Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:35 pm
Location: MN/Foley

...My Martins started arriving home this week....Last night I counted at least 8 landing and scooting in their compartments just before tonight it's snowing a lot...ALOT!!!...thru tonight they are predicting 2 1/2 inches with temps in the 30's......40's-50's tomorrow and 60's on Friday......hope they can weather this alright....always worry for these birds.....I must be nuts.......could use some encouragement from other experienced Midwesterners bout now.....welcome to the great white north....ugh!!......."stay safe" ...Mark
Posts: 2110
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.


I'm central PA & have dealt with snow & below freezing temps many times after my martins arrived. Check in the AM to make sure the entrances are open. If not lower your housing & scoop the snow off so they can get out.

I have T-10 houses. If temps are to drop below freezing I place hand warmers in the lower cavities, which I keep closed until better weather, so the heat rises. One night below freezing is OK , but if you are to have a couple plus days of below freezing nights you might consider using the hand warmers. I try to place them in the housing 1-2 hours before dark. Hand warmers kept them warm thru the night & keep them from using up all their resources. Some may join others in the same cavity to stay warm, but I've never had them do that. It can create a problem if several pile in one cavity & get stuck inside. You'll need to keep a close watch to make sure they can get out.

You didn't state if your colony is trained to supplement feed & if so from flipping or tray. If not you should try anyway. Good time to train them. Flip crickets, scrambled eggs or meal worms. Whatever you can get on quick notice. Feed twice a day, three times if possible. An adult will eat 10-14 crickets per feeding, depending on how hungry they are & the size of the crickets/meal worms or egg. I try to do the last feeding 2 hours before dark, so they can see the food being flung in the air. Pay attention to the females, as they often hang back due to aggressive males. Try getting food to them if possible. You can also try placing food just inside the entrances. I've never had any luck with that, but others have. A well fed martin will survive cold temps, but a hungry/starving martin will use up all it's resources trying to stay warm & may perish. All you can do is try.

Best wishes. Hope your martins make it thru the snow & cold.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:35 pm
Location: MN/Foley

...thank you for the advice....will try the feeding after work tomorrow...have a tray that they come to for eggshells and pine needles....have not trained them to catch food....but will give it a go....have some mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers all dried....will soak in water wife just gasped!!!! our first hummingbird just arrived......sheeesh....!...he looks froze!!....oh well....thanks again .....later..."stay safe"......Mark...IMG_20190508_180347496
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:35 pm
Location: MN/Foley

IMG_20190508_180347496.jpg (74.52 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
IMG_20190508_184344582.jpg (39.28 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
Posts: 233
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
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

MarkinMn - Hard to imagine for a Louisiana-Florida Boy. I'm sitting outside this evening watching my martins in my shorts and a tee-shirt in mid-70s temps. The pics you included in your post make me shiver. My daughter has a college friend from Florida who married a Michigan guy. They live in Ely, MN which I think is close to International Falls, MN where all the record lows are set. Is Foley up in that part of the country?
Your martin set looks lovely; like Christmas. Wishing you warmer weather and a successful season.

Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:35 pm
Location: MN/Foley

Hey Mike ....thanks for responding wow......70 degrees....we are really looking forward to that.....but the snow just keeps coming.........
The attachment IMG_20190508_202344697.jpg is no longer available
IMG_20190508_202344697.jpg (46.77 KiB) Viewed 1946 times
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I live in Indiana and I have never had to supplemental feed because by the time they arrive here it is usually warm enough. A few weeks ago we had a cold rainy spell where it stayed below 50 degrees and rain for four days. On the third day I went to a local pet shop and bought 150 crickets. I put them in the freezer just long enough to kill them. Maybe I am lucky but I was shocked at how quickly they took to it. It took maybe 10 crickets flipped in the air when a female went after one. At the time there was only 2 martins out. Within a minute there was about 15 of them and they ate all the crickets. I then went in and scrambled some eggs and they ate those also, although not as well. It only cost me $15.00 and very likely saved those martins. I was scared by the fourth day they would have gotten weak enough that they might not have been able to fly on the fifth day yo feed.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

I managed to train mine to supplemental feed really Glad we took the time to do it, they now come down right in front of the house and eat out of a tray as for me its always nerve racking when cold weather comes and it sticks around for a couple days because that third day they get really hungry. I would rather take the time to feed then find out i have dead martins...They are too hard to attract. Always amazes me when they come back from migration and the first time its cold they will remember how supplemental feeding works....Just my opinion
2016 - 1st Yr. 14 Compartments 4 Active Nests 9 fledged, 2.25 Fledged per Active Nest
2017 - 2nd Yr. 36 Compartments 18 Active Nests 65 Fledged, 3.61 Fledged per Active Nest
2018 - 3rd Yr. 54 Compartments 43 Active Nests 169 Fledged, 3.93 Fledged per Active Nest
2019 - 4th Yr. 108 Compartments 67 Active Nests 209 Fledged, 3.12 Fledged per Active Nest
2020 - 5th Yr. 108 Compartments ?
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:35 pm
Location: MN/Foley

....well, I went out tonight with some dried crickets in some water to moisten them up and the male that was sitting on the porch swooped and swore at me a few time but wasn't interested in the crickets.....he flew off and never looked back....a female came out of a different compartment and just flew away....I waited out there for an hour but no one came home, just a lonely looking tree swallow.....sigh.....predicted low tonight 31 degrees....high tomorrow 59 and sunny.....maybe they will come back...?....anyhow....will try again tomorrow....thanks for the advice everyone...."stay safe"......mrk
Post Reply