Nests with eggs abandoned

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Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

I am a new landlord in southern New Jersey. I have a 3-story house with 6 total 6x12 compartments and 3 Troyer horizontal gourds underneath. I saw a lot of martin activity in the 3 gourds and top floor of the house in the past 4 weeks. There were definitely 3 pairs. A nest check 10 days ago showed leaves in 2 of the gourds and 1 of the top floor compartments. I had placed pine needles in each compartment and gourd to give the birds a start. Last Wednesday we had a bad storm, afterwards the martins didn't seem to be around. I did another nest check yesterday and found 1 gourd with 4 eggs and another with 3. But no martins. When I lowered the housing 2 martins swooped down but didn't come back after I raised the housing. I haven't seen any martins at my housing for the last 5 days and there are nests with eggs. What happened?

Two other factors:
1) there are house sparrows on the 1st and 2nd floor of the house, I've ripped out their nests at least 4 times but they keep rebuilding
2) a neighbor put up some new gourd housing last Wednesday, I saw martins around them briefly but not any pairs or residents.

Should I clean out my gourd nests, put in new pine needles and try again? Did the sparrows drive the martins away? I never saw any fights, the martins seemed ok with the gourds. Should I close up the house to keep the sparrows away?

I'm disappointed, I was really hoping for a successful 1st season. :-(

Terri
Tuckerton NJ
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Under most circumstances martins won't just abandon a nest with eggs. Sparrows and starlings can kill martins but my experience has been that sparrows are more likely to peck the eggs. If there was no damage to the eggs I would guess it was some other predator. Snakes would have more then likely eaten the eggs too but you never know. I am not sure how much pressure they would have to be getting from hawk attacks etc. to cause them to leave an active nest. I am guessing that something has actually killed them. Do you have any type of predator guards on your pole?
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.
Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

I don't have any predator guards. We live on a salt water creek, snakes and other varmints who climb poles are not a factor here. We do have osprey who fish the creek. I've seen martins chase them high in the sky several times.

This morning there was a lone male on the 3-egg gourd for about 5 minutes, then gone.

Should I empty the nests to allow another try?

I noticed that the 4 egg nest eggs were tan, the 3- egg nest eggs were white.
sugarcreek
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Number1 get rid of your house sparrow's and that will more than likely solve your problem, ripping out Hosp nest rages the sparrow's and they'll very likely go on a rampage and torment who they think did it....(the martins) martins have white eggs so whatever is laying brown eggs isn't a martin.
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 ?
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Try to post some pictures of the nests and the eggs before you do anything to them. That might shed some light on the situation.
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.
Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

I just went out with a ladder so I could get some pictures to post, I opened the ladder and the noise must have stunned a female martin which was in the gourd with the 4 tan/ivory eggs! This gourd opens towards the water so the only way I can see the entrance is via kayak in the water. I can access the cap on land which is how I observed the nest with the eggs. I was totally surprised to see this female, there's no other martins that I see but if the male is at the opening I can't see it either.

Bottom line I will leave things as-is tonight and perhaps lower the housing to check it out tomorrow around 3pm.

Meanwhile I'll work on getting rid of the sparrows.
Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

I did a nest check today and took pictures of the nests inside the gourds. Gourd-1 has 4 eggs, they are white not tan as previously stated. No martins were around when I lowered the house, I didn't see the female now in 2 days.

Gourd-3 has a single white egg. When I posted this question about abandoned nests, I sure thought I saw 2 eggs. I have a good vantage point from my house b to keep an eye on this gourd, no martins in occupation. The light shining in Gourd-3 is a reflection of the sun through the drainage hole in the gourd.

I'm new at posting pictures., but here goes.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

On this forum you have to edit/resize the photos pretty small to get them to upload. I am not sure what operating system you have but I have windows 10. I right click on the picture and hit edit. The picture opens in microsoft paint and one of the icons at the top is "resize" I change it so the number of pixels on each side is 300 or lower. Then save it and upload the new one.
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.
ToyinPA
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.

Tganster wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:53 pm
I did a nest check today and took pictures of the nests inside the gourds. Gourd-1 has 4 eggs, they are white not tan as previously stated. No martins were around when I lowered the house, I didn't see the female now in 2 days.

Gourd-3 has a single white egg. When I posted this question about abandoned nests, I sure thought I saw 2 eggs. I have a good vantage point from my house b to keep an eye on this gourd, no martins in occupation. The light shining in Gourd-3 is a reflection of the sun through the drainage hole in the gourd.

I'm new at posting pictures., but here goes.
If the eggs are off white, have a yellow cast to them, then they are generally not good. The martins will push them to the front of the nest eventually. I'd let them be & let the martins deal with them.

Martins usually go off to feed shortly before or soon after the noon hour & can be gone for a few plus hours. Often one will remain close to keep an eye on things & put the alarm call out if need be. They really aren't hat far away, you just can't see them. They fly very high in the sky to feed. They can zoom in so fast you don't see them go inside the cavity.

Resize your photos down, then click on the attachments tab below your post. Add/upload your photo, then click on preview to see if it loaded.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

Another photo try...
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2019-06-06 17.52.12.jpg
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Tganster
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Tuckerton, NJ
Martin Colony History: First attempt 2019. 6 compartment house plus 3 horizontal gourds. One Martin pair, 4 eggs, all hatched.

Here's a single egg, gourd in full view, no martins around it. Shall I move this egg to the other nest or let it be or clean out this nest and hopefully attract a new pair?
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2019-06-06 17.54.17.jpg
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ToyinPA
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.

Tganster wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:03 pm
Here's a single egg, gourd in full view, no martins around it. Shall I move this egg to the other nest or let it be or clean out this nest and hopefully attract a new pair?
The eggs look fine. Let them be.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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