males behaving badly

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lynnh
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Iowa, New Sharon

This past week the males are ganging up on females. Woke up this morning to 15-20 males on a female. I have rescued 4 or 5 females so far and I have lost 2 asy females that I know of because of this and maybe more I don't know about. :-( Not very proud of my boys right now
2007 2 pair 8 fledged
2008 4 pair 18 fledged
2009 21 pair 87 fledged
2010 44 pair 174 fledged
2011 68 pair 244 fledged
2012 82 pair 364 fledged
2013 82 pair 359 fledged
2014 86 pair 415 fledged
2015 101 pair 427 fledged
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Happens every year, I had to break mine up several times. I don't want a group of a dozen or more to end up over the road and get hit by a passing car.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

In large martin colonies with many ASY males and females, gangs of ASY males will eagerly beat down females that are getting ready to lay eggs and savagely rape them. The males seem to KNOW when a female martin is ready to be fertilized by her flying behavior, vocalizations, and the protective actions of her mate. ALL male martins want to spread their genes and the way they do it is by mating with receptive females.

Many attacks take place when a receptive female is returning to her nest and her mate is following her and trying to protect her. Other males KNOW she is a ready for mating and they often attack just as she tries to quickly enter her nest. The males hit her hard in the back and sometimes she is hurled violently against the side of a house or gourd. Some females are beat down to the ground right under the housing and raped on the ground. Other females manage to fly off with a gang of ASY males right behind her and she is often knocked down to the ground, into thickets and trees. The males will even rape the females in the middle of the road and a car/truck could wipe out multiple martins while they are engaged in their orgy!

This year so far I have rescued a number of females that were violently attacked by a gang of ASY males and raped to almost the point of death. The females were beat down in the early morning wet grass and the females became so wet they couldn't fly. The males continued to rape the females relentlessly until I intervened. Bob my neighbor rescued one female near his colony and she laid an egg on the ground after being savagely raped by a gang of males. I have seen males break females' wings and backs during these violent attacks.

The violent rapes of females by gangs of ASY males is one martin behavior that I don't like at all but there is really nothing you can do to stop. I just try to rescue the females or breakup the attacks when I can.

Here is a link to an article about this subject:

http://www.purplemartin.org/forum/viewt ... ving+badly

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Now that my colony is growing I am seeing the same thing Lynn. Yesterday the grass was very wet from an evening rain...I saw a group of males on one female. I ran out and picked her up. The poor things was panting and wet so she could not fly for a few minutes.

Glad you were able to save some of your females. It is bad enough that we have to look out for predators and S&S for these birds but it is crazy that we are saving them from themselves.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
lynnh
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Iowa, New Sharon

Ray we live on a dead end road so not alot of traffic the risk of them getting hit on road is low .....Steve thanks for your info, we have seen some of this in the past but seem to be alot more aggressive this year...and Tangula I agree we can protect them from everything but themselves
2007 2 pair 8 fledged
2008 4 pair 18 fledged
2009 21 pair 87 fledged
2010 44 pair 174 fledged
2011 68 pair 244 fledged
2012 82 pair 364 fledged
2013 82 pair 359 fledged
2014 86 pair 415 fledged
2015 101 pair 427 fledged
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