Early arrivals and cold weather challenges.

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Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

When you live in the north and have a long standing Martin colony there is one thing for certain. That is the arrival of birds prior to life sustaining weather. I wanted to share some of my experiences with this, as each year seems to pose a slightly different challenge.

The past few years my earliest arrival has coincided within the first birds to arrive into Pennsylvania. My colony was founded in 2009 and has grown to over 35 pairs rather quickly. My first arrivals went from being one of the last in the state of PA in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to now arriving in the 2nd and 3rd week of March which is among the first to arrive. This is well before the warmer weather has fully set in. Dealing with these first arrivals can be rather tricky as I am finding out this year. I have been fortunate to have been a part of bringing the first Martin arrival in March of 2014 through a 10 day period of temperatures ranging from below zero at night to highs in the low teens. I say "to be apart" because it truly took a joint effort of several people. This bird would feed in 10 degree temperatures and with it snowing. Not all Martins will do this. Some of my birds will greet me at my deck door in the morning looking for their life sustaining meal. Others will only hunker down in their cavities for days during cold weather refusing to eat. I have had success at times pulling them out of the cavity by hand, releasing them, then feeding them with toss crickets right afterward. But certainly there is a risk in doing this.

The initial relationship of becoming their trusted food source is not easily accomplished. As a matter of fact it can be downright frustrating. The key to beginning this unique relationship is twofold. Number one you need a hungry bird that trusts you. Number two you need persistence. So how do you build trust with a bird? I have found that a two tone whistle to communicate is very helpful. I use this whistle any time I am around them. I use it when I get home and get out of the car. I use it when feeding or walking about the housing either day or night. They know me by this distinct sound. I feel this works well as Martins use sound and voice to communicate among themselves. They are highly intelligent birds and highly "in tune" to vocal communication. The fact that they are colonizing creatures supports their intelligence and ability to communicate. They quickly learn to associate "your sound" with your presence around them. My distinct whistle is commonly followed by a low chortle of their own even at night as I walk beneath the housing. It is best they know it is me outside their door at night, than a potential predator below them. The daily walk and nightly walk beneath the housing with your distinct sound will help build this trust.

Although there are other ways to train them to supplemental feed I will share my success in getting them get started. Here you will need a few items. A platform feeder you can raise and lower near the housing. A large flexible spoon. Some thawed crickets and some scrambled egg. Some Martins actually prefer one or the other (egg or crickets). Large mealworms can also be used but I would start with crickets. For crickets order them live by the thousand, freeze them upon arrival, and bag them to be store in the freezer. Add luke-warm water to thaw only what you will use and drain off the water. My egg recipe is very simple. Start with just one egg, add a tablespoon or so of water and scramble in a small bowl or cup. Microwave for about 45 seconds till the egg expands upward. Remove and chop and mix the fluff with the liquid. Then microwave another 10-15 seconds. let cool and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Increase this time with each additional egg. About one minute per egg total, leaving about 15 seconds per egg cook time after stirring.

Now that you have your crickets in one container, and eggs in another you can head to the platform feeder. Hopefully your Martin(s) is/are now perched on the housing. Whistle as you chop some egg into small pieces on the platform and spread a few crickets out as well. No need to look up, just go about your business. I usually toss a pea sized piece of egg in the air at this point to try get them started. There is no real secret to initially getting them to begin to feed. But crickets seem to work best. Work off the platform so they will associate it with the origin of the food. Continue to fling crickets in front of and passed your Martin friends. Keep trying. Raise the platform up if it has a pulley and take a break for a bit. Lower it later and try again. When they start watching each cricket you are very close. A little later.... a little hungrier will help. Leave the food on the platform feeder in plain view between trying. Once you get the first cricket plucked from the sky you are off and running. It's that first cricket that can really be an issue. Make sure you try again if you see new birds. I believe it was a migrating Martin that taught mine to eat initially years ago. Gradually if you continue to work from the platform they will adjust to taking the food directly from it. The entire key to begin supplemental feeding is to keep trying.

I was a little bewildered by my first arrival this season. He seemed so distant. Did not vocalize or react to me as I thought he should. So when he did not eat during the first cold spell I lowered the house, took him out of the gourd. After some quiet conversation in my hand and an attempt to feed him a few crickets I released him to the air and took my usual spot on my deck and flung about 20 crickets that were all devoured by this one bird. He dove like a bullet to me eating one after another. The next day he packed his bags and headed north leaving only the second arrival of the season at my site. This explained his odd behavior indeed. He wasn't my bird. So realize that not every bird at your site is yours. They do migrate through and can stay a few days. Especially if a cold front comes through and halts their journey north.

This morning is March 29th 2016, I have over 10 birds now at my site. Yesterday it was in the 40s and very windy and rainy. This morning partial sunshine and 35 degrees. Expected high temperature 50 and windy out of the NW. So a borderline day at best. At 8:00 AM no visible birds. But I know they are there. They just need a little coaxing. I go down to the platform feeder and bang on the aluminum trays a few times and whistle my tune as I chop the egg.. I hear a chortle or two from the housing. I then ask if anyone wants to come out and eat. I whistle again loudly and the first Martin exists an excluder gourd with a loud chirp. I whistle back to him and then a few more come out. This will be the first breakfast on the platform feeder this year as most of these birds came in 2 days ago on south winds in 70 degree weather. The first few arrivals got hand tossed crickets, but now there are too many mouths to feed. In a few more days there will be many more.

Probably the most misunderstood part of this is equation is "where are the Martins on a cold day"? It is common to think they must have left during cold weather. It is cold or its rainy and we only know what we see. Usually Martins are in the housing conserving energy. It is their instinctive behavior. If there are no flying insects they will not fly around all day early in the season in the cold. I am very fortunate to be able to call them out to a meal before I go to work and when I get home on cold days, but they go right back in afterwards. That's how I know for sure they are still there..... I see them come out and go back in. The tricky part is getting them to come out. Mine know the routine so I am lucky in this respect.

This is a very rare example of a wild animal being totally dependant on man for its survival. Perhaps man shared this relationship with species of the canine family as well. But it is rare. All of the birds I am feeding (including a 9 year old colony founding male) would likely not even exist without this relationship. Certainly they would have starved to death years ago. Especially in the past 2 springs that have been extremely cold. That is why colonies in this region are so rare to begin with. But the fact remains they are here... in a thriving colony limited to about 40 pairs each year. This is a number that I can nurture and help survive. But they fight viciously each year for their spots in this man made kingdom where I also help fight for their survival in any way possible.

Truly one of the most unique relationships of man and wild animal in all of the world. A nice open place to fly, a hand warmer on a frigid night, food during cold spells, shelter to raise a family, a clean dry nest, protection from predators, and a friendly whistle.

Sounds like a great place to live to me. I'm guessing they think so too.
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Dan G
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:52 pm
Location: PA/Bellefonte
Martin Colony History: Trying since 2014. Visitors, but no nests. Several colonies with in 6 mile radius.

Very nicely written Doug. I do say good morning to the tree swallow who perches about 20 feet from my T14 but i don't have any martins to whistle to. I enjoyed your account of how you 'speak' to them, and will try that if i become a landlord. I wonder if the martins can distinguish one human voice from another.
Bellefonte PA
2014, 1st year-a few lookers, no nests
2015, 'Spot' SY male, here every day from 5-28 to 6-23, and several other visitors.
2016 added a perch wire between house and gourd rack.
offering 22 cavities, T-14 plus 8 gourds
2016, multiple visitors from 6-20 on. Almost daily
2017- Lots of visitors late in season.
2018- Adding another T-14. Few visitors
2019- Hopeful but stopped holding my breath
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
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.

Well written Doug.

It took me 3 years of flipping crickets to finally get my colony to accept supplemental feeding. The best time to try is after a few days of bad weather....below 50, windy, rain/snow or hot/humid. Insects just don't fly in those conditions, so the martins can't feed. After a few days they are hungry & will go after crickets flying past them. My colony is fussy & refuses eggs. Now my colony charges me as soon as I open the door on days they can't feed. Last year it was bad weather when they arrived & they were peeking in my windows looking for me to go out & feed them. A few times they flew so close to me I could feel the air from their wings go by my head. I always have a few that refuse to feed, even if their mate will. Parents will take crickets in to feed thier chicks. SY's & chicks will often sit & watch. Some SY's will take part once they feel a bit more secure. I flipped over 6000 crickets last year, hand feed chicks & still lost 60% of my chicks due to dehydration/starvation. We just didn't have any insects. Found out they have been spraying the creeks & rivers here for mosquitoes, which also kills other insects & larva. And the gas companies had taken so much water the creek/river levels were very low, so no to little insect hatching can take place.

I had a group of 10 from the local Audubon club here last summer. I insisted everyone flip crickets to feed my colony. They had a ball & were so excited when a martin would catch the cricket they flipped.

I whistle a tune for my colony & can see them flying super high. I call & they come in. Our African Grey parrot picked up my whistle early on & she started repeating it. I tell her to call the "birdies" & she does. I also talk to them & the first few back get named.

The weather in PA can go from cold/wet to hot/dry in a day or so. Temps can vary as much as 30 degrees from one day to the next & even in summer, nights can dip to almost freezing, depending on the jet streams. We've had super hot/very humid summers where you could barely stand to go outside. The Martins & chicks would hang out of the houses panting away. I hook up the sprinkler for them to get a quick mist of cool water.

It's VERY IMPORTANT to do nest checks every day during hot/humid or days of rainy weather, as the Martins often can't find enough food for the chicks in that heat/rain. They will feed themselves first, chicks last. If the chicks look a little thin then supplement feed & hope the parents will feed the chicks. Otherwise the chicks will dehydrate & die. If the keel bone is sharp it's doubtful they will survive without a rehabbers help. NEVER give a chick fluids, as they can drown. They get their fluids from insects.

On rainy days, if it's chilly they stay in the house. On real hot days they are in the sky or at the creek/river looking for food or sitting in a tree in the shade. An ASY or SY Male usually stays behind or close by as look-out & puts out the warning call if needed, for the colony to return.

Yes you can let it all up to nature, but it's a given you will lose adults & chicks both under those harsh weather conditions. Since the St. Agness flood in 1972, that wiped out almost all the Martins in PA, I'm now the most nothern colony in central PA. There are none north of me to the NY border. We have searched & found none, just empty houses. I have spent 18-19 years doing all I can to hang on to the small colony I have. It's been a struggle to keep chicks alive & increase my colony in size. I have gone from 7 pair to 14 pair last year.

Same as Doug...I have had a few stop over, on their way further north & south, to rest up & let the weather get better before they head on. I've had a few strage looking Martins stop over. One female had orange coloring on her chest & lower body feathers....assumed it was from wet paper in a nest some place. Another, ASY Male, had a yellow beak. One male looked like he was wearing a tuxedo. A SY female had a single silver leg band. None of these birds stayed, as they were just visiting & passing thru.

Dan:
I would say they know one voice from another. Sounds to animals are like human voices are to us & our voices all sound different. I can attest to that via my parrots who immitate my husbands voice & mine, using the same word(s).

If you visit my site this summer I will show you how to flip crickets & anything else, like nest changes, etc you may want to know. Mid June may be the best time, as there should be chicks. All depends on the weather & how soon they nest, lay eggs, etc.

So in a nut shell having a Martin colony is work, but it is super rewarding. Seeing their beauty when the sun hits their feathers, hearing them sing & watching their great aerial abilities is beyond breath taking. Nature at it's best :).

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Archer
Posts: 757
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.

Nice work Doug, with cold weather expected on the weekend, its great timing too. I had the privilege of teaching my martins last spring, in much the same way you have. It was already the second week of May and we were still getting snow and wind days. I had about 10 here and on the second day of trying they were successful. The day before they were watching closely but a badly timed "yahoo" when a martin dove for the first cricket ended the day. I made a promise that day that I would feed them whenever they were hungry. They tell me they are hungry when they line up on the wire above my feeding platform. I could hardly believe it, some days when we had 30 mph winds with snow and they were sitting on the wire. I had to lead the martins with my flips so that they could catch them. As soon as they had enough, they went back into their housing. Other days I would get home on my lunch hour and the martins would be waiting for me on the wire. Some were even bold enough to dive bomb me and let out a big ZZZZZZ, letting know they were hungry. Shortly after they were trained we transitioned to the feeding platform. I left the leftovers on the platform so that they could help themselves when I was at work. I always hope I don't have to feed them, but is sure is a joy to know that I can, if I have to.
Last edited by Archer on Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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.
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

It sure is helpful for you to chime in, as there are still plenty of folks that can use some guidance in this hobby. I know some in the south don't quite get this feeding thing we do up here. But it's "do or die" up here at times, especially in my area.

Anyone that can share their success or failures, or can add their secret to this string will certainly benefit others out there.

We may have a rough week ahead of us beginning Saturday. You folk even further north than me probably owe me a few crickets lol My site is becoming a very popular stop over for travelers. They get fed well here too! :wink: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thanks
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
William A
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:35 am
Location: AL/Marion

Doug, great informative post and the follow on posts were outstanding also. I thank everyone for the effort keeping the birds alive in that terrible weather. Doug, are you just using a regular whistle like the referee's use? Thanks
PMCA Member
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

No William just my lips. Just a good old fashioned higher pitch followed by a lower one. Kind of the opposite of a wolf whistle for a cute gal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apwb9ZRklTc

At about 2:15 into this video is my whistle I use.
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Ed Pace
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Thanks for the terrific read doug ,these kind of articles are going to help out a lot of people and compound that success towards saving tons of Martins.

Interesting how you were talking about this morning at 8 o'clock March 29 how are you were feeding your martins and it just happens to be the exact time that my daughter got her first two birds up in Ashville New York ,a little north of you , she was very excited but somewhat nervous because of the cold weather we're having right now. Good luck to you for the rest of the season. Ed.

PS and that was a great video also.
Last edited by Ed Pace on Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pmartinlover2
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:37 pm
Location: IL/Hillsboro
Martin Colony History: 2011 Home site--1 SY pair--2 fledged
2016 Satellite Site---4 pair--19 eggs laid--17 hatched--16 fledged
2017 Satellite Site--8 pair--37 eggs laid--34 hatched--34 fledged
2018 11 pair--fledged 60
2019 20 pair-fledged 94
2020 23pair-fledged 108

Best supplemental feeding 101 I've seen!!! Having them recognize your voice and line up to tell you that they're hungry is amazing! I want that too!!! Thanks to all of you for sharing this valuable info especially as cooler temps are in the forcast. Best of luck!
______
Jody
Jody in Central Illinois
Landlord in 2016
2016—4 pr fledged 16
2017—8 pr fledged 34
2018—11 pr fledged 60
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..

She trusted me..
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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!!!!!
KBoothby
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:05 am
Location: Ontario/Langton
Martin Colony History: 2017: 25 pairs
2013: 7 pairs (12 gourds added)
2011: 1 pair (first year: 14 rm condo/4 gourds)

Great information everyone. Thanks for sharing.

Toy...interesting to hear about your visitors especially the tuxedo-ed gentleman - I had one like that at my colony last year, maybe he's on his way 'home' to me! Also the female with the single metal leg band...for the past few summers, my chicks have been banded in that manner by Bird Studies Canada. If you ever get a chance to get a band number do share! Would love to know which/if any of my 'babies' are soaring across the skies.

Thanks again everyone.
Happy Trails. Kathryn (PMCA Member & Nature Lover)
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
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.

Kathryn:

I'm located almost smack in the middle of PA. So it could be that 2 of those Martins....tuxedo man & banded lady were from your colony. I saw the male at the end of the season during migration & the lady was earlier in the season. I do know some stop over on their way North & South to rest, so they could be from your colony. Sadly I don't have a spotting scope, so I wouldn't be able to read any bands.

Toy in PA.
PMCA Member
JudyA
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:54 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Tony, I like the picture! Nice to be trusted!
- Judy
2016 - 4 Pairs with 16 fledged
eyeamtheman
Posts: 633
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:21 pm
Location: Quitman, La
Martin Colony History: Super colony

I certainly agree that further north the martins have a greater risk for survival than here in the early season. However, last year, a 10 day stretch from late February to early March surely doomed hundreds of martins throughout the upper half of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Temperatures below 50 and rain, sleet, etc.
In 8 years I had never needed to train them because there was never an extended period of weather they could not feed in before. I had about 20 birds when all this started and on the 2nd day when I knew they hadn't eaten, I began to train them. It didn't take long. On the next day I started with the eggs, and before it was all over, some of the martins preferred the eggs over the crickets. I had no feeding tray so I began slinging handfuls of eggs/crickets onto the roof of my house and boy was it on then.
I saved most of those birds that would have no doubt starved. I know of 5-7 or so that died anyway. I would come in from work and they would hover inches from me as I got out of my truck. It was awesome and very satisfying also. And even better was the birds from this year that were here last year and they remembered. I was thrilled to say the least.
Johnny
Ed Pace
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Johnny that's great news thanks for sharing it with us you did a heckuva job . :) :)

__________________
Ed.
JudyA
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:54 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

Great post! Thank you for letting us know what worked for you! Best of luck this season!!!
- Judy
2016 - 4 Pairs with 16 fledged
pmartinlover2
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:37 pm
Location: IL/Hillsboro
Martin Colony History: 2011 Home site--1 SY pair--2 fledged
2016 Satellite Site---4 pair--19 eggs laid--17 hatched--16 fledged
2017 Satellite Site--8 pair--37 eggs laid--34 hatched--34 fledged
2018 11 pair--fledged 60
2019 20 pair-fledged 94
2020 23pair-fledged 108

i love hearing all these great stories from our veteran landlords! Thank you for sharing!
Awesome picture Tony!
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Jody
Jody in Central Illinois
Landlord in 2016
2016—4 pr fledged 16
2017—8 pr fledged 34
2018—11 pr fledged 60
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..

pmartinlover2 wrote:i love hearing all these great stories from our veteran landlords! Thank you for sharing!
Awesome picture Tony!
_______
Jody
Thanks Jody, by far my best moment being a Martin Landlord!! Unforgettable!!
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!!!!!
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..

JudyA wrote:Tony, I like the picture! Nice to be trusted!
- Judy
Thanks Judy, my best ever moment being a Martin Landlord!!
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!!!!!
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Tony,

Sure looks like trust to me. Excellent photo. At least the SY Male is handsome. :wink:

Johnny,

Amazing you were able to pull that off! Not an easy task. Great story of success. Thanks for your contribution.

Well........ one more day of warmth here. Then it's all downhill weather for a while. I counted about 15 birds in the air this morning.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
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