Supplemental Feeding in KS

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Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

My birds have had supplemental feeding before and they do not forget. I went out this cold and rainy morning and flung crickets and eggs and they took to them on the first fling (first flinging this season). A couple boys stayed in their gourds and I suspect they don't know the drill yet or they would have gotten out of bed to see what was going on. They will learn from the others though.

Please, if you have never tried or tried and gave up because it seemed like they just weren't going to ever get it...........don't give up. At some point one of them will snatch a morsel and that is all you need. I know one hates to waste crickets so fling some egg in there too. Using a bad weather event to train them is the time to do it.

I am doing all my flinging from the base of my B&B and then when I go in, I leave eggs/crickets there. I am really hoping to get mine conditioned to eating from a feeder this year. It will be better for them and me all they way around........

The forecast doesn't look the greatest for us. Good luck to all...........YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Dawn :)
KathyF
Posts: 3519
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Dawn,
*TIMELY* post! :grin:

I'm in a situation here with approx. 18-19 martins that have returned and a nasty weather outlook. We hit 54 deg. yesterday for about 3 hours, so I think the martins were able to feed for a short period. I have 1000 crickets that will be arriving today. But it looks like the next 3 days will be challenging:

42 deg. today & rain (it's currently 31 and sleeting :-( ),
43 deg. Saturday with rain / sleet mix, and
45 deg. on Sunday & cloudy (no rain).
50 deg. on Monday,
53 deg. with rain on Tuesday and
54 deg. with rain on Wednesday

My questions are:

1. With the martins holed up in the gourds / housing, at what point should I rouse them and try to feed them the crickets? Today will be their first day that they won't be able to feed. It seems that I wouldn't want to get them out in the rain/sleet today or tomorrow, as they'll get cold & wet and since they just fed yesterday, they would possibly not even feed. Will Sunday be a better day to try feeding or is that too long to wait?

2. What is the best time of day to feed...during the afternoon when temps are at their warmest?

3. Our overnight lows on Sat. & Sun. nights will be 28 deg., but I don't want to close off any house or gourd cavities as I'm afraid of spooking the martins into leaving to go roost somewhere else. If I just put handwarmers in the Trendsetter's 12 compartments, will they possibly be drawn to the warmer cavities?
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Guest

Glad they aren't here. Inch of snow and 31 degrees.
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Kathy,

Hopefully, there will be a break in the weather and the precipitation will stop. If you can watch your local radar maybe that will help you determine when would be the best time. If there will be no break in the rain, mist, sleet that you are experiencing, remember that the Purple Martins have been spending all their time outdoors and their feathers provide a fairly waterproof protection. The birds here will sit on top of the housing during a rain storm with their beaks pointed to the sky. They don't seem to be bothered by the rain. The cold and rain will be more uncomfortable for you than it will be for them. I believe the lack of flying insects is the "one" thing that keeps them holed up together inside your housing.

So, put some bugs in the air! Make those crickets look like they are flying. Fling them high overhead in front of the Purple Martins and I guarantee (if they are hungry) they will go for them. We have ten poles and while we were feeding there was a Purple Martin sitting on top of each pole. The gourd racks were lowered except for the one we were putting hand warmers in. We began tossing a cricket to each bird and I was amazed at how effortlessly they would jump out - fly out - catch the cricket and then quickly return to their pole. Often, when one bird would leave its pole to catch a cricket, another would quickly take its place. They were obviously very excited to see and eat the food we offered. It all started with one bird who had apparently done this before. When the others saw him catching the crickets, they joined in. I hope you have a good experience when trying to feed your birds.

If there is anything you have a question about please don't hesitate to ask. We all want to see you succeed and we don't want you to lose any PMs.

Sincerely,
Laverne
Sincerely,
Laverne
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Kathy,

This is taken from Ken Kosta's emergency feeding page. Ken has been instrumental in the success of feeding in this area.

quote:
The first problem I encountered is that the martins were nowhere in sight! When the weather is very cold (and windy), the martins often stay inside the housing. This poses a problem, because the martins need to see the crickets whiz by in order to catch on and start going after them. Therefore, in order to get them to perch outside the housing (either on the top perches, telephone lines, TV antenna, etc…), it is sometimes necessary to force them out by lowering the housing and temporarily leaving it in the down position. They will usually fly around for a while then come back and perch on the top perch or nearest available wire/perch. This is what I did today, and it worked well. Caution: If you force your martins out of their housing during cold weather, be prepared with crickets and slingshot, and be committed to persisting in your cricket feeding attempt. Otherwise, you will have done more harm than good by forcing them to expend valuable energy.

I know some do bang on the pole as well to get the needed attention and rouse them. We have fed in the snow, wind and freezing rain. The important part is to follow through with the feeding when doing so. Morning is good. Then again in the evening.
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Kathy,

If the temps allow them to feed Sunday and Monday - and they look like they might, the martins ought to get through this okay. But I'd try feeding if they miss more than one day of good weather/natural feeding. So maybe tomorrow and Sunday, see if they'll go for some crickets. You could get them keyed in to a sound, like a dog clicker - when you feed them. That way the ones inside will hear and know what's going on. Any time you see puffed up martins sitting on perches, that's a time to try feeding too.

It's nice you have enough martins back that they can roost together and save energy. I'd go ahead and put the handwarmers in about 3:30 in afternoon. We used 24-hour ones.

Our lone martin never came out at all during cold weather, we were glad that he ate the crickets we left inside gourd tunnel.
John Miller
Posts: 4773
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

I guess I'm getting more contrary, but have concluded it's best not to flush martins out into rain.

I've seen many more martin deaths during rainy spells than during cold and dry, and my conclusion is that it's take a lot of energy to preen and dry off.


So..have been holding off flushing them out all morning here; has been misting and light snow, but seems to nearly nothing falling now -- so off to the park with a bag of crickets. I put some on the porches and many more in compartments.

John M
KathyF
Posts: 3519
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Thank you to every one that provided such valuable information! I was able to go out after the rain stopped & finally got them started feeding. (see my post about supplemental feeding in Licking, MO! I'm sorry for hijacking your thread, Dawn :oops: ).

I will feed again this afternoon and probably throughout the weekend, as our temps are not expected to get above 40 until Tues or Wed. next week.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

Kathy.....you need not say sorry!! :grin: This is where we learn. I personally don't go out when the rain snow is coming down as it just makes no sense to stress them anymore than they already are. But, when the window of opportunity is open I head out there. That is why I want them to take to a feeder tray so that they can get something when they want it. Besides, I can handle the cold but my little fingers think differently!! :)
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

John makes a good point.

Better to not flush them into a cold rain. If you pick a dry time all the better.

Sometimes it rains for days. They still need to eat. If necessary it may be the only time it can be done.

Thanks John good point.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

I am on day two of flinging eggs/crickets. Today they were very eager for the morsels. Luckily, we have no precip falling at the moment although it is supposed to snow/rain. It is cloudy, cold and windy. I had 6 martins yesterday afternoon at last flinging session. This morning I had 10. Don't know if they are mine or belong to neighbors but they are welcome to come and try to stay alive throughout this spell. Still no takers at the feeding station but I am keeping it stocked in hopes just one will try it.

Good luck to all with this weather!! Happy supplemental feeding!! :grin:

Dawn
KathyF
Posts: 3519
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Hi Dawn,
So glad your's are taking your offerings right now too. Did you guys get any snow? It's supposed to be down to 28 here tonight - are you using handwarmers? [on edit] - Dawn, how often are you feeding?

My martins came out during the last 10 minutes of this rain and started flying circles around the chair that I left out and flung from yesterday. :shock:

I had to move my flinging spot up to my deck as the yard has about 4" of water in it and I really didn't want to go stand in the water. I was able to fling the crickets and eggs right over the same spot and up higher so this is actually working out better. I too just left a platter of crickets and eggs on the deck rail hoping they'll take it. One male flew over it 4 times checking it out, but no takers yet.

Thanks for all your encouragement and keeping us up-to-date. Just wish I had ordered more crickets in my initial order - I never knew they could be such piggies! :lol:
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

Kathy.....no snow for us at the moment. Although it is in the forecast for today, it is not materializing and I hope it stays that way. Even though it is only 34 with clouds and wind, adding wetness just makes it worse. Handwarmers, yes. I am feeding every couple of hours. I just came in from feeding and they were eager to eat. I will be ordering more crickets too. It is nice that eggs are just at the store. One of these days when our chickies become hens we will have our own eggs. :)

I'll be thinking of you as you stand in your backyard doing what I am doing in mine!! :grin:

Dawn
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