How is your summer going?

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
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DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

I have had a wonderful summer so far, no predators, plenty of food for the martins and some really wonderful company while I am out working in my gardens.

I did another nest check on Monday and have 27 pairs with 19 babies and 101 eggs. I also have 6 more nests with leaves in them and some of the 27 have not completed laying their eggs yet. It has been so wonderful sitting out and watching my birds in the evening and during my morning coffee before work.

How is everyone else coming along with their birds?
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
Jose Rodriguez
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:34 am
Location: FL/Belleview

Holy Crap! That is awesome! I can't wait till next spring! Hope I'm not disappointed!


Good Job!
PMCA Member
"Keep Calm and It Will Happen"
Vern1
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:06 pm
Location: Pettytown, Texas, US of A

It's been pretty amazing.
Plenty of rain, large flying insects, and really good weather after the winter hung on forever.

Our first pair showed up 2 weeks late and they didn't waste time.
The rains came in spurts so the birds were able to feed a lot resulting in our best year in a long time.

I have 40 gourds available on 3 racks, had 36 pair, 211 eggs, fledged 181.
4 pair raised 7 babies this season whereas the last few years I only had a few raise 6.

It hasn't even got hot here yet and the last gourd fledged yesterday!
Probably too late for a second nesting but who knows.

I will have them visiting for a while longer if they don't re-nest, then I will have to visit them at the Austin roost one more time before they leave for the Winter.

Seems like only yesterday....
Cheers,
Joe
2015 - 40 cavities - 37 pair - fledged 172
2016 - 40 cavities - 38 pair - fledged 192
Hosting Purple Martins since 1976...Managing since 2006.
Archer
Posts: 760
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

I couldn't be more pleased, so far three nests with eggs, should start hatching on the weekend. Two more pairs have finished nest building, there should be more eggs soon. I would never have expected these results after the disappointment of not getting any last year. Must have been all the subs you put in the air last year. I did play dawnsong and daytime chatter a lot which helped, I think. I spend a lot of time watching the birds, also have been watching some long eared owls that have made my place home for the summer. The swallows, martins and crows like to give them a hard time. They don't seem to be a threat to the martins. Nice to see that you are having such a great year.

Allan
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Jose, it was a surprise to me that I waited so many years and all of a sudden I have more birds than I ever dreamed of. I really hope that happens for you next year as well.

Vern, You had wonderful numbers. That is awesome! I cannot believe all your birds have fledged already. Time sure passes by quickly. I am going to be very disappointed when my birds leave. Right now I look forward to my work day ending so I can go out in my gardens and work while my birds curiously investigate what I am doing. I always have 30 or 40 birds flying over head watching me work in my gardens. They are getting so used to me that they do not fly off in a panic anymore when I walk under the gourd racks. I am so very thankful this has FINALLY happened for me.

Archer, I went through that too and felt that same defeated attitude until all of a sudden I had all these birds. I hope that continues to happen for you as well. Isn't it wonderful that you have birds that are just now making nests. That will prolong the amount of time you will see birds hanging out at your place. I still have 6 nests that have green leaves and no eggs yet. I am really hoping they will produce eggs and make my season last a bit longer too.

I am wasting so much time sitting outdoors, or sitting in my hut tub with a glass of wine and my binoculars watching my birds. NEVER in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be enjoying these wonderful birds as I am today. My heart goes out to those that are still waiting for birds to inhabit their housing. I sure hope that one day you will find that your dreams come true as well. My friends and family just do not understand my obsession with these flying gems. At times, I feel so alone in my unusual nature loving life.

Thank you all for reporting your love for these birds as you buoy my spirits in believing I am not just some freak!

Enjoy your birds...and good luck to those still waiting for their opportunity to be reality.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

So happy for ya, Dactalady. We are doing fine up here in Alberta as well. Even a few new colonies getting started in the Calgary area. This is an area void of Martins so far. I have about 90 pair so far and here too some are still beginning to lay eggs. Going to be some later nesters this year, but that's OK.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Hey there Bob...glad things are going well for you up there in Alberta. I always wonder how you guys are doing in Canada. I watch for all of your reports. It is good to know that you have so many birds nesting and that you are getting more colonies going that far north.

It amazes me to know how far these tiny little birds travel to spend a few months with us.

Enjoy your birds.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1491
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Bob,
What is the basic terrain in the Canadian provinces which allow purple martins to thrive in such a distinctive distribution?
My question derives from the fact that you can attract martins in Wetaskiwin, Alberta and they are struggling to attract them in Calgary, Alberta.
Is it plains vs. mountainous terrain?
Or am I completely missing the reasons?
Mark.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Good question Mark, the area in central Alberta that Martins are mostly distributed is Aspen Parkland, or agricultural areas. The Martins are found all the way north and west to the edge of the Boreal forest. However, the southern part of Alberta is more open Prairie . Still very suitable for Martins, but for some reason up until the last few years, Martins were very scarce. In my opinion, the main reason has just been the lack of usable housing. it also could be the south west part of the province, being closer to the Rocky Mountains receives more active weather in the summer. Also the lack of water in sloughs or ponds? But the climate here in Alberta has changed in the last 20 years or so. The Calgary and southern part of the province is no longer as dry as it was, in fact many areas are receiving more rain than we get here further north. There is also more Martin houses showing up, as people from the northern and eastern areas are moving to Calgary area and seeking the Martin hobby. For what ever reason, Martins are now showing up there and looking for nesting sites, I have had several calls in June of subbies showing up and nesting in quickly built temporary housing put up by Martin enthusiasts. A gentleman in Langdon SE of Calgary sent me pictures of two pair of subbies nesting in his newly built bungalows, both have 4eggs. They just stated showing up one day he said, he had an S&S controller that they wanted into so bad, so he built them housing and there they are.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1491
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Bob,
I believe that the southeastern US experienced a spring which is typical of your early martin season. Relatively warm days but cold nights. 58-60 degree F daytime highs and 34-36 degree F nighttime lows. No precipitation.
My two pair this season laid a total of 10 eggs from which only 2 hatched. Both eggs which hatched were laid after the consecutive cold nights had ended.
My personal colony is an aluminum Trio Grandma which I modified to 4 double compartments. Even though I had insulated all of the outside walls of this aluminum house with 1/4" extruded polystyrene foam board insulation, the temperature must have gotten too cold in the nesting compartments. Both ASY females were very diligent with incubation.
As I toured other local colonies, I noticed that wooden T14 houses which were not ventilated had exceptional hatched and fledged rates.
Aluminum houses and plastic gourds had poor success with the cold nights.
This martin season has made me understand your northern climate's season better.
As I study your Northern Star house and Buskas bungalow layout and design, they make more sense for northern climate landlords.
Great work for your time and effort to the purple martin community.
Mark.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Thanks for understanding that Mark, yes raising Martins up here requires different style housing than further south. It's not that Martins won't use gourds or aluminum houses. They will if that's all available, but after 10 years of using a few gourds in my colony, I found that the mortality rate was way higher after cold rainy weather. Excessive heat here is seldom a problem, so just one or two small vent holes is all I use in my wood houses, the styrofoam sub floor really works well also. They cup out their own nest bowls in it. Nice and warm and good traction.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Archer
Posts: 760
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Hi Bob, I have some subbys laying eggs in the midst of this ugly weather. We have high winds mixed with rain all of today as well as high winds and rain yesterday. I do believe they were able to feed for short times yesterday. Will the subbys stop laying because of not being able to feed when they need high energy for egg laying. Will they produce infertile eggs. What has been your experience. Since this is a new colony I have not been able to train for supplemental feeding yet.

Allan
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

You should be fine, this weather will clear by tomorrow, and all is well again. If the eggs are fertile no problem. good luck!
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

It has been very cold and rainy here. Today I noticed several eggs laying on the ground under the purple martin housing. I have not had any unusual subbie male attacks so I am assuming the parents thru out the eggs due to the cold and possibly infertile state of the eggs. I sure hope we see some warmer temperatures for the birds sake. For myself...I love this cooler weather.
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
4th Gen Martin Fan
Posts: 1491
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Location: TN/Collierville
Martin Colony History: I have been exposed to purple martin sounds in utero when my mother went out to get my father away from his martin colony.
I played around the martin colony every summer and watched as my father maintained his colony. In the late 50's until the 70's he did not notice European Starlings in south Texas.
When old enough, I helped maintain his colony. My primary task was eliminating English House Sparrows with a 1956 Benjamin 317 .177 air rifle.
When I settled into my own home, I started my first colony with an original Trio Castle and Trio Grandpa. When I moved again, I did not put up any martin houses. Frustration with European Starlings in the Southeast US was overwhelming.
Found PMCA Forum and learned about modern enlarged compartments and SREHs.
Inherited my father's last martin house, a Trio Grandma, modified it to modern specifications and have had good results since then.

Tangula,
Your site must have warmer and dryer climate from the conditions in Alberta, Canada.
Your profile indicates that you got rid of your wood houses and switched to aluminum house and plastic gourds.
Your colony has thrived with the aluminum house and plastic gourds.
How does your climate compare to Alberta, Canada?
Mark.
Mark.
Firm believer in HOSP/EUST Control, Enlarged Compartments, SREHs, Pole Predator Guards, Owl/Hawk Guards, Mite/Parasite Control, Housing Insulation, and Vents for Compartment Cooling.
PMCA Member.
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

Going good in Ks! 112 pair, with over 500 plus fledging..Tim Mangan made a trip to my colony and banded 50 of my nestlings..weather has been good for fledging..great season so far.. :)
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
DakotaLady
Posts: 654
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm
Location: Bismarck, ND

Mark,

The climate here is very similar to Alberta. I switched to gourds and they have been the key to a thriving colony. I've never had a martin nest in my metal house except for this year a young pair is nesting in there as my gourds were filled. I started with the metal house prior to knowing anything about martins. Once I began reading and learning about the birds I realized I probably would never have occupants due to the cold weather. I was using it to trap sparrows.

Tony,

That is amazing that you have 112 pairs of martins. That is a LOT of younguns you are putting into the sky. Very nice job. How long does it take you to perform nest checks?
~Tangula~

2013 - 16 pair, 79 eggs, 71 fledged
2012 - 4 pair, 18 eggs, 18 fledged
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

My wife always helps me and we knock it out in about 30/40 minutes.. :)
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
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