To lower or not to lower

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cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

I'm torn about what to do regarding this awful weather and my martin colony. It is currently 45 degrees and sunny, with winds of 20-25 MPH out of the west. I know I have some surviving birds because I can see movement in some of the compartments. I expect that I also have many dead--probably most are dead.

My plan was to lower the houses this afternoon and remove the dead birds. But given the weather and how weak the survivors seem to be, I'm not sure I should flush them out. The few that have flown today have barely gotten airborne--the wind seems to slam them downward--and they have an awful time landing on the houses once they get altitude.

I saw another one on the ground through the window. By the time I got my shoes on, I couldn't find her. But I did see one sitting on the roof of my barn so I think it may be the same bird who had enough strength to get there.

I'm a big wimp, and I'm in tears as I type this. :cry: After losing so many nestlings with the drought last year and now losing adults this spring it seems it's been a long time since I've been able to enjoy something that used to make me so happy.
Candace
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

I think I've answered by own question. I don't see the point in lowering the racks today. If I have birds that are still strong enough to go out and feed, they'll go do that on their own. Flushing out birds too weak to fly won't serve any purpose other than to force them to die out in the open, exposed to the cold and hawks. I'd rather them die in the compartments.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.
Candace
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

What if there are birds that could go out to feed, but are caught behind dead birds? Hard as it is, I would lower and check, remove dead birds and make sure none are trapped. Sunny and 45 means they might be able to go feed, as long as they are not blocked in. You might find live birds that are weak, that could be warmed and fed to help them survive.

We are all so sorry you've had such awful weather, this 'spring' has been pretty awful for martins in KS, MO, MN, WI, MI, the Dakotas.

But, as soon as weather improves, more martins will be arriving in all those areas - hang in there.
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

Very good point, Louise. I just checked my phone and the temp is up to 48. I will lower everything and see what's going on in there. I'll bring a box with a towel just in case there are some that I can bring inside and try to help. I'll let you know.
Candace
Art J
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:17 pm
Location: Missouri/Kansas City

Candace,
I would lower and check also. I just got done doing mine here in Kansas City and all of mine had left. As I was checking I seen some way up flying around so hope they were finding food. Mine were really weak also so hoping this helps them get there strength back. Hope everything turns out ok. Good Luck!!!!
Art
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

Art J and Louise,

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I really need to stop being so pessimistic since these birds always have a way of amazing me. I lowered both systems and didn't find a single bird dead or alive. They've left, hopefully for an area off this ridge where the wind isn't blowing quite so hard. I was shocked after what they've been through and seeing them struggle the past several days.

The bird that had been grounded and then flown up to the roof of my barn was also gone. I'm going to think positive that after she warmed up on that tin roof that she was able to go out and get some food.

I know for sure I lost two, but given the awful conditions it could've been so much worse.

Art, I'm so glad that you had good news when you lowered your houses. At least those of us in the K.C. metro are in for a nice, mild weekend!
Candace
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Thanks for letting us know about this good news, Candace! I was looking at long term weather reports for your town, and it looked survivable. I know landlords are battling to save martins in many states, this has not been an easy spring.
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

Oh thank heavens! I know what you are doing...steeling yourself holding your breath just a little every door you open. Ah....empty. Next one...hold your breath.

Hang in there, friend.
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

Deb,

You describe it perfectly ... that's EXACTLY what I was doing. I was so relieved!
Candace
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

I lowered my systems today to see if I had any dead. I was flinging but not all were partaking. I have 50+ martins and I found one male dead. Not bad. They are all gone trying to find food. If they come in early enough, I will scramble some eggs.
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

I left my place around 4pm and returned about 7:45pm. By the time I returned the wind had STOPPED. Whew! The martins were swooping low over the calf high green wheat fields that surround our place. When they came into their house they swarmed over me but only caught two crickets I tried to offer. Yay! They must have had good feeding!

As they tucked in for the night it there was a lot of cooing to each other. Except when a spare male tried to join a pair. That lasted about 90 seconds and with some gritching...he popped back out. LOL

Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

I Was Out Late Feeding My Horses. At 7:45 I Saw 7 Of My Martins Still Feeding Over The Pastures. Everyone Else Must've Already Gone In. The Ones I Saw Looked Good. They Went Into Their Compartments Pretty Quickly, But I Did See That Their Wings Weren't Drooping, And They Seemed Petty Strong. Tomorrow Should Be A Good Feeding Day For All Our Birds.
Candace
pmcharter1
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: iowa/madrid

cciledo3,
our passion runs deep , im with loiuse, clean the houses out, see what you have. I live in Iowa, the migration has been brutal, my houses, ( trios) were packed with pine needles, nesting matrial, i supplemented feeding with scrammbled eggs, and meal worms, if you use worms cut the heads off, as they can bite. our martins our like humans, call it hypothermia, but they get weak, cant fly, cant hold there heads up., eat ect, this is not cruel, if you have nesting boxes, catch them, get them in the house over night, warm them, feed them, they will get restless, but turn the lights off , they will calm down, , according to a Iowa state professor in birds,sorry, cant spell, it, , but my friend and i have the same thing, going, we have birds in the house, we were going to bring them back outside, and place them, in a room, but temps are in the 20s, he said no. keep them in the house, and release them in the morning, but , in not about to release them in the elements that almost killed them, until they are ready. the birds i have couldnt fly 10 feet strait, let alone up 20 to get to a room, they had had it!, there heads just drooped, now that they are in where its warm, they are eating, look like different birds., i talked to my friend , and hes going thru the same, i went out , lowered my trio, and had two, that could hold their heads up, sad, i took them in, if i lose a bird, it wont be because of lack of effort! their warm, getting more active, . eating, well see., i capped off the rooms, shut the lights off as they calmed down as they went to sleep, atleast two could hold their heads up now., the wheather is suppose to wam up sunday, well see, ill place them in the trio, if they look good., or release them and hope they fly up, not a few feet , and stagger, its tough, but as a landlord, your colony means alot, am i doing the right thing, i dont know, but, if i hadnt tried, i would have lost them either way, one more night in this cold and rain, that would make me even sicker.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Good luck to all of you. Candace my heart went out to you. I'm so glad you did not lose any birds when you checked your houses. It is funny how these little birds have whittled their way into our hearts. We work so hard to get them that to lose one precious bird can be heart wrenching.

PM nice going saving those birds. I hope they survive for you.

Good luck to all of you. My birds still have not arrived...I hope they survived and will show up this week.
~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.

Candace - so happy to hear that you didn't find any dead birds and even better yet that none were hanging around - meaning they were likely out eating. As I said in my email and as PM says above - even if you lose some, it won't be for a lack of effort on your part!

I know how you feel. I lowered my housing yesterday when I saw a wing entrapment and other 'bodies' behind her. I thought for sure the bird with the trapped wing was dead as she didn't move when I gently pushed her wing back inside, then opened the door to retrieve her. She quickly jumped right up on her legs and launched herself out the open door, completely startling me, almost causing me to get a face full of martin. :lol:

Yet *another* lesson learned - martins sometimes play possum, always, always keep your face out of the opening!!!

Deb - the wind has been horrible here too, so I bet Kansas is really taking a beating from it!!! :shock:
"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
DebA
Posts: 1941
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 7:43 am
Location: Pratt County/Kansas
Martin Colony History: Start 2009 with one pair. Upgraded from S&K houses to two Trendsetter 12's with gourds beneath in 2013. I have experienced job, pet, and parental losses since '13. The Purple Martins lift my spirits and remind me how life continues forward by flying their little selves from Brazil back to my yard. As one forum person once told me, chin up DebA, look at the martins. Danger all around but yet they soar in the sky without a care in the world.

Kathy nice job and great timing!
Deb
PMCA MEMBER
Pratt County, Kansas
2016 34 PAIR
2015 27 PAIR
2014 23 PAIR
2013 13 PAIR
2012 6 PAIR
2011 4 PAIR
2010 2 PAIR
2009 1 PAIR
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