Coppers hawk has my colony under attack

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Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

For the past five days, since terrible storms rolled thru here earlier this week, our site has experienced multiple, daily attacks from a cooper. May be more than one. Been losing hy birds at an alarming rate. Tonight I lost parents trying to fledge their young.
I stay outside as much as I can. I do hawk patrol from dinner time until nightfall, every bought. Lot of good it does me. The sneaky s.o.b. comes from nowhere and ignores my attempts to ward him off. I'm so angry and upset.
Tonight it came after 8pm and grabbed a parent tending young. It circled back two more times in the next 15 minutes. Needless to say, few birds return to the housing after that.
Don't know what to do with unfledged young. They are old enough to fly, just haven't yet.
I needed to tell someone, that's all.
It's been a nightmare. I can't keep this up.
Judy
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
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Okay, I guess I'm not done venting yet.
My site is definitely not the greatest. Tree encroached and nestled in town between houses. I've got good housing with predator guards...pole guards, owl guards, wire cages. Anything I think I can do to protect the birds, I do. But I can't level the trees in the neighbourhood. I can't move my housing to a more open site my lot is too small.
The only solution I can see is to remove the colony altogether. It's for their safety.
The neighbor next door had martins for years and when she passed, her family removed the martin house and sold the property. I inherited these birds. But I think it's time they find a safer location in the future. It is tormenting me, what I feel I must do. I can't eliminate the hawks and owls. So I need to suck it up and get the birds to move on.
Judy
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
tlragsdale
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 pm
Location: Wisconsin/New Richmond

Can imagine the frustration of not being able to do more to prevent future attacks. Hoping he/she/it moves on….and soon.

Sending best-wishes/karma/a curse upon the Cooper hawk your direction.
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
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Tiragsdale,
Thanks for the heartfelt response. Can sure use some good karma around here. :-(
I am so unbelievably bummed.
Judy
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
John Miller
Posts: 4774
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

I wish I knew what to say.

Kathy Freeze says she uses an air horn, I think from Wal-Mart, to scare them off. Not sure your neighbors would approve, but might be something to try for few remaining days of the season.

Get through the next few days, but if you do decide to do something different, relocating the housing to an open park or other setting nearby might be an option. I know it's hard to think about right now. Hang in there.

John M
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Thanks John,
I have a good three weeks left...late sy nests. The last big fledge is going on now and should continue for another week, if any birds survive.
Oh l make plenty of noise. Horn, wooden clapper, etc. Not to mention my yelling and cursing. Hawk got by me tonight and the birds paid the price.
Our park has a bluebird trail and it appears to be vandalized on a regular basis...Good place to put up housing. Punk kids who think it's funny to mess with wild creatures. And I know there is a hawk nest over there somewhere..
I'll get through this, but probably not without a nervous breakdown.
But I really think I'm done here. Not fair to the birds . And I'm tired of the heartache.
No easy solution here.
Judy
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
ToyinPA
Posts: 2134
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.

Judy:
I am so sorry :(. I know how hard it is to do all you can & not be able to stop it. My husband keeps reminding me....it's nature & there is nothing we can do about it. Still it hurts.

I've lost 14 chicks to dehydration this season, so far. Seven in one day :(. 4 chicks on the ground in the last 2 days. 3 of them we got in the air, but the 4th could not fly. Caught it 3 times tonight. Each time it tried to fly it made it about 3 feet & ended up on the ground. My husband sat it on top of the clothesline post & I watch to see where the parents went. I finally found which nest it belonged in, feed it crickets & put it back in the nest.

I've also lost adults in the past to hawks. Every time they would go to the river (about a mile away) to feed less would come back & I knew the hawks got them. There was nothing I could do. One male made it back injured, ended up in the yard & died before I found him, only a few feet from the house.

I also live in town & have tall trees just across the alley from my site. When my colony started the trees were not there. My older neighbor passed away & the new neighbors are ...well for lack of a better word...NOT neighbors. This is a neighbor no one talks to anymore for various reasons, so there is nothing I can do about the forest (entire yard & house are now surrounded by trees & a tall fence) they planted over there. All I can do is pray my colony continues.

Twice in the last 2 days my colony took after a hawk. One they chased out of a tall pine tree, 2 houses down, & right up the street past me, as I sat on my front porch. Thankfully I have a ASY Male & 3 SY Males that have no mates & they act as guards. If a hawk gets with in vision the alarm goes off & they take to the sky after it.

As for any adults you lost that had chicks you could try placing them in other nests.

I don't know what type of houses you have.....however, next season, you could try to extend the roof line out past the porches, and remove any perches above the houses, so the martins would not be seen from the air while sitting on the porches. I know not an easy task, but possible.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Hi Toy.
Thanks for your response.
I'm not sleeping well tonight. Keep seeing the hawk.
You're going through a pretty tough time yourself. Picking up dead or dying young is pretty tough. Your husband sounds like my husband. Been rough year for you and I. Saturday morning a runt tried to fledge only to go down to the street and get run over by a car before I could get to it. An omen for the rest of the day perhaps.
I have a trendsetter with a wire cage, a t14 with wire in front of the porches and gourd rack. All gourds have owl guards. Hawk caught female sitting on power line calling to her young. She had been trying to get them out all day. Don't think putting young in another nest would be a option with these.
I am outside every evening. I listen and watch closely and can usually hear the neighborhood wildlife sound the alarm before the beast is upon us. This was totally a surprise . Not sure if any of the other martins will come back after this too close attack..
Hawk attacks, starvation, heat, cold. ...you name it. It's all difficult to handle.
Keeping you in my thoughts. Hopefully it gets better for both of us.
Judy
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
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Darn Judy this is not what I wanted to read this morning! Bless you and Larry! I know you love your birds! I am like John there's just no words! :-(
:-( Maybe think about your situation and give it your best until their gone! I know what your yard looks like and yeah it's breaking all the rules. I know the trees are your issue! The Hawks are everywhere and getting bad!
I'm here if you need me to come up and talk! :) :)
Good luck! I hope that hawk got eaten last night by an owl!!!! :shock: :evil:
Sharon from southern Illinois
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

If you know the general area the hawk is attacking from maybe you could put up a temporary barrier between that and your colony, anything to make it more difficult for the hawk and more time for your martins. Several years ago I put up a barrier along the road to keep my birds from flying into the path of traffic, I put up a row of 6ft T posts then tightly tied 10ft one inch thin wall conduit to top sides of the posts and attached plastic netting to that. It made a barrier about 14 ft tall, my birds stayed high enough to clear the traffic. I'm thinking it might work for you if you can make it so the hawk has to fly up and over, it would delay him.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Larry and Judy I just want to say I will help you move to a location in your hometown! Go to a town meeting this fall and see if there is an open area at a public building. The green house going out of town is open and with people around they will be safe out there! A nature oriented owner is who we need! I will help, just let me know what you decide! :)
I'm just thinking for you! I know you love them but your health is first! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Sharon ,
Thanks for your kind offer of help. Yes, you know how restricted my site is. The trouble with in-town colonies. I will get through this season and rethink the future of martins here in millstadt. I believe ours is the only in-town site left. All others have been neglected and closed mostly due to the homeowners that are too old to maintain their sites, or have passed altogether. A bit sad because we used to have at least a half dozen other house nearby, all gone except mine. The hard part will be in March when the scouts arrive and nothing here for them. One hard spring I guess. But I'm doing what I can right now.

Ray,
Yes we have considered a barrier. Am concerned about martins being caught by such a barrier. A few years ago I put up poles on one side of the yard hoping the hawk swerving would buy seconds for the martins. Got me thru that season. So I'm going to work on that angle right away. Thanks for the reminder. Did you use construction netting?
Judy
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
John Miller
Posts: 4774
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

If it comes down to it, let's drive around lovely Millstadt this fall and find a safe public spot. Maybe at the police station - ha -- half serious. I have considered fire stations.

Hang in there,
John
Matt F.
Posts: 3903
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Larry Kronemeyer wrote:I believe ours is the only in-town site left. All others have been neglected and closed mostly due to the homeowners that are too old to maintain their sites, or have passed altogether. A bit sad because we used to have at least a half dozen other house nearby, all gone except mine
Judy,
I'm really sorry for what you're having to deal with.
I know it's despair, dread, and anger, all at once.
One thing that keeps coming to mind though, is if a wonderfully managed and cared for colony like yours is under siege from Coopers' Hawks, it's very likely that other colonies there in the greater Millstadt area are as well.
I'd hate to think how bad the unmanaged colonies, that are most likely using 6"X6" housing, with no guards or cages, are fairing.
Your colony, and the way it's so greatly setup, and managed, is giving the Millstadt area Martins a nesting site with the best protection they can get, and the best chances of survival, and successful nesting.
You're receiving a big group hug from all of us here.
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

John.
I've already been looking around town. Small, old German town. Houses close together. Trees for shade. Not many nearby options. A large gourd colony north of town, but I don't personally know the people. I wonder how they faired in the storm.
Still looking.

Matt,
You are so right! Larry reminds me every year that, while far from perfect, we provide the birds with the best we can offer. Supplemental feeding and close monitoring of the birds ( sometimes too close). People who visit are amazed at how healthy the birds seem to be....there's only the matter of the hawk. I don't want to feed the hawk.
I'll get through these next few weeks. ...even if I have to camp out in the yard.
I truely thank everyone for the suggestions and offers of help.

Judy
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
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

You probably already have decoys in place? You might try some dove decoys too. You have probably read Steve's thread about owl decoys too? Also you might try putting feed out for dove and other birds so the hawk goes for them or they alert the martins. A hawk tried to grab my martin decoy the other night. It did the trick for that time but he might be back. Just a few ideas that I've heard of.

Marcus
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

Hi Judy. Quite the ordeal you're experiencing and hope that things don't come down to TOTAL destruction of your martin colony. Do you really think that is a possibility? What a nightmare. I wonder what tree the hawk has/was/is nesting in.........would make me want to cut it down after the hawk nest is inactive (don't think that would be illegal :|?? ). Of course it would help if the tree was an exotic species, old, and/or in serious decline! That hawk needs to be encouraged to nest elsewhere! That seems to be the crux of the problem; the hawk is a resident hawk and not in migration. Time for one of those blow up scarecrows move around the site?? I hope the problem goes away somehow.......
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
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Tim ,
Well it certainly feels like the total destruction of my colony, what's left anyway. Som :grin: e parents are cautiously feeding, one hy has been by himself all day. Tomorrow I will remove him if no parent appears and rehydrate it ,keeping it out of the heat for a while. The big deal will be this evening when and if martins bring their young in. I'm taking as many precautions as I can.
This whole thing started right after a rehabber brought back an hy that we took in because it couldn't fly. They released it back here. We were thrilled it survived. We soon discovered that although it could fly just not high or for sustained periods. We tried to recapture it, but it spent most of it's time on the roof of our porch. We tried everything short of climbing onto the roof. But of course he would fly away and come back later. I tried flipping crickets to it, trying to get it close enough to net. Where it went at night is anybody's guess but it always returned to the roof. I believe the hawk could see it , and thinking back, I think I stopped several attempts by the hawk. Three days ago the hawk was successful. The hy disappeared. I found a very small group of feathers in the driveway. Ever since the beast has returned multiple times, catching a martin last night. What else I don't know. Martins are so easy to catch, so easily distracted.
Decoys of all types are up. Owl decoy on pole but we've been covering it during the day because an ASY male goes nuts.
Wish me luck y'all.
Judy
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
~Ray~Gingerich
Posts: 2122
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:24 pm
Location: Delaware/Dover

Larry Kronemeyer wrote:Sharon ,
Thanks for your kind offer of help. Yes, you know how restricted my site is. The trouble with in-town colonies. I will get through this season and rethink the future of martins here in millstadt. I believe ours is the only in-town site left. All others have been neglected and closed mostly due to the homeowners that are too old to maintain their sites, or have passed altogether. A bit sad because we used to have at least a half dozen other house nearby, all gone except mine. The hard part will be in March when the scouts arrive and nothing here for them. One hard spring I guess. But I'm doing what I can right now.

Ray,
Yes we have considered a barrier. Am concerned about martins being caught by such a barrier. A few years ago I put up poles on one side of the yard hoping the hawk swerving would buy seconds for the martins. Got me thru that season. So I'm going to work on that angle right away. Thanks for the reminder. Did you use construction netting?
Judy
Judy the netting I used looks like rat wire but made out of black plastic and had 3/4 inch sq holes The martins knew exactly where the netting was and how close they could get to it. You could use construction stuff too but wouldn't look as good.
~Ray~ Gingerich
1999 1pair, 2006 2 pair, 2008 2 pair,
2009 23 pair, 2010 39 pair, 2011 67 pair,
2012 115 pair, 2013 160 pair,
2014 152 pair, 2015 174 pair, 2016 178 pair
2017 187 pair, 2018 200 pair, 2019 171pair
2020 233 pair
Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 494
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Thanks Ray. Rat netting? Is that like garden/ orchard netting like we wad up on our poles for snakes? Or slightly heavier ?
Judy
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
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