A gang of martins?

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cphanson
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:48 am
Location: Stoddard, WI

A gang of martins?

Postby cphanson » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:08 am

As a first time landlord, what I have experienced since my first sighting on June 5 has been interesting, to say the least. Despite reading as much as I could, both in this forum and elsewhere, I was unprepared for the unpredictable - and what I think is rather fickle - behavior of these birds. However, their actions yesterday (Thursday, June 27) took the cake. Despite nearly three weeks of daily visits by at least one bird, none of them elected to take up permanent residence. This past weekend I noticed the daily visits had stopped, which led me to conclude they had all found other quarters in which to start their families. Then yesterday morning I heard a commotion and I saw a group (I counted six - is that a flock?) of martins swarming around my gourds, chirping and chasing each other, sitting on the power line and on the perches atop the gourds, inspecting (actually poking their heads into) the gourds, and generally raising hell. It was glorious, but surprising. A short time later an even larger group (I counted eight this time) returned, making an even greater racket. Groups of various sizes returned three more times, only stopping early in the afternoon when a thunderstorm rolled into our area. The deep purple on the breasts of some of those in the groups revealed them to be ASY, but as a novice I could not determine the age or gender of the others. What was that all about? Were they all males who had been exiled from their previous quarters and were just flying around looking to harass others in the area? Or, were the groups made up of both males and females and were simply looking for possible quarters for next season? Or, is there another, perhaps more obvious (to those in the know) reason for that behavior? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Ed Svetich-WI » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:54 am

With the recent storms, it is possible that their colony sustained damage and they are looking for new housing. They would have to be adults as it is too early for any of this year's young to be about. My oldest nestlings are just 9 days old. Coincidentally, I had a new pair of ASY here yesterday afternoon. With the 50+ mph winds yesterday and overnight here in Wisconsin, there may be other martins wandering in the next few days.Other than colony damage, I would just chalk it up to something to enjoy. At least you know they have found you. That could be half the battle.

Good luck,

Ed

Spiderman
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Spiderman » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:59 am

Ed is right. If there have been strong winds, it is possible their houses were blown down and they are looking at your housing to attempt a renest.

I have added sufficient numbers to my Colony after a big storm came through the area.

Just try and give them their space until they decide. Once you see them bringing in nesting material you are well on your way.

Good Luck!
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

Brad Biddle
Posts: 414
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Brad Biddle » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:10 pm

It may be too early for this in your area but it could possibly be a family group of Martins. I see them very often in June. A pair of Martins with their fledglings our flying around. Adults will often take fledglings to other colony sites in the area. I guess they’re showing them around the neighborhood for next season. Fledglings most often do not return to the site where they were raised but may go to sites that they’ve been shown. I don’t know if they do go to sites they’ve been shown during their HY year but that would explain the behavior
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Black Jack
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Black Jack » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:30 pm

It may be too early for this in your area but it could possibly be a family group of Martins. I see them very often in June. A pair of Martins with their fledglings our flying around. Adults will often take fledglings to other colony sites in the area. I guess they’re showing them around the neighborhood for next season. Fledglings most often do not return to the site where they were raised but may go to sites that they’ve been shown. I don’t know if they do go to sites they’ve been shown during their HY year but that would explain the behavior
Yes, they do it all the time. Come and visit my martins every year. I have had 1pr of introverts for 2 yrs. straight. Every year the gang will come and cause a scene. They always help with the babies fledging.

Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 740
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Ed Svetich-WI » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:02 pm

Wisconsin's martins are at least a month later in arrival than those in the South. Fledgling will be sometime in mid July and later. I have had parents still feeding young as late as the beginning of September. In this case, it was the result of a second successful nest. That year, the ASY pair raised eleven nestlings. We will have family groups exploring mid summer. as has been described.

As I noted in my previous post, I now have quite a few new adult martins here after yesterday's severe storms. In one case, a newly arrived female ( not an SY male) entered a gourd with nestlings.The gourd rocked as the resident female arrived and evicted the stranger. I checked and the five nestlings were fine..I wonder if this female lost a nest with nestlings and still has a maternal instinct which caused her to enter a gourd with young? Purely speculation on my part. An interesting occurrence at any rate.

Ed

cphanson
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:48 am
Location: Stoddard, WI

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby cphanson » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:44 am

Here is an update to my initial post. Yesterday (Friday, July 28), the day after the "gang" of martins swarmed my gourds, five came back and hung around much of the day. Because of an injury to a worker in my neighborhood, a police car, an ambulance, a fire truck, and several other vehicles drove by and/or parked adjacent to the gourds. Fortunately, that activity did not seem to scare them away. By the end of the day there were three martins remaining, one male ASY and two others, the gender of which were not clear. I do not believe they spent the night in the gourds, but this morning they returned, including the male ASY. Because the only difference in the gourds is the shape of the entrances (I have six with round holes and six with crescent/perches), their behavior continues to baffle me, as they hop from one gourd to another, apparently checking them out, even sitting in many of them and looking out. Therefore, the theory that a previous residence was knocked over in the recent storm seems to make sense. Whether these birds, or any others which may come around, establish a new home is quite irrelevant to me at the moment. The activity over the last several weeks, and especially during the last three days, clearly indicates they have discovered my location and, because they keep coming back, it obviously is acceptable. As a result, even if I don't get permanent residents this year, I am fairly confident at least some of the gourds will be occupied next season. In the interim, I am enjoying the activity. Thanks for the responses.

Chris B
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Chris B » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:55 pm

Congrats are in order I believe. Looks like you will have birds.

Did you pre-nest so they have a nice place to sleep?
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.

Chris B
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Chris B » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:04 pm

Let me add this question... So at my place thee are maybe 250 birds in the civil twilight evening swirling around. I think all have fledged and maybe the older pro's are going for clutch #2. Where do the first round of fledglings hang out at night? Do they stay in the gourd they were raised in, hop around and socialize?

Maybe the parents are trying to get rid of the kids so they can have another batch. I know the barnies on the porch, which are a lot easier to keep track of, have their kids runoff until the next batch is ready to fledge. Then it seems the kids come to encourage the first leap.

What a cool thing watching all those birds swirl around, making a real loud racket, and best of all... NO SKEETERS!!
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.

Black Jack
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Black Jack » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:45 pm

Let me add this question... So at my place thee are maybe 250 birds in the civil twilight evening swirling around. I think all have fledged and maybe the older pro's are going for clutch #2. Where do the first round of fledglings hang out at night? Do they stay in the gourd they were raised in, hop around and socialize?

Maybe the parents are trying to get rid of the kids so they can have another batch. I know the barnies on the porch, which are a lot easier to keep track of, have their kids runoff until the next batch is ready to fledge. Then it seems the kids come to encourage the first leap.

What a cool thing watching all those birds swirl around, making a real loud racket, and best of all... NO SKEETERS!!
I doubt martins have a second brood. The 1pr I have had 5 to fledge a week ago and they all come back to the gourds at night.

cphanson
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:48 am
Location: Stoddard, WI

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby cphanson » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:56 am

Congrats are in order I believe. Looks like you will have birds.

Did you pre-nest so they have a nice place to sleep?
Yes I did - with pine straw. As an aside, had I spent a few minutes early in this process I would have learned that "pine straw" is actually nothing more than pine needles. Had I done so I would have saved the $60 (+/-) I spent to have a company in Louisiana ship me a box of pine straw and, instead, driven 30 minutes to my cousin's farm and picked needles off the ground from under his row of pines. Live and learn. As a further aside, I am still uncertain whether they slept in the gourds last evening, but two martins were flitting around them at 6:30 this morning (Sunday, June 30), which seems to be a good sign.

Ryan
Posts: 257
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 9 years.

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Ryan » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:40 am


Yes I did - with pine straw. As an aside, had I spent a few minutes early in this process I would have learned that "pine straw" is actually nothing more than pine needles. Had I done so I would have saved the $60 (+/-) I spent to have a company in Louisiana ship me a box of pine straw and, instead, driven 30 minutes to my cousin's farm and picked needles off the ground from under his row of pines. Live and learn. As a further aside, I am still uncertain whether they slept in the gourds last evening, but two martins were flitting around them at 6:30 this morning (Sunday, June 30), which seems to be a good sign.
I first heard about pine straw reading this forum too. I thought it was something special as well. Took me a while to figure out pine straw was just a local american term for pine needles. I didn't order a $60 box of 'em though, that's funny.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits
2019- Break-through year. Had a SY Male stop in on June 7th and stay all day, every day until end of June. Hoping he returns in 2020 because I'm getting tired of updating this list.

Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1834
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Dave Reynolds » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:02 pm

... I too have the pine needles as a good base for a nest.. My neighbor has a large pine tree close to my My mail box, The needles are run over a few time by neighborhood cars and crush them up a bit.. I gather a large trash bag of them from the rood and it’s enough for all my houses and gourds for a year.. All thanks to people here on the forum...

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — First pair, 5 Eggs, 5 hatched, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — They are on the way. :wink:

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Hatched and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — They are on the way. :wink:

PMCA Member

Brad Biddle
Posts: 414
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Brad Biddle » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:25 pm

I thought everybody called it pine straw. I'm glad you folks are getting educated. :grin:

I buy a bale or two every year to prebuild nests with. It costs $4-$5 per bale here.

It's interesting to see it baled. The larger commercial operations that I've seen, the ones who supply home improvement stores with pine straw, use hay balers to bale the straw. People go throughout the pine plantation with tarps and garden rakes. They rake the straw onto the tarps, then drag the loaded tarp to the baler, and hand feed it into the baler. I've also started seeing small rolls of pine straw, as opposed to square bales. I don't know if they have specialized equipment to do that or have a modified round baler to use. The bales aren't as wide as a standard round baler. Round balers typically come in 4,5 and 6' widths. I can roll a 24" diameter bale with our round baler but it would be 4' wide. These small rolls of pine straw that I see are maybe 30" wide.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Brad Biddle
Posts: 414
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Brad Biddle » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:25 pm

duplicate post, I'm not sure how that keeps happening.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Chris B
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

Re: A gang of martins?

Postby Chris B » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:46 am

Let me add this question... So at my place thee are maybe 250 birds in the civil twilight evening swirling around. I think all have fledged and maybe the older pro's are going for clutch #2. Where do the first round of fledglings hang out at night? Do they stay in the gourd they were raised in, hop around and socialize?

Maybe the parents are trying to get rid of the kids so they can have another batch. I know the barnies on the porch, which are a lot easier to keep track of, have their kids runoff until the next batch is ready to fledge. Then it seems the kids come to encourage the first leap.

What a cool thing watching all those birds swirl around, making a real loud racket, and best of all... NO SKEETERS!!
I doubt martins have a second brood. The 1pr I have had 5 to fledge a week ago and they all come back to the gourds at night.
I believe my birds are in the middle of their 2nd clutch right now. This has been a great year so far, which I attribute to not using "death dangle" to hang the gourds. Last year a storm dumped a lot of babies and eggs so they had to start again mid-season. Not this year and the sound is getting pretty loud from ll their chirping.

The professional barnies on my porch are on their 3rd clutch this season. Found one on the porch that must have fallen out when pooping. Picked it up and put it back in the nest, but that was a pretty long fall. We'll see. A second nest was made on the porch and that nest fledged already.

Watched maybe 50 bank swallows munching on insects yesterday evening. They were at the rer of my property, seperate from the barnies and PMs. Most of the TS are gone.

And BTW, putting a little seven dust on those pine needles greatly helps keep mites down. I like the ones that have been driven on some like the needles I pick up off my rock driveway.

$60??!!!!!!
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.


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