Colony Being Destroyed

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KathyF
Posts: 3499
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.

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby KathyF » Thu May 09, 2019 10:00 am

Ok, it’s been three days with no more killing of martins. I have three active nest left, hope for the best.
Hoping your colony is now safe and you can start sleeping at night again. :wink:
"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

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Thu May 09, 2019 5:15 pm

Thank you!! Maybe we saved it.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

mjfog
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby mjfog » Thu May 09, 2019 8:08 pm

rrmartins - Sorry about your situation. If your colony is raised and lowered on a pole with a wench driven cable and you have no predator guard in place, I'm betting on a mammalian predator, probably a rat. Rats may have a problem hiking up a steel pole but with an adjacent cable to grip, no problem. You did mention "bird netting". Whatever is killing your birds obviously has no problem climbing around the netting. I'll bet a rat could do it. Not a sparrow hawk or other hawk. They're diurnal hunters and you've described your problem a nocturnal one. It's not fire ants. My wildlife biology background rules out owls as your problem. Either a great horned or barred could easily swallow a martin whole and leave now evidence for you to photo. Plus these guys are big strong predators and would leave some obvious physical damage to your colony, not just to the birds.

Your frustrated comment, "ten years down the drain." Where does that come from? No whining. I hope you put all the ideas from folks on the forum and solve this problem. We're all pulling for you. You'll work it out.

Mike

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Fri May 10, 2019 8:07 am

rrmartins - Sorry about your situation. If your colony is raised and lowered on a pole with a wench driven cable and you have no predator guard in place, I'm betting on a mammalian predator, probably a rat. Rats may have a problem hiking up a steel pole but with an adjacent cable to grip, no problem. You did mention "bird netting". Whatever is killing your birds obviously has no problem climbing around the netting. I'll bet a rat could do it. Not a sparrow hawk or other hawk. They're diurnal hunters and you've described your problem a nocturnal one. It's not fire ants. My wildlife biology background rules out owls as your problem. Either a great horned or barred could easily swallow a martin whole and leave now evidence for you to photo. Plus these guys are big strong predators and would leave some obvious physical damage to your colony, not just to the birds.

Your frustrated comment, "ten years down the drain." Where does that come from? No whining. I hope you put all the ideas from folks on the forum and solve this problem. We're all pulling for you. You'll work it out.

Mike
Thank you
If you read the entire thread you’ll see that we fixed the problem!! Hopefully
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Sun May 12, 2019 9:20 am

I hope I killed a huge rat last night. I heard a noise, clinking sound, guess he was trying too climb the guard. Dogs ran outside and chased him from the pole to a hole under my shed. I crushed some rat poison and shook a piece of bacon in it, the bacon is gone, hopefully he’ll die. Guess a rat was the culprit.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

mayboy
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 8:07 pm
Location: Berea, KY
Martin Colony History: Just starting.

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby mayboy » Mon May 13, 2019 12:51 pm

No one has mentioned flying squirrels. Everything that has been mentioned is a possible cause for the dead martins, but flying squirrels is the likely culprit. They don't need to climb up or down the pole - they can glide in from a nearby tree or utility pole, do the damage, and glide back down to the yard, fence, or tree. They do supplement their diets with birds and eggs and they would have no problem getting into even the starling proof entrances. And - they are nocturnal.

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Mon May 13, 2019 2:23 pm

No one has mentioned flying squirrels. Everything that has been mentioned is a possible cause for the dead martins, but flying squirrels is the likely culprit. They don't need to climb up or down the pole - they can glide in from a nearby tree or utility pole, do the damage, and glide back down to the yard, fence, or tree. They do supplement their diets with birds and eggs and they would have no problem getting into even the starling proof entrances. And - they are nocturnal.
Not that I don’t disagree, but I’ve never heard of them being a issue, in the ten years I’ve been on this forum.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

KathyF
Posts: 3499
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.

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby KathyF » Mon May 13, 2019 4:08 pm

No one has mentioned flying squirrels. Everything that has been mentioned is a possible cause for the dead martins, but flying squirrels is the likely culprit. They don't need to climb up or down the pole - they can glide in from a nearby tree or utility pole, do the damage, and glide back down to the yard, fence, or tree. They do supplement their diets with birds and eggs and they would have no problem getting into even the starling proof entrances. And - they are nocturnal.
Now that's interesting. Still, go with "Occam's Razor" - the most likely scenario....and track your progress. Hope things are still going well, "RR".
"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

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Tue May 14, 2019 1:45 pm

No one has mentioned flying squirrels. Everything that has been mentioned is a possible cause for the dead martins, but flying squirrels is the likely culprit. They don't need to climb up or down the pole - they can glide in from a nearby tree or utility pole, do the damage, and glide back down to the yard, fence, or tree. They do supplement their diets with birds and eggs and they would have no problem getting into even the starling proof entrances. And - they are nocturnal.
Now that's interesting. Still, go with "Occam's Razor" - the most likely scenario....and track your progress. Hope things are still going well, "RR".
Who is Razor?
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

Spiderman
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby Spiderman » Tue May 14, 2019 2:47 pm

Occam's razor is the problem-solving principle that essentially states that "simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.

I have a lot of flying squirrels that go to our bird feeders at night. Have not ever had any issues with them being interested in our Martins over the years.

I think the Rat was your problem.

Hopefully you can go back to enjoying your Martins again.
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

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Tue May 14, 2019 3:36 pm

So far so good.
Thank you!!
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

Steve joubert
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:44 pm
Location: Opelousas Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Start date 6-15/19 starting out

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby Steve joubert » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:49 pm

Hey rrmartins, I have predictor five gallon bucket on pole and it looks small on picture but it large with wasp nest in it. Also a Protector and surprise to unwanted climbers. Pound is about 300 hundred feet from site . One side open and fairly large. We fish from one side.

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:43 pm

A picture of the pond and surrounding area would be great. How big is the pond itself?
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

gotham
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:36 am
Location: Wellington, On, Canada (our summer place)
Martin Colony History: Wife's family martin house shore Lake Ontario since 1967. New martin house 2019 (Lonestar Alamo aluminum 14 compartment with perching rods and nest trays).

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby gotham » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:44 am

RRMartins, I found this thread very instructive. Since you reported no trouble after May 14 I assume the addition of the predator guard (+/- possibly having killed the rat with the poison) solved the problem.

It would be of interest to hear how your colony did throughout the rest of the purple martin season.

Gotham

rrmartins
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby rrmartins » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:00 am

Everything was fine after the problem was solved. We had two SY pair make late nest and they made it also. We only fledged twenty-two this year but the colony survived and the martins will return next year. Very valuable lesson learned that’s for sure. Hopefully we all can learn from this and be better prepared for predators against our colony’s.
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
Rat breached bird netting and nearly wiped out entire colony over a four day period. Problem was fixed!!

Dave Duit
Posts: 1481
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: state:Iowa / town:Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2018, 54 pair with 202 fledged youngsters. 73 total compartments available, 48 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Re: Colony Being Destroyed

Postby Dave Duit » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:40 am

Head trauma is an indicator of a starling attack.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.


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