Martins on offense - Hawk

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Joe W
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:04 am
Location: FL/Lynn Haven (near Panama City, FL)
Martin Colony History: 2020 10 pairs
2019 finally success! 8 pairs
Oct 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael
2018 visitors in April
2017 visitors in April
2016 visitors in April
2015 visitors in June
PMCA Member

Today late in the afternoon a small hawk (Sharp-shinned Hawk I think) made a low pass through the backyard near the colony that has currently 6 pairs of Martins. Hot on the heals of the hawk were 5-6 Martins that we’re diving and feinting attacks on the hawk. Very noisy and effective at chasing the hawk about 100 yards away into a small stand of trees. Is this common behavior toward some a potential threat? The Martins seem to have initiated the whole thing, which caused the hawk to beat a hasty retreat out of the area. Thoughts?

Joe
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.

Joe:

Yes it's common behavior. When martins see a potential threat (most often hawks), within a certain distance of their nest site, they will put the alarm call out, then gang up & try to chase the intruder away. Grackles will also chase hawks & crows in a similar fashion. Hawks & crows like to raid nests & steal chicks.

Toy in PA
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Joe W
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:04 am
Location: FL/Lynn Haven (near Panama City, FL)
Martin Colony History: 2020 10 pairs
2019 finally success! 8 pairs
Oct 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael
2018 visitors in April
2017 visitors in April
2016 visitors in April
2015 visitors in June
PMCA Member

Thanks!
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1919
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Also common behavior for them to take a Martin or two.

Some hawks get very good at hunting Martins and can cause problems for a colony. They like to use the low light of morning and evening to do their damage. The sharp shined is well equipped with superior flight to take them too.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

They get to a point that their attacks are on a very regular schedule. Consistent times each day. Almost like clockwork.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Yeah, we’ve already had at least two attacks that we know of. Probably more we haven’t seen. One of them the martins avoided but the other was a surprise attack when a martin was sitting on the porch of his gourd. It was dusk and all the others had gone inside. He was the only one out. This was a large hawk, so fast I wasn’t able to identify. We have a bunch of subadults coming in now so there is a lot of fighting and protecting going on over gourds that have already been taken. It makes me nervous watching them sitting on porches,
We’ve watched martins chasing hawks in the sky but never close to the ground. This hawk flies in from the side of our house. Not sure where he waits and watches.
Spiderman
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Brad Biddle wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:34 am
They get to a point that their attacks are on a very regular schedule. Consistent times each day. Almost like clockwork.
In the afternoons around sunset I will walk under or near the racks. Most times it will keep the Hawks from attacking. The Martins will come in when they see me out there.

A male Cooper's Hawk or Sharp Shinned can kill a Martin every morning and every evening if that's what he chooses to prey on. I've noticed this year with the Troyer Horizontal Gourds, even if the Hawk lands on the Gourd rack the Martins know if they stay inside they will be safe. Every type of houses I used before the Martins would bolt and the Hawk would catch them in the 1st 20' of the rack.
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
Joe W
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:04 am
Location: FL/Lynn Haven (near Panama City, FL)
Martin Colony History: 2020 10 pairs
2019 finally success! 8 pairs
Oct 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael
2018 visitors in April
2017 visitors in April
2016 visitors in April
2015 visitors in June
PMCA Member

[quote=Spiderman post_id=289906 time=1584455038 user_id=4020]
[quote="Brad Biddle" post_id=289895 time=1584376493 user_id=11521]
They get to a point that their attacks are on a very regular schedule. Consistent times each day. Almost like clockwork.
[/quote]

In the afternoons around sunset I will walk under or near the racks. Most times it will keep the Hawks from attacking. The Martins will come in when they see me out there.

A male Cooper's Hawk or Sharp Shinned can kill a Martin every morning and every evening if that's what he chooses to prey on. I've noticed this year with the Troyer Horizontal Gourds, even if the Hawk lands on the Gourd rack the Martins know if they stay inside they will be safe. Every type of houses I used before the Martins would bolt and the Hawk would catch them in the 1st 20' of the rack.
[/quote]

I think that’s good advice. I try to be present in the afternoons, I’m almost ready to try a scarecrow but I think if the hawks have tasted blood they won’t be deterred. I do have gourds with tunnel entrances but I also have a house with enlarged cavities, so hopefully I given them some added protection.

Thanks again for all the comments, it’s only my second year of having success. I’ve got room for 12 pair, looks like 7 pair so far.
Joe
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Last night a hawk chased one of our martins in at sunset and I think the martin made it inside the Troyer gourd. The rest were already in. The hawk sat on the porch for some time then flew off. Unfortunately the gourd faced away from where I could see the entrance so I’m not totally sure. I went out and could hear the martins talking inside their gourds. I’m glad they can safely huddle in the back and with those tunnels a hawk can’t get to them. This is happening too often and I think I’ll start going out as suggested when they come in. The only problem is right now they don’t seem to have a consistent time they come in. Some come earlier and others later.
Keith
Posts: 415
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Missouri/Ava

Appears the martins located the hawk before it got too close to grab one. Many times that is not the case however. Hope they continue to be on guard. Too many times my martins chase a hawk while it is carrying one away. Good luck.
Keith
avesrun
Posts: 1110
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

I'm hoping the owl cages I installed on three setups at my satellite site will also significantly reduce the number of successful hawk attacks as well as owls.
Yes dawn and dusk are the prominent times of day I've noticed the most hawk activity but have also observed midday attacks as well.
TimG
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Prs.!
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair, fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair, fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair, fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair, 163 fledged
2019- 49 or. 219 fledged
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