Very few subs

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Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

This is a typical scene at my site this year, overloaded with ASY's. Wonder what happened to the SY's, I only have a few and the males have turned terrorist. I found one 4 day old chick slightly dehydrated and begging for food at the base of my t-14, it didn't come from that house. I saved it by feeding it mealworms and a bug then put it in a house with 3 chicks of the same age.It was doing fine after five days.
~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
JJ Jones
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:08 am
Location: Shelbyville, Indiana
Martin Colony History: Average (100) pairs per season


Same scenario here in Indiana. I have many ASYs this year. But hardly any SY's. Just a few.

PMCA Member - East McKay Road Colony
Shelbyville, Indiana
Hanover Bill
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Hi Ray;

The lack of subbies this season seems to be a common thread on the Forum this year. It seems as if everyone is suffering from the same problem. I know I am looking forward to the discussion that will no doubt take place as to what happened to all of them.

The obvious, and easiest explanation, would be the horrible spring weather that most of us experienced this year, but one has to wonder if there were also other factors to blame. Such a widespread decline in numbers is a concern which no doubt should be investigated.

For instance does anyone remember a similar season in the recent past? I am looking forward to hearing opinions, and discussion on this matter.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .

I would like to see some data on the matter. One would think that nestwatch data could be used to determine how many Sy's there are in proportion to other seasons.

It's easy to fall into anecdotal traps in situations like these.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

I have two thoughts on this ...

1. The HY birds migrating south could not find enough to eat while passing through drought affected areas, the older more experienced birds were able to cope with conditions.

2. The Sy's dropped off further south while they were held back by the colder weather to the north. Did any landlords to the south have more SY's this year?

It would be nice to have reliable data on this but many people just say they have less martins this year. I suspect many of nest data sheets turned in do not indicate age so that might not be a reliable source? Whatever it is the ASY's were not affected.
~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
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:11 pm
Location: Denham Springs, La
Martin Colony History: 2014 1 pair 3 hatched 3 fledged
2015 1 pair 5 hatched 5 fledged
2016 1 pair 5 hatched 4 fledged
2017 2 pair 8 hatched 8 fledged
2018 4 pair 15 hatched

I had my first and only pair this year, both male and female martins were SY. They had 3 babies that they took care of very well. We did not have as many ASY's this year in the colonies around my area. The martins around here(ASY and SY) are very low in numbers. I hope they will be in higher numbers next year. I live in the South of Louisiana, about 1 hour from New Orleans.
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Virginia/King George
Martin Colony History: Had a colony many years ago which dwindled over a couple of years and then did not return. Kept trying each year for almost 20 years and finally had a small success in 2011 with two pairs nesting. Colony has grown slowly each year with 22 pairs in 2015. In 2016 my gourd rack of 18 gourds filled up so I added 4 more gourds and then put up a small rack of 6 gourds. All of those were claimed within a few days so I believe I have at least 25 pairs this year.

Hi Ray,

It's the same here in Virginia. I was waiting and hoping the SY migration would boost my numbers but they never arrived. I only have 2 or 3 SY's this year.

ps - It was great to see you again this year at the Field Day! :)
Don~Northern Neck of Virginia-PMCA Member
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:07 am
Location: Iowa, New Sharon

Subadult population here in southern Ia.seems to be about normal.Our records show 14 pair this year compared to last years 17 pair. Thats not counting ASY male SY female pairs , or the SY single males, theirs at least 8 or 10 of those that have claimed nest cavities.
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
Danno in VB
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 9:47 am
Location: VA/Virginia Beach


Looks like I may have some of your SY's.

Of the 5 new pairs this year, 4 are SY pairs and the other is an ASY male with a SY female.

Just keep them coming. I'm up to 10 breeding pairs this year... :-)
Bill Hyde
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 8:59 am
Location: Illinois/Roscoe

Hi, Ray, JJ and others,
We also are not getting the expected growth in our colony size although both the Scout and SY arrival dates were exactly the same as in 2013. However, in the end, we seem to have only one SY bachelor, and a few SY females which are paired with ASY males. Of course, we also have some ASY females in the mix. :roll:
Our scout is an ASY female which has been a colony regular for four seasons and she always chooses a gourd that faces our kitchen; but ,despite being first to arrive, she and her mate had not hatched their several eggs as of two days ago, while other nests have babies of various ages. Oh, well, perhaps everything will pan out in the end. :lol:
PMCA member
2011 - 1 SY pair w/ 2 HY fledged
2012 - 5 breeding pairs
2013 - 14 nesting pairs and several singles
2014 - 8 nesting pairs
2015 - 5 nesting prs w/mostly ASY parents
William A
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:35 am
Location: AL/Marion

Ray. my colony is in West Central Alabama and I had almost 30 SY males and females this year and most came much later than usual. This is roughly twice the number as last year. The first sy males showed up on 22 April, another 2 days later and the majority came in in at the end of May and early June. Most of my birds have fledged as of last week but I have many late nesters so I am thinking I may have martins towards the end of July which is very late for me.
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: North Carolina/Clayton
Martin Colony History: 5th year hostess. Currently 58 confirmed breeding pair. 218 Fledged, 35 older nestlings, 2 new nests with 8 nestlings. 100% occupancy

I think Ray Gingrich may be onto something!
We have a ton of SY's...way more that the usual 10 to 15 like last year. We are a 3rd year colony so still very much growing but we have seen lots more SY's. I even have an SY gourd with a mud dam! That's not typical here in our area! I read about them from Virginia north but not here! The cooler weather at their arrival may have kept them further south!

Moreover, the cooler weather may have kept some ASY birds further south! Just speculation without bands to verify where they fledged from but rather an observation on different behavior traits!

Hope they adapt to the ever changing weather, reading that we (US) is in a cooling trend. This could go on for 5 years. What impact could this have in the coming years?
Just speculation and hopefully, they will arrive a little later and push further north!
Good Luck to everyone the martins need our help!
Debbie Johnson
Clayton/NC (Archer Lodge)
2012 New Site 6 pair, 21 Fledged
2013 24 pair, 102 eggs, 94 hatched, 89 Fledged. What a great year!
2014 37 pair, 211 eggs, 193 Hatched, 178 Fledged, 1 nest of 5 young left! Late start but picked up speed quickly!
Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

I have a new SY male visiting today & had a different one a few days ago. So they are still moving thru.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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