Lost a Martin tonight

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loco for purple
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: arlington/texas

I like to spend the evenings watching the martins and looking out for hawks who like to do sneak attacks on the martins right before dark. Over the years I've saved many martins just by being outside with them as they come in for the night. Nothing had happened all yr until tonight . I was watching a ASY male that I hadn't noticed before , because it was in a gourd that had previously been empty . I watched it for 5 minutes as it sat at the opening of the gourd . For some reason , it flew out then tried to fly back in but missed the opening a couple of times due to a small wind gust. It then flew to another rack and sat their when I saw it . Up over the fence , then along the ground and straight up to the martin like a bullet. The hawk was difficult to see since it was almost dark. I jumped out of my seat and clapped like a mad man. I startled the hawk who managed to grab the martin temporarily . The martin broke free and glided to a tree while the hawk flew back from where it came from empty handed . I grabbed a flash light and found the martin at the base of the tree already gone. It had a small injury to its back that was enough to kill it .
It was strange , 5 minutes earlier I was watching a ASY claiming a gourd and now it was dead . I keep a scarecrow that looks like a manequinn that is very effective on hawks. I keep it outside the fence line facing a direction that hawks like to attack my yard from . This hawk had come from that same direction . I went and looked and my scarecrow was on the ground . I guess the wind had knocked it down . I'm certain that if the scarecrow had been standing there the hawk would not have attacked tonight . Hawks are doing what they do . I'm more upset with myself for letting my guard down . I'm hoping the hawk doesn't come back since I startled it and it left empty handed . It's just a constant battle with these guys and yes , I also have decoys . I just needed to vent a little.
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:26 pm
Location: Claremore, OK
Martin Colony History: 2016 Informed landlord now Have 2 pair returning from 2015 That is a miracle. Hoping for a very successful year, sparrow population on decline.
First house was plastic with crescent holes Had martins within a few days. Ignorant landlord gradually lost them
Then got Trio House and still lost most of them. Lots of sparrows

So sorry but you did all you could. We go the extra mile for our birds but we just cannot protect them from all dangers. Don't be too hard on yourself. You are a good landlord.
PMCA member
2016 Started with 2 pair, 1 pair abandoned after HOSP destroyed eggs
1 pair= 6 eggs, 6 fledged
2017 1 pair so far, But they abandoned before nest complete for ?reason? Now Bridless and joined the Wannabes
2018 One pair ASY male SY female 5 eggs, 5 fledged
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Sorry for your loss Loco For Purple, I know how bad it hurts when it happens , I too have had a lot of Hawk attacks here in Grand Prairie both w/ me standing out there under my Gourd Rack and LS Goliad PM House and me watching from inside my house , all we can do as Martin Landlords is The Best we can to protect our Martins . No matter how hard we try we are just going to loose a few. In order to help deter Hawk attacks and actually hitting a Martin with their Talons for decades I have had up PM Decoys along w/ My Decoy Mojo Doves as a deterrent and most of the time The Hawk attacks did hit the decoys giving the Martins a chance to bolt to freedom . This year I decided to not put up any decoys just trying to change up things a bit but after my Observation all of my decoys are going back up in place next year.
Loco, we need to focus on all the good we have done as PM Landlords to help the Martins & Their young that do survive , The Martins have an ongoing battle with the hawks and no matter where they are the Hawks are there as well. For Next year I hope to Have My Cage completely Built to help give my Martins more protection. I wish you good Luck for the rest of this Martin Season and hopefully the hawks will move on.
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,


Jim 1990
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:08 am
Location: Fort wayne IN

Sorry to hear about the hawk attack . I have had it happen to me to and I was close the racks and had a marine horn on hand . My first time I saw a martin getting taken off a gourd was when it was getting dark and all the the other martins were inside there gourds .I was thinking come on guy get in as it is dark and there are not any other martins martins keeping and eye out .Well I watched for 15 minutes or so and he was going from gourd to gourd looking in. I turned my head from watching him just for a few seconds and when I turned around to see if he had gone in and there was a hawk right on him.happened so fast
I also had a nest cam and was watching a pair build there nest and she laid all her eggs I would watch the male come in and sit on the eggs as she would go feed then a few days later I did not see her coming back to the nest . The male set in the gourd with the eggs and then looked out the entrance waiting for her to come back , she never did but with in three days the male had another mate and fledged 6 martins.

I have been working on my site as far as keeping it more open on all sides just this weekend I cut down two trees that were getting taller every year. I did not like cutting them down but they were a good location for a hawk to ambush the martins so now it is all completely open . I also put up martin decoys. I think that the hawk population seems to be growing at least in my area., I love having martins as this is my 8th year but I hate to see a martin get caught by a hawk. but it is nature plus I have 32 gourds and they are filled up and with that many martins chattering away it is going to attract some kind of predator. have a great year.
Posts: 778
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

The Hawks kill the Martins by constriction. I have startled Hawks & they would drop the Martin but they always died. It's a pretty helpless feeling at times.

If the hawk touches the Martin in flight, the Martin will not make it.

We all lose some but the fledglings make up for the small number of lost Martins 10 fold.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

I was talking to the Tennessee wildlife management agency they stated that the best way to detour hask is with a piece of pvc pipe and bolt rockets especially the one that whistles then pops. Obviously you dont want to injure them but just shot in thier general direction. I know its hard to do this when you're under attack. But its more of a deturent to prevent the attacks.

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