YAY! Supplemental feeding in little old Licking, MO!!

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DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Greetings,

Even though I'm terribly excited to get martins this year, I hope the migration slows a bit. We just got another foot of snow and it does not seem to be warming up.

I was really hoping my mentor Wendell would chime in here. He encouraged me to start breeding my own meal worms. It seems to be very easy thus far. I have two large plastic totes, placed about 3 inches of starter chicken feed (you can use many other things too oatmeal, bran, chicken egg layer mash etc), then I sliced up a potato (moisture for the worms) put in my worms and closed the lid.

Wendell stated they will go through several stages, egg, larva, pupa and beetle. The only work that needs to be done is to continuously supply them with new potato slices or apple slices so that they always have a water/moisture supply.

I purchased both super worms and meal worms and will have a hefty supply of worms for next season if I need them. Hopefully Wendell will see this post and add more information. I so appreciate the advice he has given me. He has been a great mentor!

I built a B&B as instructed by my mentor and placed crushed egg shells, nesting material and this year I will put in some of my worms. Last year the pair I had used the B&B and I'm hoping if I get martins this year they will also use it as our spring weather is so crazy that I would be terrified I will lose birds if they don't learn to eat out of the B&B. Also, how awesome that I will have a never ending supply of food for them all wrapped up in a nice plastic package just waiting for the martins.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

TheCav- Thanks and welcome to the forum, and so glad to see a fellow Missourian here!

Don,
I'm going to setup a B&B today and keep trying to get them to partake from it. Hmmmm, slingshot - going to Walmart today, so I'll check it out. How do you keep from squishing the crickets / eggs & keeping them in the cradle at the same time?

Thanks!
"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
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

Tangula,
Your post gives me an idea that may help encourage the martins to the feeding tray .... adding oyster shells. I've been giving them the oyster shells for years, so they're familiar with what those look like.

Maybe if I add oyster shells and crickets to the platform, that will start the process.

And I agree, Wendell is an awesome mentor landlord!! :!: :P
"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
Jeff Robinson
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Rogersville, Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2008 thru Current
72 Cavities - 66 Pairs in 2017
PM Mentor

Kathy,

The weather here is TERRIBLE this morning and expected to get worse as it goes, all of it heading your way. I wish I had better news. It's 35 degrees, rain, thunder, a little sleet and snow mixing here and there, and getting down into the 20s tonight and tomorrow night. UGGHH!!

I can't help but think of all the landlords who're really struggling with current weather and a long stretch of highs in the 40s thru Thursday at least.

It really is a comfort to know that many like you, have taught their martins to accept a little help from their friends!! :grin:

Jeff
PMCA Member - Bedrock Colony
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

Jeff, thanks for the weather update...ugghhh!! Hubby and I have been watching KY3 all morning. I even have 4 martins out of their cavities sitting on the porches right now. We checked the radar and it looks like it will start clearing away about 2-4 this afternoon.

I'm going to Walmart this morning to pick up handwarmers - looks like the next 2 nights will be challenging too. Can't believe how many martins I have on board right now and now this bad weather!!! I can't even begin to express how utterly thrilled I am that they started feeding yesterday. I even had trouble sleeping last night thinking about the tenuous situation we're in and how bad it's going to be this next week....and of course the excitement of getting them to feed.

BUT - I'm still worried, because I couldn't tell if ALL of the martins were feeding yesterday, so I still had that small worry nagging at me...did ALL of them feed on my offerings and did they get enough? Were there any that were still in the cavities, just too weak to come out? That's me - a worry wart. :-(
"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
Jeff Robinson
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Rogersville, Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2008 thru Current
72 Cavities - 66 Pairs in 2017
PM Mentor

Kathy,

I really do think that you'll succeed in keeping all your martins in shape. Your determination and enthusiasm is as I've said before - Infectious! I'm sure your martins will prevail just because you are you! Your husband sounds very supportive. I'm very fortunate that my wife is the same - she wants to see our martins back almost as bad as I do, but not till this rain passes!

Keep it up - you're encouraging a lot of newer landlords out there - including me! Thanks from all of us! :wink:

Jeff
PMCA Member - Bedrock Colony
Keith
Posts: 415
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Missouri/Ava

Kathy F,
You apparently are a much better teacher than I. Have a teaching degree but maybe should have majored in Purple Martins feeding. Could not get the few Martins at my site to take crickets yesterday. I too feed egg shells on a platform so will place some crickets and eggs on this today. So glad to hear of your success. I know there are many landlords around us dealing with these adverse conditions right now. Best of luck.
Keith
landonn
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:50 am
Location: Indiana/Logansport

Kathy,

Congrats. I knew could it. My area is supposed to be back to 50s and 60s by April 1st. Hopefully I don't have arrivals till then. Good luck this week.
With such a good landlord they have they should make it.
Landonn
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

Keith wrote:Kathy F,
You apparently are a much better teacher than I. Have a teaching degree but maybe should have majored in Purple Martins feeding. Could not get the few Martins at my site to take crickets yesterday. I too feed egg shells on a platform so will place some crickets and eggs on this today. So glad to hear of your success. I know there are many landlords around us dealing with these adverse conditions right now. Best of luck.
Keith
Keith - I read an idea yesterday - don't recall where, but the landlord boiled some eggs, then mashed them with a fork - shells and all, then put them in the feeder tray. When the martins picked up the egg shells - they also got the eggs with them as they were all stuck together.

Not a teacher - I just do a lot of reading and experimenting - and I've stayed at Holiday Inns before! LOL :lol:
Last edited by KathyF on Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
"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
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.

KathyF wrote:BUT - I'm still worried, because I couldn't tell if ALL of the martins were feeding yesterday, so I still had that small worry nagging at me...did ALL of them feed on my offerings and did they get enough? Were there any that were still in the cavities, just too weak to come out? That's me - a worry wart. :-(
Kathy - this is why at the beginning of the season we don't open up all housing. We keep the early birds confined to a single house or gourd rack and even go so far as to keep part of those cavities closed. This year when we fed our birds, we lowered the rack they were in and did a "nest check" on each cavity that was open to make sure nobody was still inside. This is when we found the two PMs that had indeed expired. We replaced handwarmers at this time as well.

I don't know why those two ASY males died. Every other bird was alert, active and beautiful. They appeared to be doing fine. I have finally satisfied my own mind that it was just time for these two that did not make it. What else can you do??? :-(
Sincerely,
Laverne
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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.

What else can you do???
Laverne,
Thank you - I know you're right. I know we can't save them all. I'm going to be adding handwarmers this afternoon after this system passes through, so I'll be opening cavities to check. And yes, I've learned a valuable lesson about not opening up all the cavities at once! I'm glad I haven't put the other 24 gourds up yet too!

I'm already resolving myself to just be happy for the ones that are healthy and feeding and will raise many healthy fledglings this year. Thanks again - and best wishes for a great year to you!
"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
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.

Linda Reynolds-TN wrote:I am impressed that you did not ascribe to the theory that they have to be really stressed before they will accept offerings...........That is simply not true, as you proved today. Sometimes I think those that wait until the birds are really stressed before they offer food, close a window of opportunity for martins to accept supplemental feeding. When stressed and cold, they might not have the strength to capture the food.
I hope it's not my comments that are being referred to here. I have always said that if the PMs are not hungry they will not accept your offerings. I'm not trying to steer people wrong. I would simply hate to see somebody spend hours and waste lots of crickets tossing to birds that ate naturally today and are not hungry. I truly hope I have not offended anybody and I truly hope I have not given anybody bad information on this Forum. You guys are all wonderful and I enjoy participating in the transfer of information and experiences here.

Have a great day and enjoy your birds...

Sincerely,
Laverne
Sincerely,
Laverne
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

I went to Rural King and bought 2 of their slingshots ( $9.99 ea). You can shoot higher and get closer to the birds and get it way over their heads, especially the ones on the power lines, and also be accurate enough to get a count on how many crickets or eggs each one gets. The spoons work on the houses, but not as accurate for me. I do lower the houses and check to see if they are eating what I put inside the openings, which has been a pretty good success.
I'm waiting for around Noon today, seeing where the front and weather is, and will lower, replenish crickets in openings and add the 24 hr. hand warmers under the nests, would like to be closer to 3PM though.
I know most do not like to flush them, but mine come right back afterwards. So far they seem to be in good health. Only worried about 1 female, but crickets are disappearing in the compartment and the ground is clear. Thankfully the most birds are in my T-14 which is warmer than the gourds or Trio.
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
Linda Reynolds
Posts: 1308
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:33 pm
Location: Adamsville, TN

Laverne, my comments were in no way referring to you or your comments. My opinion is, and has always been, that martins do not have to be severely stressed or diminished in order to accept supplemental feeding. I have experienced this at my own colony site when we first began to offer food in 2003, and I believe Kathy's latest success also backs up my thoughts that they do not have to be without food for two or three days before accepting what is offered. I am so sorry if you thought I was being critical, but for what ever little it is worth, I was simply stating my opinion on the matter.

It is my feeling that there are many variables that might affect the level of success or failure when landlords first offer supplemental feeding. Not trying at all, will most certainly result in failure, and waiting will certainly not result in guaranteed failure or success. The martin's level of stress of course is a factor, but I do not believe it is necessary that they are critically stressed before they will accept food. A few other issues that I think might determine success or failure are: ......... How use to you and your presence near the racks are your martins? Have they just arrived and are they diminished because of the migration, or is it a mid-season attempt at feeding? Are the crickets or morsels the recommended size? How frequently, and for what length of time is the landlord flinging?

During the past 7-8 years, I have read many posts and stories documenting both success and failure.........I have read where some landlords fling about 25 crickets once or twice during a cold or rainy spell and give up, calling it failure or success. I have also read posts by landlords that do not perform regular nest inspections or associate with their martins other than casual backyard observation flinging once or twice every two or three years, and call it failure or success. Another example are report by landlords that persevere, try new methods under diverse conditions and call it failure or success.

My comments are directed at those landlords that wish to make an earnest attempt and I simply wish to encourage them not to close any window of opportunity. It certainly is stressful when one must stand outside during less than desirable weather conditions, but humans will survive, and possibly try again.....Martins might not be so lucky if they are already too stressed to use energy they need to reserve.
Ever-Grateful,
Linda
Tim Mangan-Kansas
Posts: 1728
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:25 am
Location: Kansas, Pittsburg
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 22 Pair

Kathy:

Congratulations on getting you martins to take supplimental feeding. (Now you know why I suggested you take a comfortable chair out with you.) You now need to be watchful for hawk attacks while feeding.

Tim
Licensed Bander
2015 - 14 Pair - fledged 68
2014 - Moved to Kansas - 7 Pair, 35 eggs, 28 fledged in first year
2010 Thru 2013 - Moved-Tried to start new colony
2009 - 46 pair, 217 eggs, 178 fledged
Mary Wilson-SW Ont
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Leamington Ontario

Hi Kathy and everyone. I have been away from forum activity for quite some time, but have been a "lurker", and so have kept up with what is going on. I am so impressed with your efforts on behalf of our precious martins, and am SO SO happy that you have jumped that first hurdle of getting them to fly after your crickets !!! I trained my backyard colony a few years ago, and am still in the process of training two large colonies at local golf courses, and I know the relief that comes with knowing that you can help them. Way to go !!!!! So very happy for you and for your martins ! This past Thursday I froze and bagged 17,000 crickets for our local purple martin club (Essex County Purple Martin Association, in Ontario), and am watching the scout report anxiously. Many of our club members feed, both eggs and crickets, and learned to do so after the disaster of May 2003 (?) I think it was.... when the long weekend was cold and sleet and nasty, and we picked up dead birds at the golf course by the bag full. Terrible, and I vowed then and there that I would teach our martins to accept help from us. So I know the relief and joy you feel at knowing that you can help them now. No, you may not save them all .... but the ones you save will be a treasure to you as they return from year to year. Best wishes !!!!
Last edited by Mary Wilson-SW Ont on Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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, Mary! Wow, 17,000 crickets?! :shock: That's a lot of crickets! Sounds like you stay very busy keeping your martins alive. I imagine that in your area, you have to stay very aware of any weather fluctuations during spring and be prepared.

I couldn't imagine having to pick up bags of martins, so I've resolved myself to doing what I have to do. Eggs are cheap!

Best wishes to you for a fantastic year!
"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
starling shooter
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:43 pm
Location: Central MO

This is martin killing weather for sure.... I don't think ANY will survive unless supplemental fed.

Mounting a feeding tray below their perch works well too. Once they see the crickets ( I freeze mine) and one hops in the tray it's monkey see, monkey do. Then you can transition to eggs.

Getting them to catch flipped cricekts is the first step. Congrats.
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

Thanks Kathy, its sunday afternoon and snowing lightly here in Olpe, Ks. I fixed some scrambled eggs this morning and watched Bruntdogs video and will try flipping monday as the martins arent out today. Louise posted that they sleep or rest in their compartments during bad weather and I hope thats what mine are doing. I counted 12 friday. My crickets will be here tue. Cant't believe this weather..suppose to be better mid week..Tony
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
KathyF
Posts: 3518
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 Tony - sure hope they're ok. I'm no expert at this - but I've now managed to get my martins to take just eggs. Will give out more crickets this afternoon. How long have your martins been without food?

If it has been more than 2 days, you might want to start a new thread and see what people think about flushing them and trying to feed them eggs. Is there any place nearby that you can purchase a few hundred crickets?

You don't want them to get too diminished and Tues. sounds like a long way off. :-(

Fortunately, it's now 46 and the martins have left for awhile...hope they're catching food.
"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
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