Season exceeded my expectations-thanks PMCA

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Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

The last 5 fledglings left their nest this morning joining the other 22 family groups to successfully fledge this year at my colony. The first birds arrived on April 11th.The first of 136 eggs among 23 ASY pair were laid on May 17th and the last to fledge was on July 17th. The season was short and sweet with all ASY birds. 131 eggs out of 136 eggs laid hatched(96.3%) and 127 fledged out of those 131 eggs that hatched(97%). Three that died were in an Excluder gourd that received direct west sun. I am sure that they died when the temperatures reached over 100 degrees just as they were ready to fledge around July 4th. It has not been 100 degrees here since 1995. They were in a nest of 7 young so at least most made it. Three other nests of seven young successfully fledged.

I did daily nest checks as they were laying eggs so my records this year are extensive. It made it much easier to keep track of what to expect and when, although the extreme temperatures made it interesting as they were getting ready to fledge. At least the nighttime temperatures were reasonable. I had many blowfly larvae on the first nest replacements and none were found at day 20 nest changes. No mites were observed. The frequent nest checks made me aware of threats and allowed me to move the first nest replacements up a few days after I discovered the heavy blowfly infestations. I was able to complete the second nest replacements on every gourd with no jumpers. I like the interior porches as it allows the young to hide rather than jump when they are 22 or more days older and you are attempting to replace nests in adjoining gourds on the rack.

My personal goal was to fledge 100 young this year. I am happy to have met and exceeded that goal. This area does not have many active colonies and I am hopeful that several friends who are trying to attract martins can begin their colonies with some returning SY birds nest year.

This years success is a result of the PMCA and all of the advice and suggestions that I pick up here on the forum. Thanks for your assistance.

Ed
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.

Wow, Ed!! What a great testimony!

You have done a great job and are well on your way to becoming a valuable mentor for all the other people on this Forum who are trying to help their birds raise a bunch of babies.

Good luck to you for many years of success in the future!
Sincerely,
Laverne
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Laverne,

Managing purple martins to maximize production of more martins is the way that I look at this hobby. I didn't start out with that perspective but if you are going to invest time and resources in anything, it makes sense to do it right. It is a continuing challenge and it is not boring. I enjoy them daily. I do what I can to protect them and I consider myself lucky to finally have them around. It also keeps me out of trouble most of the time.

I tried for over 20 years before I figured out that attracting martins was more than putting a house on a pole. The PMCA had more than an economic reason for promoting purple martins and it made sense to me. Fast forward (maybe not that fast) and I discovered that the challenge did not end once I had the martins. Now I had a responsibility to grow them, protect them and send them out to someone else.

Rather than expanding my colony, I decided last year to set 24 gourds as the ideal for me and see how well I could manage that set number. I had 23 ASY pair successfully nest out of 24 possible this year. 24 Excluder and Super gourds are manageable for me and still allows me to have other interests. My goal is to assist others in this area to achieve their goal of establishing colonies.

If I could offer any advice to prospective martin landlords it would be to be patient in the spring. Wait until the SY birds are due before you offer housing if you have tree swallows or sparrows around. Use the Drew protocol. Life is too short to drive yourself crazy by opening up housing too early(I did it for years). Play Dawn Song and Chatter. It will pull the birds in. Use SREH only and starlings are a non issue. I did not come up with these ideas. People smarter than me figured it out by trail and error. Why not follow their lead.

And have fun.

Ed
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Congrats Ed, your doing a great job managing your colony and the numbers reflect that, keep it up and smile knowing your populating your part of the world with Martins. :grin:
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
razman
Posts: 562
Joined: Sun May 09, 2004 3:14 pm
Location: wichita ks

great job, and congrats! thanks for sharing..
2004...notta
2005-2008 lookies
2009...lookies, and a SYM hanging around a bunch
2010...an ASY pair! 5 eggs, 5 babies fledged! yehawwwwwwwwww
2011....still only one nesting pair..extreme heat killed the babies
2012..ASY pair...fledged 4 babies!
2013 notta, few lookie lous
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

nice report
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
trisha
Posts: 428
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 1:12 pm
Location: Texas/Burleson, south of Fort Worth

Great job! I'm so happy for you! you have accomplished what all of us want to do, bringing more purple martins into this life for others to enjoy. Thanks for sharing your success.
Trisha


PMCA member
2019, 36 pair
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