S.O.S. My Martin colony is under attack!!!!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
loco for purple
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: arlington/texas

In the 13 yrs I've had my Martin colony I have never had the hawk pressure I am experiencing right now. There's a red tail hawk, another red tail hawk size bird with a lot of white . It looks like a Swansons hawk in the bird book . And the past two days a Cooper's hawk has made an appearance . The red tailed hawk caught a fledgling when I got home today. The hawk flys high above the colony , spots a fledgling on top of the roof or trees in the area and helicopters down and grabs a fledgling . The birds just sit there and won't fly away. I have saved three fledglings from the red tail so far . But I have to work and my daughter says there are least 5 attacks while I'm at work. She's also been going outside to scare the hawk away . I'm actually more upset to see a Cooper's hawk show up , because that puts the adults in danger. and it's also and adult male., so I wonder if there's a nest nearby . I'm just surprised it didn't catch a fledgling before I scared it away .In the past it's generally been pretty quite during fledgling time, not this year....Very frustrated in Arlington!!!!
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

try putting some decoys up. won't hurt,
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

I hate to see something like this happen to you, and I am sorry. The problem may be occurring because you have too many trees nearby. The hawks can sneak up on the martins.

It could be mites on your birds, they may be leaving the nest too soon.

Or it could be the weather, maybe the babies are starving, they are coming out of their nest too soon. Have you had rainy weather that lasted for several days?

Its unusual to have so many hawks, I am thinking that your site is too crowded with trees, just maybe????
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
TammyK
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:23 am
Location: ND/ Riverdale

this is all new to me but could you put up a owl decoy are they afraid of owls I suppose now the hawk know where to hunt??? it will be hard to detour it.
I found a dead martin in one of my nests today and broken eggs in a couple im trying to figure what happened too.I hope it finds something else to hunt😔
birdy girl
Posts: 1178
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:09 am
Location: Mississippi/Dumas

We are experiencing lots of hawk attacks too. Today Cooper's hawks was here at least 12 or more times. There is a pair of hawks. They round over trees where babies sit, if none there then the hawk will fly over the colony hoping to find a young martin not fast enough or an adult leaving the gourd as all other martins are in the air yelling. I am pretty sure there was at least one successful catch this afternoon. Strange they come many times during the day but none late in the evening. I totally feel your pain and frustration. This is always a bad time of year with fledglings flying around with and without parents. I am already for them to finish this nest season and head back to Brazil. So so hard making it through the hawk feeding season for the martins and for me :-(
RC Moser
Posts: 1537
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 3:25 am

Coopers and sharpshined also will make early morning and late evening attacks if they were unsuccessful during the day.
I noticed this when the PMs were flying high in the sky well after the sun goes down. I stand under my colony with water hose hoping to deture the blind sided attacks. Once Coopers successful they will use the same tactic over and over.

In the early morning attacks they will be wait for the PMs to come out. Late evening they will wait till they go to roost and nab one as it slows down to enter the compartment. They are lighten fast and invisible well after the sun goes down.
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

In Tammy's situation, wouldn't the hawk eat the martin instead of just killing it?
Sharon from southern Illinois
Conrad Baker
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Paulina, Louisiana

Tammy K, it sounds like you had a Sparrow attack. A hawk could not have got into your nesting cavity. The Sparrows will, and will corner the PM in the cavity and kill them (you will probably notice the top of the head of the PM being pecked in). The Sparrows wil also peck holes in the eggs.
You have to start protecting against Sparrows by either trapping them or shooting them (pellet guns work great).
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.

loco,
Andrew is right - put up some decoys. I suspect Emil is right too about the trees.

Here are some strategies I use for hawk attacks.
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com/2014/03 ... m-owl.html
"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
TammyK
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:23 am
Location: ND/ Riverdale

good info Kathy!
TammyK
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:23 am
Location: ND/ Riverdale

Conrad Baker wrote:Tammy K, it sounds like you had a Sparrow attack. A hawk could not have got into your nesting cavity. The Sparrows will, and will corner the PM in the cavity and kill them (you will probably notice the top of the head of the PM being pecked in). The Sparrows wil also peck holes in the eggs.
You have to start protecting against Sparrows by either trapping them or shooting them (pellet guns work great).
i think your right it all leads to those sparrows.I didn't know a sparrow could kill a martin that's why i was so baffled as to what happened
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Tammy, this forum is great information. I have learnt so much it is amazing! I had martins about 8-9 yrs. ago and never knew this much was involved. But all of this is the right way! :)

Good luck :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
loco for purple
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: arlington/texas

I did not see the red tailed this afternoon although my daughter said she scared it away in the morning. I was successful in thwarting the Cooper's hawk attacks this afternoon . It came four times but I scared it away each time. My property is next to a high school so there's a large open field behind my house. The martins see the hawks coming each time and they let me know which gives me time to meet the hawks before they get to the colony.. I just don't know why this year the hawks have homed in on my colony. I hate it because I can't sit out there and enjoy the colony like in previous yrs.....
Post Reply