Martins having a Picnic...Not

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John Balga
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Essex, Essex County, Ontario
Martin Colony History: 2012-69 pairs
2015- 3 pair at new home colony
2016-6 pair at home colony-1 ASY FEMALE banded from Andy Troyer colony
2017-17 pair at home colony
2018-38 pair at home colony
2019-47 pair at home colony

The weather has been so called and rainy here in Essex, Ontario that the martins have finally learned to eat flipped eggs and to take eggs from a bed and breakfast. This is really a large one.....smile. I am so happy that they come to the window or fly over when they are hungry. Two dozen eggs have been fed since yesterday. They are turning into little piggies....This is one of the worse Springs I have seen and I do believe the martins would be gonners if they were not feeding on eggs.
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Congratulations, John!

Nice photo.
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
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That's great that they are taking the supplemental feeding! How long did you have to try feeding before they started taking the eggs? I like that they let you know when they are hungry--so cool!
John Balga
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:13 pm
Location: Essex, Essex County, Ontario
Martin Colony History: 2012-69 pairs
2015- 3 pair at new home colony
2016-6 pair at home colony-1 ASY FEMALE banded from Andy Troyer colony
2017-17 pair at home colony
2018-38 pair at home colony
2019-47 pair at home colony

Geri Lynn wrote:That's great that they are taking the supplemental feeding! How long did you have to try feeding before they started taking the eggs? I like that they let you know when they are hungry--so cool!
I tried to feed five returning martins two weeks ago when we had snowy, cold and wet weather. The martins' wings were drooping and they were looking very poor. I tried around 50 crickets iniyially before one of the males took after a flinged cricket. The female followed suit and then the rest began to take them right by their housing.

As we all know crickets are quite expensive and easy to waste because they are very hard to fling so I decided to feed some scrambled egg pieces. Initially the martins spit them out so I continued with the crickets hoping the eggs would not stop them from feeding. The next day I decided to go cold turkey and fed only eggs. When the weather turned for the better I didn't feed but many more martins arrived.

The weather turned nasty again and then the five seemed to be interested again so I fed them eggs. The rest is history and now the fifty or more martins take eggs. They take them anywhere, around the housing, around the patio, in front of the house etc.

On Sunday, when I returned from worship, I decided to lean over to dead head some daffodils around 6 p.m. and the weather was turning very cool. Suddenly the flock was in front of the house and kiting over my head. They thought the yellow daffodils were eggs. Since Sunday, I have been feeding in earnest in hopes that this stalled low pressure will move on. Still we have rainy predictions for the rest of the week.

I am now a believer in supplemental feeding and hope all of you will not give up trying to feed when the need arises. Thanks Mary for your kind words and do give it a try Geri Lynn..
Ed Pace
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Way to go John,at least now they can be feed when you think they need it,insted of woundering if they will find any feed. Congrads and good luck to ya. Ed
Mary Wilson-SW Ont
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Leamington Ontario

Hey John,

Congratulations on getting your martins to accept eggs from the feeder tray. This is a major step and accomplishment. I agree with you that it is the worst spring since 2002, when all of our returning martins died from a May long-weekend cold snap. I vowed then that I would never go through such a heartbreak again, and in the following year I began to train my backyard colony. The two golf course colonies had to wait, but fortunately, until this year, we haven't had a terrible martin-killing spring the likes of 2002.

This year, in two separate cold snaps, I have used 5000 crickets and about 12 dozen eggs to save our other 2 colonies at local golf courses. It is hard to know how many birds were back, but these two colonies in full swing host 50 and 100+ pairs of martins respectively.

We lost a few birds - those that probably had arrived home during the 4 consecutive days of 40 something degrees, high wind, and rain and were already weak from migration. But most survived, even on a once a day feeding of eggs. All are now trained to go to a feeder and eat eggs. Extreme hunger is a great motivator, so I would like to re-iterate what so many others have said, for the benefit of those who haven't yet tried or succeeded with supplemental feeding:

THEY HAVE TO BE REALLY HUNGRY...... when they have gone about 3 days without food, they will take to it readily. At our one golf course location which has had minimal training attempts up till this year, I began by flinging crickets. The first day there were no takers. The 2nd day, some took off after crickets. Then the weather straightened up a little (this was our first cold snap), and there was no need to feed.

On the second cold spell, I went on 3 consecutive days to feed them. On each day, I attempted to do some flinging, but with cold temps, howling winds, and rain, it was tough. The martins would swirl above me, though, so they remembered the flinging from the previous cold snap. So after a little flinging, before my fingers went numb, I left all remaining food in the trays - mostly egg - and each time when I returned the next day to refill the trays, it had all been eaten.

(I had always placed my crickets/eggs in the lowered B+B trays and picked them up from there to fling, and I think that helped the birds make the association of the B+B to food..... I did not make any special training attempt to get them to go to the feeder.)

This was a martin-killing weather event. The birds at our two golf course colonies usually got only one feeding a day .... a dozen eggs ... and most survived. Two feedings a day would have been better, and I would strive to do that next time.

I hate scrambled eggs now, but that's besides the point.....

:lol:
www.ontariopurplemartins.ca ..... the website of the Ontario Purple Martin Association, in SW Ontario, Can
Carlton
Posts: 1927
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Delux Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 7 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I have a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also have an rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, I have a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Delux Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

How do boiled eggs work leaving broken up shells in with the eggs? I know I read they like to eat sterilized eggshells. I have never fed my martins but I know I have just been lucky with the weather.
Mary Wilson-SW Ont
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Leamington Ontario

Hi Carlton,

I have not tried that, although I think several landlords from Alberta have done so. To me, scrambling in the microwave would be much quicker and easier than boiling eggs, espeically if having to cook up 2 or 3 dozen per day. But the nutrient value would be the same, I suppose.

Perhaps someone else who has done eggs this way will respond.
www.ontariopurplemartins.ca ..... the website of the Ontario Purple Martin Association, in SW Ontario, Can
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