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kimtoby
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:40 pm
Location: New Baltimore, MI

My Mom has adored her purple martins for years - I would say it is her passion for sure. We had a tragedy this year. She lives on the lake and the water levels are extremely high in Michigan. The water comes over the seawall and floods the yard when there are bad winds. Her martin houses are erected on tall poles that are supported by metal plates screwed into them at the base. They have been fine for 20 years. This year a terrible storm came with 70 mile an hour straight line winds and knocked down the poles and they fell into the flooded yard. Despite the danger of lightening and wind, we rushed over to help try to save the birds. Sadly, about 30 babies didn't make it. We worked hard to save as many babies as we could with towels and heating pad until we could get the damaged houses back up. We put the babies we were able to save back in the houses. We are not sure if any of the babies survived. It was an absolute tragedy that still makes me cry, his happened less than a month ago. She had a huge colony. After a few days, only about 5 adults remained and we saw one live baby being fed. For the last couple of days, there are no birds at all. We are thinking that the babies that survived initially didn't make it and the remaining birds left.

My question is: Will this tragedy prevent them from coming next year? Will they remember the horrible events of that day? Is there still hope for next year?

I greatly appreciate any input we can get. My Mom is in total despair :(

Kim
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1303
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

They may return, it happens. Sorry to hear the news! Do you know what type of houses she had?
I don't know her situation, but id suggest she first:
Pick the best house out of the group, and keep it. Retire the others. Get a new pole for it if it was damaged.

Move it away from the water, away from trees etc.

Buy a new system, preferably gourds. PMCA has some great systems. Move it away from the water edge and trees.

Reason why I say keep one good house is that if the martins do return, they will want to see the old houses, but if offered gourds to choose from they can move in. The systems are very easy to use and easily expandable. Then season after this coming one take all the old houses down.
Again, sorry about the losses but it wasn't a predator attack, they would probably come back. Why not give them a new place?
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
kimtoby
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:40 pm
Location: New Baltimore, MI

Thanks for your reply Tom. I really appreciate your time. It was devastating to us. My Mom signed up today to the purple martin forum and is awaiting administrator approval. The type of houses she had was like this: https://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/RTPro ... 44QAvD_BwE - multi-level aluminum.
Martintown33
Posts: 170
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:21 pm
Location: Laplace,La
Martin Colony History: 21 year colony. 2 s&k modified houses and gourd rack

Very sorry to hear about this, Kimtoby,.. it’s very hard to see your martins go through tragedy. I double what Tom said. Get the strongest pole you can.. and landlords on here can help you with setting up your new housing.. but Tom pretty much covered it. You should have some martins return next year and you can start to rebuild your colony again. I know it’s hard to unsee what happened. I’ve been there..
Good luck, .. remember ., martins are resilient!
Rob
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1303
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

Kimtoby,
I can imagine, and sorry you all went through that. I have a tough time with one jumper, this would be a disaster BUT there's an opportunity to improve her colony for a long time to come.

Those are Heath houses. Lots of martins have sprung from them, I have one but put a ton of work into it. Its not user friendly at all and if just put up out of the box, not quite up to standards to say the least. Nor safe for martins. Tell the truth, despite all the work id get rid of mine but its safe now and martins like it. So every year it goes back up. The ladder will be the death of me.

I'd definitely look to get some new systems. There are lots to choose from, but I must say having a gourd system is a better bet. Its much more rewarding, birds are safe and happier. This disaster will be a thing of the past.

Once she gets her acct set up, have her join in and we will gladly help her out. Thats what we are here for, we all are a little crazy for our martins!

Look forward to helping her out. Martintown is right, martins are tough!
Tom
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
kimtoby
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:40 pm
Location: New Baltimore, MI

Thanks to everyone for your support, advice and encouragement!!! So happy to have found this forum. Long live the Martins!
Martintown33
Posts: 170
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:21 pm
Location: Laplace,La
Martin Colony History: 21 year colony. 2 s&k modified houses and gourd rack

Salute to that Kimtoby! Long live the martins! You will make a comeback and so will your martins..
Good luck next season,
Rob
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