Mystery Swallow Bird Picking on PMs? Found!!

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Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

O.K Bird experts on here, Fri. afternoon I was treated to sight of many fledglings taking flying lesson high above my tall Pecan trees. As they perched on top of some dead small tree limbs, I noticed that one of them was picking on the PMs perching there, chasing them away. I first thought it was a bossy female PM but I noticed it had the same body size, same wing shape, light colored breast, BUT a Slightly bigger V shaped tail than the PMs. Not a Long tail like a Scissor Fly Catcher, but ALMOST twice as big as a PM's. It got frustrated and finally flew away. I was certain it was not a Barn Swallow, as we have some next door and they a smaller than the PMs. Can anyone help identify this Bird in PM clothing ? Thanks, Anthony :grin:
Last edited by Anthony Neira on Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
Dallas
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:32 pm
Location: Moultrie/Ga

Could it be an Eastern Kingbird. They will harrass the martins.

Dallas
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Eastern Kingbirds have a square tail, so they don't fit. Could be..uh... not sure. Can you try to get a photo?
Brad
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 10:12 am
Location: Duck Lake SK

It would be a Eastern Kingbird. Had the exact same thing happening.

Brad,
M.Stephens
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Texas/Texarkana

I agree that it may be an eastern kingbird. Sounds like their behavior.
Anthony they look similar to a martin. A lot of people mistake them for martins. They don't have a pointed tail though....
Malcolm
2015 (110 nesting pair)
2014 (92 nesting pair)
2013 (75 nesting pair)
2012 (35 nesting pair)
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terriergal
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:41 pm
Location: MN/Hutchinson

Kingbirds have a really loud screamy chattering call. It could be the Martins were too close to her best or babies.

You can look up / ID birds by all kinds of different criteria on what bird dot com, and they will usually have audio samples too.
Paula in MN
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Eastern Kingbirds generally do not breed in San Antonio, tho small numbers pass through in April and May on migration. I guess it could be one that is here anyway.

If it IS a kingbird, Western Kingbirds are common here.

Probably the most common birds harassing young martins here are great-tailed grackles. For those up north great-tailed grackles are about twice the size (in terms of weight) as common grackles up north, and the big males especially will attack and kill nestllngs and fledglings, including martins.

Once when I was lowering a gourd set at school a late nestling, the last one of a brood that should have all been fledged by that date and indeed was except for this sad remainder, fluttered out of the gourd and made it perhaps 50 yards before crash-landing on the school track.

Whereupon a flock of great-tailed grackles feeding on the football field thirty yards away immediately took off as one and landed around the grounded nestling and began to peck it :shock:

I rescued the weak nestling and put in back in the gourd but sadly found it dead in there the following week.

Early this morning too right after a heavy rain I witnessed a male (much larger than the females) great-tailed grackle in hot pursuit of another bird. The bird crashed into the side of a neighbor's house and fell to the ground, the grackle landed on the edge of the roof and was about to fly down when I came up. The grackle flew away.

It proved to be a recently fledged purple martin, sodden wet, the parents were flying around calling. Seeking to land the fallout on the roof where the parents could feed it and cats wouldn't get it I tossed the young martin into the air (single story home).

Instead of landing on the roof it took flight and flew off over the house. I did not see where it went, I hope it survived.

The good news is that great-tailed grackles do not seem to be effective predators on healthy fledglings.

Mike
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

I have not seen any of the numerous grackles harass any of my birds.

They will steal dawg food and poop all over the sidewalk. Not a very good bird to have around IMO.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Thanks for the replies everyone, Louise, I wish I had a camera/phone 0n me, but it happened rather quickly. I still see the image in my head of those swallow shape wings, Lt. Gray colored breast area & that slightly longer Gray V tail than a PM. I'm trying to look up Texas birds again & check out all those tail feathers ! :wink: Kinda reminded me of a coastal bird I've seen before (?) ! I'll update it soon ! Thanks again! :grin:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

My Bad ! It came Back ! AND Again, I didn't have a camera, But IT WAS a Scissor Tail Flycatcher AFTER all! I went out to see the Fledglings fly around before the storms that are expected here this afternoon, and sure as heck, there was the gray-ish bird on top of the same tall dead branches ! As the young PMs got closer, the S.T.F.C got grumpy at them and tried to chase them away ! It's tail was not as long as most I've seen over at the Lackland AFB runway, Maybe it's a young one blown over here in the city, or just a lot of Bugs attracting them over to my place. I got the wings wrong, but this guy can sure hang in the Breeze ! It acts like it's never seen PMs before, where as the Barn Swallows over here are use to the PMs ! Thanks again everyone, maybe these West Ward winds will Blow him back to the Safety of the Airfield ! Take Care with these storms !
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
avesrun
Posts: 1111
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

Glad you got the id on your STFC! That's a pretty good yard bird to add to your list; wouldn't think they'd be a great threat to your martins but as we often find out birds of the same species can act differently among individuals at times. If I recall correctly the tail of the female STFC isn't as long as the male so maybe you're seeing a female; however, I could be wrong on that. Take care,
TimG
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Prs.!
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair, fledged 9
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2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Thanks Tim, I think you're right ! She just Fusses at them! :grin:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
M.Stephens
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Texas/Texarkana

They get along at my site Anthony.........

Image
Malcolm
2015 (110 nesting pair)
2014 (92 nesting pair)
2013 (75 nesting pair)
2012 (35 nesting pair)
2011 (20 pair)
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avesrun
Posts: 1111
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

Great photo Malcom!
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Prs.!
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair, fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

WOW! Yes ! Great Photo indeed ! Malcolm! I think my STFC might be VERY young and just didn't get the idea of all these PM youngsters landing all over "It's" dead branches ! For Now ! :wink: Good to see that they DO get along ! :grin: Either both Birds have lots of insects over here or maybe the STFC knows, where there's PMs, Barn Swallows, & C.Swifts, there MUST be food. :grin:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
philsand
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

The Eastern King bird is a fly catcher. It sits on an object and make s short flights to catch an insect it sees. It does not want insect eating martins in its territory.
philsand
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

I just remembered, we called them Bee Martins when I was a boy.
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

Anthony Neira wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone, Louise, I wish I had a camera/phone 0n me, but it happened rather quickly. I still see the image in my head of those swallow shape wings, Lt. Gray colored breast area & that slightly longer Gray V tail than a PM. I'm trying to look up Texas birds again & check out all those tail feathers ! :wink: Kinda reminded me of a coastal bird I've seen before (?) ! I'll update it soon ! Thanks again! :grin:
I saw a bird last week in my pecan tree near one of the feeders which matches your above description Anthony..... I got the iPad out and tried to ID it using Bird Pro somthin or other (that's a paid app, can't remember whose app it is, could be Audobon or Cornell-it'sin Apple's app store). It allows you to put in those items you know, color, shape, bill, size ect.

I could not ID. Only thing I could come close too was tree swallow.....
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

Anthony Neira wrote:My Bad ! It came Back ! AND Again, I didn't have a camera, But IT WAS a Scissor Tail Flycatcher AFTER all! I went out to see the Fledglings fly around before the storms that are expected here this afternoon, and sure as heck, there was the gray-ish bird on top of the same tall dead branches ! As the young PMs got closer, the S.T.F.C got grumpy at them and tried to chase them away ! It's tail was not as long as most I've seen over at the Lackland AFB runway, Maybe it's a young one blown over here in the city, or just a lot of Bugs attracting them over to my place. I got the wings wrong, but this guy can sure hang in the Breeze ! It acts like it's never seen PMs before, where as the Barn Swallows over here are use to the PMs ! Thanks again everyone, maybe these West Ward winds will Blow him back to the Safety of the Airfield ! Take Care with these storms !
Pertaining to my previous post-

Wow, scissor tail was NOT in my tree last week....I know those real well, as they hunt in the pastures around me. I've never seen one come into the yard though. They will sit on the fence overlooking the pastures.

What I had was dark top, grayish underside, a bill which shaped very similar to a Martin, dark legs and about the size of a Martin.

The closest that paid app got was Tree Swallow. I saw the bird before, but, it's not a routine visitor. Frustrates me. I would like it to visit more-if I only knew what it was.
tim414
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:52 am
Location: NorthTX/Pottsboro/Lake Texoma

M.Stephens wrote:They get along at my site Anthony.........

Image
Nice pic Malcolm.
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