2021 Lessons Learned

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birdman in buckhead
Posts: 16
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
2021: 13 pairs, 46 fledged

Greeting Fellow Purple Martin Landlords,

All of my birds have "flew the coup" for the year. :-( Bummed out that they are gone, but it was a successful season and lots of fun! Here are some interesting lessons and new things learned this year I wanted to share:

IMO:
- Gourds are far superior to houses for attracting new birds to the colony.
- Decoys do little, if any good at all with giving more time for birds to escape a hawk attack. Hawks just ignore the decoys.
- If quality/clean housing is available at your location, many ASY birds will leave their previous location/housing and relocate to your colony.
- Allow the adult birds to decide if an egg is bad. Don't bother putting an egg back in a nest if an adult had removed it.

Things I had never observed in the past:
- Watched an ASY female remove half of her nest from a house unit, then put the SAME material back in the unit. There were no mites or anything else that I could say caused the incident. Her mate just sat around and watched as this occurred. The ASY female below showed extreme interest in what was going on (she had 7 eggs in her nest at the time). The female eventually laid 3 eggs, but none of them hatched.
- Many eggs do not hatch. There were 2 nests with 5 eggs each that no eggs hatched.
- Some pairs do not remove hatchling poop from the nest like most pairs do.
- I'm not sure if my scarecrow helps keep hawks away, but I'll continue to put it out just in case it does some good. Hawks don't seem scared at all of live humans - much less a fake human.
- The dawn song is a real thing that I observed nesting birds do this year many morning before sunrise while flying overhead of the housing. I strongly believe this attracts birds to the location and is how birds were initially attracted 4 years ago. I no longer have to play the audio since birds return to my location and attract others to join the colony.
- With a larger colony than years past, adult birds stayed longer after their fledglings had departed. Many adults stayed until the last nest of chicks fledged.
GEAUX TIGERS!

Cheers!
Birdman
white-out
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

Great post and I'm hoping more will chime in with their hands-on experiences ...........

Things I had never observed in the past:

-with only one nesting pair(ASY's), I had 10 other birds stay for the last month.
-a martin land on a hawk's back while in flight.
-mites.....applied sevens after all 6 eggs where laid.......none at last nest check with 10 days left to fledge.....crawling with them after fledging.....feeling terrible about it
Dave Duit
Posts: 1953
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 www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Birdman of Buckhead,
Great post. It is nice to see landlords putting the time in t o do some good observation. We can all learn by watching their behaviors.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
birdman in buckhead
Posts: 16
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
2021: 13 pairs, 46 fledged

Hi white out - Quoting you "-a martin land on a hawk's back while in flight.". That had to be an awesome sight!!!

Cooper's Hawks are abundant in my area and they are creative. One day, while my birds were dive bombing a hawk about 200 yards away from the housing, another hawk attempted an attack on nestlings. Luckily, I was outside at the time and scared off the attacking hawk. I don't know if it was a coordinated event by the hawks, but it would not surprise me if it was. I realize it's a circle of life thing, but I'll do anything I can to prevent my birds from being hawk food.

After a mite infestation 4 years ago, I apply a little Sevin dust in each unit at the start of the season. Mites have never been a problem since then. I'm surprised the mite problem returned after fledging.
GEAUX TIGERS!

Cheers!
Birdman
white-out
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:21 am
Location: ohio

Birdman, I spotted a red-tail being harassed by "birds" and grabbed the binoculars. In the 20 seconds or so, I watched the same Martin land 3x on the red-tails shoulders. Each time, the red-tail banked to one side. By that time, you could have set an egg in my mouth easily.....just something you wouldn't believe.

To be honest, I can't believe how nasty that nest smelled and mite infested it was in just 10 days. I spend tons of hours shooting sparrows, starlings and grackles and monitoring these birds just to screw up in the end.

One more "Things I had never observed in the past:"

How much 'Martining" has slowed my pace and kinked my neck!
MJM
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 7:41 am
Location: Lexington, KY

"Things I had never observed in the past:"
- Watched an ASY female remove half of her nest from a house unit, then put the SAME material back in the unit. There were no mites or anything else that I could say caused the incident. Her mate just sat around and watched as this occurred.

...


Guess you haven't been married long.
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
PMCA member

Hahahahahahahahahaha, gasp, gasp, hahahahahaha,
MJM That was funny.....
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
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