Storm! Missing Martins

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jcmarathon
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Location: Olive Branch, MS

Hello all. This is my first time on the forum. I have had martins for years although this year I only had 6 in my house for 12. A few days ago we had severe thunderstorms and high wind which lasted for about an hour. Now all my martins have disappeared! I have not looked in the nests but I am almost certain they had babies. Will the adults return or does the storm literally blow them many miles away? Any advice or clue what happened? Thank you
Last edited by jcmarathon on Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
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.

jcmarathon wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:15 am
Hello all. This is my first time on the forum. I have had martins for years although this year I only had 6 in my house for 12. A few days ago we had severe thunderstorms and high wind which lasted for about an hour. Now all my martins have disappeared! I have not looked in the nests but I am almost certain they had babies. Any advice or clue what happened? Thank you
Yes. If the nests got wet the chicks can die. Check the nests & remove any dead chicks. If any are still alive remove the wet nests & replace them with dry nests.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Unless the housing was destroyed a storm should not cause adult martins to abandon a site. If you had nesting martins with babies and now they are gone I would say a snake might have gotten them and it was just coincidence a storm came through that next day/night. Since you posted this have you checked inside the houses? If babies and all are gone I would say snake, if the adults are all still gone and you have dead babies I am not sure what happened. There have been landlords on here have storms come through and bend poles completely over to the ground and the adults will stick around for a time until they are fixed or replaced....
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.
jpp77
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:21 pm
Location: Lawrence, KS area
Martin Colony History: 2015 - 1 pair, not successful (Sparrows)
2016 - 1 pair, 4 young
2017 - 5 pair, 23 young
2018 - 8 pair, 40 young, two deaths most likely due to heat.
2019 - 18 pair, 74 eggs, 1 nest abandoned, all the rest successful.
2020 - 32 nests, unknown exact egg numbers, 1 death.

If the housing was not damaged, I doubt the Martins left. Have storms almost weekly where I live, and it's never bothered them.
jcmarathon
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Location: Olive Branch, MS

I just checked the nests. One was completely destroyed. One was intact with two unhatched eggs. The storm blew rain sideways for about an hour. We received 3 inches. However, I found a snake skin about 20 feet from the nest. If it was a snake it will be the first one. I have had Martins for about 15 years. I suppose there is a first time for everything. Oh well, there is always next year!
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

jcmarathon wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:18 am
I just checked the nests. One was completely destroyed. One was intact with two unhatched eggs. The storm blew rain sideways for about an hour. We received 3 inches. However, I found a snake skin about 20 feet from the nest. If it was a snake it will be the first one. I have had Martins for about 15 years. I suppose there is a first time for everything. Oh well, there is always next year!
If the snake predated on them enough that they abandoned the nests, there may not be a next year for your colony. Not trying to be all doom and gloom for you but I personally know a guy who lost a 50ish pair colony from nothing but snake predation. It took him years to get nesting Martins again.

An electric fence predator guard will stop snake attacks.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
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