HELP!!! STARVING BABIES?!?

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HELP!!! STARVING BABIES?!?

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 10:35 am

I don't know what to do.....When I did my nest checks this morning, I discovered 1 dead nestling - very young, not completely feathered. From my nest record, this nest hatched about June 18th or so. There were 4 young. My dogs brought in one hatchling a couple of days ago (we were out of town and our sitters told us). That leaves the two in the cavity that I am worried about. Their breast bones are protruding but they both will take scrambled egg if I force them. One is in much better shape than the other. There are some mites, but not a "bloom". I have removed them from the nest to feed them, but there is another nest that appears to be headed in the same direction. 3 young about 4 weeks old - better feathering, but only one appears really healthy. The other two have breast bones protruding. I didn't do a nest change on them this morning because of the panic and removal of the two that are in such bad shape. Am I doing the right thing? I'm going to get some crickets this afternoon, but how often do I feed them? The scrambled egg is mostly yolk. Is that right? How much do I give them each time? Can I put them back in the nest after they get stronger? What about the other nest that is going down hill? Please help! I don't have time to search the archives!!

Thanks!

Deborah

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:09 am

Deborah, I just replied to your message.

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.

Postby Laverne » Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:46 pm

Hello Deborah.

If I found nestlings in this condition - I would take them out of the nest twice a day and feed them as many crickets as I could get them to take - It may not be more than 4 or 5 at a time. Put them back after feeding - so their parents can continue feeding and caring for them.

I honestly believe Purple Martins need their parents to survive out in the cold cruel world. So, try to let them stay in their nest as much as possible.

Some landlords have reported that supplying the dead crickets in the nest for the parents to feed to the nestlings works, too. You might try that. I had no luck with putting scrambled eggs in the nest - it's way too hot right now for that.

This problem could stem from too dry and hot conditions - so the insects are difficult to come by. Try offering some supplemental "dead" crickets in the nest cavity. To kill the crickets - put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. You're gonna need a lot of crickets if this works.

If lack of insect activity is the source of this problem, your parent birds could be suffering as well. Put enough food out for them, too.

Let us know what happens.
Sincerely,
Laverne

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 1:53 pm

I had the babies out of the nest for about 3 hours. They ate scrambled eggs if I forced them. After that time they could actually stand up and hold up their heads, but they still didn't open their mouths. I did a nest change (good thing - there were alot of mites under the nest), and put them back. So far, no adult visitors, so I will keep an eye out and feed them again at about 4pm and leave crickets and meal worms in the nest. The babies in the other nest are doing okay. They have no feathers, so easy to see their breast bones. They are being fed, but not often. I'll leave some food in their nest too. (Also did a nest change on them). My heart hurts!!! All I can do is wait and watch and I feel so helpless. I'm afraid the parents are gone.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and suggestions.

Deborah

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 3:25 pm

I had the babies out of the nest for about 3 hours. They ate scrambled eggs if I forced them. After that time they could actually stand up and hold up their heads, but they still didn't open their mouths. I did a nest change (good thing - there were alot of mites under the nest), and put them back. So far, no adult visitors, so I will keep an eye out and feed them again at about 4pm and leave crickets and meal worms in the nest. The babies in the other nest are doing okay. They have no feathers, so easy to see their breast bones. They are being fed, but not often. I'll leave some food in their nest too. (Also did a nest change on them). My heart hurts!!! All I can do is wait and watch and I feel so helpless. I'm afraid the parents are gone.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and suggestions.

Deborah
One other thing I have learned while reading the forum, you can locate a rehabber in your area. Even if you never actually have to turn over any injured, weak or orphaned, at least you will have the info available IF you ever do need it.

You may be able to find one searching the Game and Fish commission web site in your state.

Our hopes are with you!

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.

Postby Laverne » Sun Jul 03, 2005 4:07 pm

They are being fed, but not often. I'll leave some food in their nest too. (Also did a nest change on them). My heart hurts!!! All I can do is wait and watch and I feel so helpless. I'm afraid the parents are gone.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and suggestions.

Deborah
I don't really know what is going on at your house - here at my house, I am again seeing the several hours of absent adult birds just like in the Spring. They come back later in the early evening and there is a lot of feeding that takes place then. Keep a close watch on your colony today and this evening to see if you can see a similar pattern.

This morning we had many visiting PMs with their fledglings. When they left, I think my parent birds went with them. The babies with their heads sticking out of the entrances were the only indication there were still PMs here. The parents have been back several times and I know this evening there will be a lot of activity when the heat backs down a little.

Please try to remember that Purple Martin parents do not normally abandon their young. I think yours will be back.
Sincerely,
Laverne

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 7:23 pm

I did my nest checks again at 5pm. All parents have been gone all afternoon as far as I can tell. I did see one visit per cavity in the last 4 hours, but that was all.

Both broods ate like there was no tomorrow at 5pm....lots of crickets and meal worms. The original 2 babies I was worried about are much stronger and are chirping - I am hoping tonite when the adults return they will feed all 5 of the babies well.

I'll lower and feed again tomorrow AM and give an update, but for now we're in critical but stable condition.

Thanks to everyone....and enjoy your 4th celebrations.

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:18 pm

I'm so glad to hear that the babies are stronger now- your assistance was dire! :shock: I hope the parents increase their feeding cycles dramatically. Fingers crossed.

Do you feel there is a shortage of insects in your area due to dry, hot weather? Did you offer crickets on the porches for the parents?

Looking forward to your update tomorrow. :wink:

Guest

probably sy parents

Postby Guest » Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:59 pm

What you are describing probably is SY parents--a bit more inconsistent with the whole job of parenting. Next year, expect things to turn out much differently...Jon

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.

Postby Laverne » Mon Jul 04, 2005 9:06 am

Good Morning.

Did y'all read Mary Wilson's report from Canada regarding supplemental feeding and the lack of insects?

My colony has been fledging since the first week in June and would ordinarily be done by now. This year has been different - we have many more SY pairs than in past years and they always run behind the older more experienced birds in nest building and egg laying. That is why they are still here trying to feed nestbound young when there could be little or nothing to feed. We are fortunate here in Alvin, we had 2 good showers in the later part of June. Maybe rain will fall from the storms predicted today. If nothing else - there's a tropical storm just southeast of the Yucatan. :roll:

One other interesting point - a hawk was scoping out the colony twice yesterday. Both times he appeared, 15 or 20 Purple Martins appeared from out of nowhere (or so it seemed) to dive bomb and chase him away. I believe your parent PMs are always close enough to see the housing and protect their young.

Deborah, I am so happy your nestlings are accepting the food you are offering them. They should pull through this with your help.

What happened last night and this morning? We're all anxiously awaiting your report...
Sincerely,
Laverne

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:12 am

Thank goodness we got a storm this morning. Both sets of parents are feeding, but because of the rain I have not lowered the housing. There is not a great deal of feeding going on, so I will feed again in about an hour when the sun is completely out and the parents are out looking for food. I can hear the nestlings so at least some if not all are alive. I left some meal worms and crickets on the porch last night, but I don't know how to keep crickets from escaping....and I think the ones I got were too small (only about 1/4 inch long and very thin - I fed them 4-5 at a time - crushed right before I fed them) Seems weird to put a whole wiggling meal worm in the babies mouths, but since they are doing better, I have to assume it's okay. I'm going to get larger crickets today, assuming the pet store is open.

I'll update later today. Thanks so-o-o much for the support!!

Deborah

iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

Postby iluvbirds » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:28 am

Deborah, Glad to hear the babies are still chirping. Do you have a Wal-Mart there? Our local Wal-Mart sells crickets in the Sporting Goods section. They are a little expensive, ($3.50 per 100 if you don't have a container to put them in, or if you do bring your own container, they are $2.50). They are nice sized crickets. Hope this helps, if you are trying to find bigger ones.... :) .....Good luck to you, and please keep us posted as to how their doing.....Pat

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:53 pm

Well, I lost the smallest of the two babies in the oldest compartment :cry: . The larger one is still active and the parents are feeding it. I fed it one meal worm, but it didn't really want it, so the amount of food the parents are providing must be enough. I left several on that porch.

The younger babies (no feathers) were very anxious to eat except one. I'm hoping that's because it was the last one the parents fed. I also forced one worm in it's mouth, but the other two gobbled down about 3 each. Left some on the porch near that compartment also.

They all still seem like breast bones are protruding. The neck bones on the baby that died were very visible, and the breast bone was protruding. As long as the parents are feeding I'd rather not take them out of the nest, just supplement. I can only hope that's the best thing to do. I give them all they will take when I do feed them...twice a day, Laverne. Patriot, I just leave them in the nest, feed, then raise the house back.

I'll look in again around 6 or so. By then I should have the crickets.

The meal worms and crickets from yesterday were still in the container on the porch. Is the container a problem. If I just lay them down without a container they will squirm off---- :???:

I'm glad about Wal-mart having crickets in case the pet store is closed.

Thanks again to all.

I'll update tonite.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2005 5:34 pm

5pm and all's well!! Hopefully this will be the case in the morning. All 4 babies seem to be gaining weight. Only 2 really wanted to be fed, the others got a worm whether they wanted it or not. :wink: I didn't get a chance to get crickets, so just used up the few I had left and meal worms. Breast bones are beginning to disappear somewhat - but the two smallest (no feathers) seemed a little less active - I'm just praying it's because they had just been fed. I haven't been able to sit and watch as much as I would have liked so just have to hope the parents are kicking up the pace a bit since we had our rain shower this morning. :grin:

This hot weather really seems to take a toll on the insects - I never realized it hurt that population. Also, I wonder with the mosquito scare around here if there is more insecticide use and it could be impacting the food supply for the martins??? :???:

CUL Lou~Mich

Postby CUL Lou~Mich » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:30 pm

Deborah. When I used to feed meal worms, I was told to pinch their head and kill them. Otherwise, they could grab ahold of the skin in the throat, and possibly kill the babies. As for how to keep the crickets from escaping. You need to put them in the freezer for awhile. After they are dead, remove them, and let them warm before feeding. You don't want the babies to need to expend energy warming Cold food. I think it's been said to leave them on the counter for an hour prior to feeding. When I had a PM last year (it'd flown into a lake.) this is what I did. Hope they turn out fine, and the parents can start finding food easier soon. CUL Lou

Guest

Postby Guest » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:45 pm

HI, IN A PINCH YOU CAN TAKE DOG KIBBLE AND SOAK IT IN WATER UNTIL IT IS VERY SOFT. THIS ALSO GIVES THE BABIES SOME FLUIDS IN THIS HOT WEATHER.

Guest

Postby Guest » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:28 pm

This will probably be my last post on this thread :grin: All 4 babies are doing so-o-o much better! The parents are feeding them and with the supplemental 2 times a day they all are beginning to fatten up around the breast bone. Now I'm going to try Mary's idea of whistling to get them to gape (she posted today on the forum) and maybe I won't have to force feed them anymore.

Thanks to all the help and support, we will probably have 4 more out there for the migratory roost!!!!

iluvbirds
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 6:38 pm
Location: Kentucky/Murray

Postby iluvbirds » Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:29 pm

Hip Hip Hooray Deborah :!: I am so happy to hear they are doing better! :grin: Yes, let us know how the whistle works! Good luck to you and your babies :!: ..... Pat

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.

Postby Laverne » Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:10 am

Congratulations, Deborah!

What a great job you have done - isn't it a wonderful feeling?!!

Remember what Mary said, "When the nestling has had enough he won't gape anymore." So, if you whistle at them and they just look at you - they don't want anymore food and their parents must be providing enough. The rain is a life saver... thank you, Lord...
Sincerely,
Laverne


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