Oppressive Heat

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philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

The adults are hanging around the site, saving energy, like in cold wet weather. Both conditions limit food supply. Soon I will start seeing young ones on the lawn. Totally dehydrated, hopeless. In past years I have lost newly fledged birds, that came back to roost, but could not be fed and became too weak to fly more than a few yards.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

You can shade gourds and houses, which can help keep nestlings inside:

http://www.purplemartin.org/forum/viewt ... hade+panel

A Texas landlord fastened umbrellas above her gourds.

You can help with food, too, by supplying dead crickets and mealworms in a platform feeder or on porches (use a cup secured to long pole to dump food on porches). It's worth a try. When nestlings are fed, they are hydrated too - insects can be soaked in pedialyte before feeding.
Chris B
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

The dry and the heat are taking a big toll on my birds. There have been lotsa jumpers who are just a little too small to be able to fly. I found my 2nd dead one under the gourds yesterday afternoon when I came home from work. There was also a live one that I was able to get to go onto my hand. I thought he just needed wing exercise so I moved my hand and let him work his wings while clinging to my finger. This little guy was hungry I think. I put him back into a gourd after some exercise.

Later that evening there were two jumpers down, one in a small apricot tree that is under a rack and the other on the grass. The tree bird squawked pretty bad when I tried to get him in my hand so I left him there. Probably a safe place to spend the night. The other on the grass was probably my little buddy as he took to my hand like before. We walked around looking for something to eat like a grasshopper and found none. I got into my PU truck and put my hand outside so he could ride in the breeze and we drove back to my grass near the woods but still found no grasshoppers. Put him into a gourd for the night empty bellied.

This hot air is thin and I think the bugs are not flying. It also makes it harder for the kids with insufficient wing size to fly. Down by the pond I didn't see any dragonflys either when there are usually plenty.

The only local source I have for crickets is the Petco where they sell "gourmet crickets", probably for lizards. I will pick up a can of these expensive bugs and hopefully they will accept them.
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.
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

I gave up trying to get them back in the gourds. I never np know where they came from. Also if I feed one, he dies anyway because I can't teach it how to feed.
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

So very sorry to read both of your posts.
Indeed we have been there with the drought in our area a few years ago. No rain and constant oppressive heat. Took its toll on the birds and us. Anything that hadn't fledged by the third week of June died either in their nests or on the ground from jumping . We had shoe boxes stacked on our porch with nestlings sorted out by age or compartment number. Feeding and rehydrating them, trying to get them back to their parents..but they all died. It was a nightmare. We seriously thought about taking down the housing and giving it up, not to put ourselves through that again.
But winter gives you time to think about what we do for these birds and how we can make a difference in their survival. So we are still at it. Picking them up and feeding them. Giving them good housing and a chance to thrive. We've had plenty of hard day's this year and it looks like more ahead with the heat coming in. Mother nature always wins.
We admire your efforts. You are martin heros .
Please hang in there.
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

Thanks for your comments and efforts. I take heart in that I have eight pairs and I am hoping that, between the early fledglings and the ones left in their nests after the jumpers, I may have replacement numbers, ie, sixteen young.
avesrun
Posts: 1113
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

Very well stalkman but you've got me frettin for when my eggs hatch around June 29. What kind of temps have been causing the distress? Or is it more the humidity than the heat? Cause my potential young Martins will be growing in most of July when humidity can get ugly here. I was actually going to make a post asking how Martin nestlings do with high dew points and humidity or if the main concern is actual Temps in mid 90s or greater for a length of time.
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
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
avesrun
Posts: 1113
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

Stalkman I guess you did refer to a "dry heat"; didn't catch that at first. How hot has it gotten?
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
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

Several days around 100. Very little breeze. Most of the bugs are under leaves to escape the heat. The martins can feed early in the mornings and evening. That is not enough to keep the young hydrated. The older ones will jump. They seem to manage well under 95 degrees, even with the humidity.
avesrun
Posts: 1113
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

Wow that is harsh. Best of luck; unless you're there 24/7 with ice packs and food seems like nothing a landlord can do with that situation. I'm not sure even providing shade can do much help. Do you have houses or gourds? Are they vented? Best of luck and hope the survival rate betters.
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
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
Courtney-NC
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Martin Colony History: 2009-2015-Helped to manage Raleigh site, 36 cavities
2016- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 1 pair at home site.
2017- 34 pairs at Raleigh site, 3 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2018- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 5 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2019 - 32 pairs at Raleigh site, 7 pairs at home site, 2 pairs at new Holly Springs park site

Hi Stalkman,

I too was worried about our public colony in Raleigh, NC this past week. We have had similar temps here. However, last fall, I had taken the opportunity to vent ALL of our gourds at the site with 2 elbow vents in each gourd in the neck, either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch 90 degree elbows, whichever was in stock at my local Ace Hardware store at the time. We also have a Lonestar house there which has insulation in the roof and venting in all the compartments. So far, we have not had any jumpers or dead young, and we also have a wide range in age there. We do nestchecks every week at least once a week to keep track of all the young in each nest so we would know where any possible jumpers might belong; they are all growing well. Having housing that raises and lowers for checks makes management a lot easier and is suggested perhaps as an off-season improvement if you can't do it now. Venting (or shading) really helps keep them from jumping due to heat, as long as there is not another problem, such as mites. If you can shade the housing at this point, it would be worth a try, and for next season, try more ventilation improvements and see if that helps. Some folks also sprinkle their housing with a hose to lower the temperature, but if you do that, try to make sure it doesn't get into the nests. Good luck, and hope things improve for you!
-Courtney
-------------------
NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
http://www.ncpurplemartin.org
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

Vented, white gourds. The young were very healthy until the heat arrived. Keeping them cooler would definitely help, but there would still be a problem with dehydration. I hope the forum monitor will correct me if I am wrong, but I think the nestlings can only be hydrated by the insects they are fed. Dehydration is a circulatory problems, shock. Brain and organs do not function normally.
I feel that some of the time the " jumpers" are pushed out for getting too far into the opening.
Courtney-NC
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Martin Colony History: 2009-2015-Helped to manage Raleigh site, 36 cavities
2016- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 1 pair at home site.
2017- 34 pairs at Raleigh site, 3 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2018- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 5 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2019 - 32 pairs at Raleigh site, 7 pairs at home site, 2 pairs at new Holly Springs park site

If you are doing nestchecks and know which compartments or gourds the (jumping) young should go in, you can try feeding dehydrated young with crickets dipped in pedialyte and then put them back into the proper nest. Sometimes supplemental feeding of the whole colony can help if you feel the adults can't find enough food. You can put a handful of formerly frozen, then thawed crickets onto the inside porch of each gourd or house compartment to help the parents out, or flip crickets to the adults if they are trained to accept flipped crickets, or put them into a platform feeder. There are articles on supplemental feeding. The point is, do what you can and don't give up. Good luck!
-Courtney
-------------------
NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
http://www.ncpurplemartin.org
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Your profile says you have Heath gourds - and you must have added ventilation yourself? Do you have a photo of your gourds? The Heath gourds I recall are a bit on the small side, maybe 7 inches in diameter. This can result in some young getting pushed out by hungry siblings behind them.

What sort of ventilation did you add? Dehydration AND hunger could be issues. Nestlings get all the water they need, normally, through their food. There is nothing you can do to hydrate them, other than offer supplemental food (dead crickets soaked in pedialyte, scrambled eggs, etc.)

Adding shade and ventilation could also help - the young would lose less moisture if they were cooler. They cool off by panting, just as dogs do.
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

I will have to reevaluate. Heath gourds have been great for me because they are light, easier to raise and lower. I have had great results in non-hot years. I have managed to have zero problems with sparrows and starlings. Only occasional unexplained loss. Maybe I could handle 8 super gourds instead of eleven Heath gourds and modify them.
philsand
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

2 or 3 fledged today, even with this devastaing heat wave. I hope there is not a repeat of 3 seasons ago A group came back to roost the first evening after they were fledged. Due to the heat they just lay on the porch of the house I had at that time. Apparently the parents could not keep them hydrated. When they tried to fly again, they could only fly a few yards. They did not survive.
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