missing asy female found ran over with mower

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chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

it has been 3 days without any rain and temps have warmed up. And I had noticed my female from my first pair of the year went missing on day 3 of straight rain. My martin rack sits smack in the middle of my yard with 2 trees on each side of it that are 45 ft away on both sides. Well today while mowing under one of these trees I noticed a shredded bird that I had already ran over with the mower before seeing. I got my husband to come over to I'd the bird. And sure enough it was a female martin. Wish I'd seen it before I hit it to see if any trauma or marks. Hubby said all of her was their and insides dried out. So did not look like an owl or hawk got her. So what could this mean she just sat over their in the tree and fell over dead? I'm so tore up about this because I had seen her eat crickets off her porch. Iv never had anything like this happen before. It saddens me. You try everything you can and it doesn't seem to be enough. One thing I did notice is during bad weather I had some martins stick close looking for food and would land and go porch to porch stealing everyones food. So maybe she was robbed of her meal? Don't know what else could have happen. But I hate I hit her with my mower to top it off. And her male has landed a new female today and she spent the night. She still has not went inside the gourd with the nest built in it. But he keeps trying to get her to. I am going to leave the nest alone. Sure did not take long for him to land another lady. She showed up today with another new pair. I hated wondering what became of my missing bird. But now I really hate knowing she has been right under my nose and maybe starving and I could of maybe did something more. I held her the first day the rain hit. And now wish I would have hand feed her or did something. I know its nature taking its course and all but sometimes it can be so cruel.
Scott D.- La
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:35 am
Location: Louisiana

It's all part of being a landlord. We are going to have death's from all kinds of different scenarios. Colony management is just a way to try and maximize breeding success and keep death's as low as possible. We also learn from our mistakes and make adjustments for the next season to our techniques and equipment.
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Yes I do realize that. But I guess I forgot as a landlord how great it is and but what comes along with that is you are going to experience the bad. And I guess when you do nest checks and everything your suppose to do(and I lower my house every otherday) and something still goes wrong its just so disappointing. I just wonder if it was her age? Everyone else seemed to make it. Can someone tell me what happens when their body breaks down from know food? Because her insides was dry is that what happens?
Mary Wilson-SW Ont
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Leamington Ontario

Hi Chickadee.

It is sad to find one that didn't make it despite our best efforts, but there are factors we can't know. Perhaps she was older; perhaps just was exhausted after migration, and couldn't regain strength. We lost several for that very reason, as far as I can guess. I know they starved, because their breastbone was very sharp like a knife - a sign that the muscle mass has wasted away. Your bird probably got weaker and then became grounded and died, like ours did. Just think of all the ones you helped, though, which perhaps wouldn't be here otherwise, or would not be as strong as they are, and able to carry on with their nesting and breeding. Don't fret - you are a great landlord, but we can't save them all.
www.ontariopurplemartins.ca ..... the website of the Ontario Purple Martin Association, in SW Ontario, Can
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Chickadee, I'm so sorry this happened. I know it is devastating for you and I would be asking all the same questions if it had happened to me. Unfortunately, there probably is just no way to know what the actual cause of death was. But just think how many probably would have died if you hadn't been providing safe shelter and supplemental feeding for your colony. Good landlords go a long way in helping so many martins survive from predators and severe weather but even doing all that we can, it's just not possible to be 100% successful all the time...so many things are out of our control. You love your martins and you are a great landlord so try to count your many, many successes. You are making a major contribution to increasing the population of these beautiful birds!
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

Mary,& geri, thanks so much. I guess it is hard for me not to expect to be 100 percent successful all the time. A Hard lesson I will need to learn soon in years to come. After it happens and you see things are out of your control. You guys pointed out to me the important part. Reminding me of all I do do every day for my martins. And today the male got his new female to go in the nest my dead female worked so hard to build. I think she would of wanted that. It is a great nest and its nice to know it will still have eggs in it.
John & Linda - KY
Posts: 599
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:19 pm
Location: Kentucky/Hawesville

Every martin hatched is going to die eventually. There's nothing you can do about natural deaths, so don't worry about them. One of the early years in our colony we found a female on the ground obviously in distress. There was nothing we could do, so we left her alone. Her mate stayed with her the entire day and watched over her. It was heart breaking to see. The next day she was dead and her mate moved on. We must do the same. -- John
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