Timing of nest checks….

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tlragsdale
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 pm
Location: Wisconsin/New Richmond

Sorry to continually ask rookie questions….have 6 pair of PM's, which had 35 eggs. First group to hatch are---according to the PM prognosticator---due to fledge (at earliest) in 3 days. Do most of you continue to do nest checks this late, or should I leave 'em alone?

Thanks for your feedback.

Terry R.
Terry & Michelle
New Richmond, WI

2005 - 2014 Hard luck stories
2015 - 2 pair, 12 eggs/12 fledglings
2016 - 6 pair, 35 eggs/35 fledged
2017 - 18 pair, 88 eggs / 85 fledged.
2018 - 23 pair, 119 eggs/115 fledged.
2019 - 31 pair, 137 eggs/133 fledged
KathyF
Posts: 3521
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Terry, when you say, "at earliest in 3 days", does that mean they will be 25 days old then?

Some of us that have older nestlings like that will plug their nest as soon as we can get to it when we're going to do a nest check. How many nests are ready to fledge in 3 days? You can use an old sock, piece of material or something like that - John Barrow has a picture of new nest plugs he made with water pipe insulation.

Anyway, I climb a ladder and plug the nests with ready-to-fledge young and let the string hang all the way down to the ground. Then I quietly lower the racks to check the rest. You can also lower the rack first (quietly), then plug those nests as fast as possible, but with it's just me, I prefer not to risk it or I'll be running around the yard chasing new fledges. :grin:

After you complete the nest check, raise the rack / house back up and let the nestlings settle for about 10-15 minutes, then quietly pull the plug out.

I'll see if I can find John and Louise's picture of their plugs....to share.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

I personally hold off on lowering my housing for nest checks, once the oldest young in the housing has reached approximately 23-24 days old.
One reason for this, is my location - a neighborhood.
If I lower the housing, and some older nestlings prematurely fledge, they may very well end up in various neighbors' yards (some with dogs).
If I could determine which yard(s) they're in, I would like to get permission from the owner first (it looks a bit suspect when I man my age is hopping backyard fences :shock: ).
Another thing to keep in mind, is even though the plug-and-string method works great (I've used it successfully as well), it is possible that if someone is lowering housing that noisy, or jumpy on the way down, the older nestlings could bolt - even before someone has a chance to get plugs in.
Kathy's method of using a ladder tall enough to plug the entrances prior to lowering the house, is the only way I'd feel comfortable continuing to perform nest checks with babies 24 days old, or older.
I unfortunately do not have a ladder that can reach my housing prior to any lowering.
tlragsdale
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 pm
Location: Wisconsin/New Richmond

Thanks for the input. Oldest nestlings hatched on the 12th of June, with the last ones to hatch doing-so on June 19th….if my math is good, that makes the oldest nestlings 24 days old today. All 6 of the nests are in the same Gemini rack…lowers pretty smoothly, and I do have a good 8' step-ladder that would allow me to lower it a few feet, and plug the holes.

Lots of adult activity in the rack yesterday and this morning. Will probably just wait and see how everything pans-out.

Thanks, again, Kathy and Matt for your suggestions/feedback.
Terry & Michelle
New Richmond, WI

2005 - 2014 Hard luck stories
2015 - 2 pair, 12 eggs/12 fledglings
2016 - 6 pair, 35 eggs/35 fledged
2017 - 18 pair, 88 eggs / 85 fledged.
2018 - 23 pair, 119 eggs/115 fledged.
2019 - 31 pair, 137 eggs/133 fledged
KathyF
Posts: 3521
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Matt F. wrote: Another thing to keep in mind, is even though the plug-and-string method works great (I've used it successfully as well), it is possible that if someone is lowering housing that noisy, or jumpy on the way down, the older nestlings could bolt - even before someone has a chance to get plugs in.
That is true - a lot depends on the smoothness of the lowering system. An older gentleman visited my colony last year and suggested a couple of drops of oil on my cable / winch and that has helped my jumpy, sticky cable a LOT!
Ironically, one of the things that helps get the kids to the back of the gourds is the flushing & alarm calling of the colony when I walk into the yard with my nest check gear. They tend to hunker down, just long enough that I can get up there & plug.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
daveh
Posts: 662
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:40 am
Location: Kingsville Mo.

Terry, I drop all 5 houses and gourds every 5 days thruout the season to the very end. I plug comp. that are1-2 days of fledging. I do this on the ground or on a small step stool. I can only drop systems so much before the winches get in the way. I don't recall that birds ever fledged lowering or raising the houses unless they have already fledged and have come back, than they might leave again. The secret is lowering the houses often. The birds get use to your voice, the ratchet noise of the winches, the squealing of metal on pole and house, (mini castle), and opening and closing of the doors. Many times the female mom stays in comp. with eggs or babies when lowering and stays in comp. going back up.

If thereare8-10 comp. that have the same fledge date, I might wait a day or two for some to fledge before checking. I don't have that many socks with strings. I will also wait an extra day or two if the weather is bad, like rainy and cold.

I've been doing this 5 day check for 9 years. We usually have 60-65 nests that produce young. We keep the mites under control. I have insulated and vented all systems. We usually have a nice hot breeze thruout the season which I think is a plus. Better than no breeze. Wehave good plastic gourds under each house which helps keep them cool. Houses shade them.

We have wire cages or owl guards around everything but that's for another thread.

dave
PMCA member
tlragsdale
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 pm
Location: Wisconsin/New Richmond

Thanks for the info, Dave. All our gourds are Troyers, all with added ventilation and owl-guards. The nests with the oldest nestlings have heads poking-out, taking it all in.

Will be more diligent next year with staying regular on nest checks.

Thanks, again, for the input.

Terry & Michelle
Terry & Michelle
New Richmond, WI

2005 - 2014 Hard luck stories
2015 - 2 pair, 12 eggs/12 fledglings
2016 - 6 pair, 35 eggs/35 fledged
2017 - 18 pair, 88 eggs / 85 fledged.
2018 - 23 pair, 119 eggs/115 fledged.
2019 - 31 pair, 137 eggs/133 fledged
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