to return. Learned what i could on PMCA made adjustments and next year was successful.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
Home colony: mix natural gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satelite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 gourds: PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mino castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
PMCA member

Some folks stop doing nest checks when chicks are about to fledge. Some use the plug and string method to plug the entrances with older chicks that way they can continue especially if there are mixed ages.

Up to you how to approach it, I plug and will need to do that this year.

As far as the hawk or owl attack and nest checks. My advice would be to continue. Watch for hawks in the area, look for other birds and see how they act if a hawk is spotted they will tell you.
Your martins might actually be safer flying above their site. Hope this helps you.
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

I use the plug and string method once the birds are 22 to 26 days old and even younger just to make sure all is ok. Next week most are at fledgling stage 26+ days old. Unless I suspect something wrong I will not check those. The plug and string works even up to fledging. I've done it before when I felt it necessary.
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