Purple Martin arrivals in Central Virginia

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cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Hi,

Have the Purple Martins arrived in Central Virginia yet? I have 4 gourds and live on a lake. I had them last year, my first year, but I had to play the dawn song many mornings to attract them. I was hoping that would be not be necessary this year. The survey indicates the scouts have arrived. My boom box with which to play the dawn song broke, is there a way to stream the dawn song?

Thanks,

Dave
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Curious how many pair you had last year? Research says that statistically you need to have 6 pair or more to ensure (we know there are no guarantees with mother nature) returnees the following year. Usually as a colony gets older your returning martins will come back a littler earlier then a very young colony. It is also tough to get 100% occupancy each year so if possible I think your best bet would be to add some more cavities. If you could get to 12 cavities or more you would be more likely to get over 6 pair and your odds of having returning martins each year would increase. If you only have a few pair, the odds are against them surviving the migration, predators, and everything else that have to navigate to make it back safely.
I'm not sure if there is anyplace to stream the full dawns song from or not but I would think you could find something on Youtube and then save it and maybe loop that file or something.
2020 47 of 52 cavities with nest (5/29)(HOSP Count 7)
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.
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Thank you for the information flying low. When I cleaned out the gourds (4) if I remember correctly there were only two or three nests. However there were more than 4 or 6 Martins in and around the gourds last year. I will search youtube for a dawn song or fire up old computer with dvd drive.

I didn't think of predators and the other dangers Martins face on their travels. If they choose my site again it will be even more impressionable knowing what they went through to get here.

Are the Martins in Indiana already?
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Yes there are martins back in Indiana. I haven't seen any yet but I figure within a couple weeks they'll be showing up. Predators are definitely an issue. Along those lines does your current gourd rack have any type of predator guard on it? If not it is just a matter of time before you have issues. Snakes and racoons just to name a few. Many people don't consider predators when getting started but Virginia has rat snakes and they will climb a pole and wipe out a small colony in no time. A raccoon will also climb a metal pole with ease and reach in and pull out the martins at night.
2020 47 of 52 cavities with nest (5/29)(HOSP Count 7)
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.
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

I bought the pole, gourds, and predator guard all from PMCA. I was late in deciding to get the predator guard and the day it arrived a huge black snake was headed to the pole. The predator guard arrived just in time and I put up right away.

I borrowed a boom box from a friend and played the dawn song this morning.

Down by the water's edge there were what looked like swallows flitting about the bird house I have for them. So I hustled down and cleaned it out. Checking with a neighbor to see if they have arrived already.

There are a couple of large colonies not too far away I may drive by and see if they are there.
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

The first Purple Martin arrived today! Great birthday present!
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Hmm, I haven't seen them in a couple of days. Could they have decided to go elsewhere? Do Martins do that? :?:
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Since you only had 2 or 3 pair last year there is no guarantee that the martins you had last year survived the migration. Some years my earliest arrivals will show up and then stay gone for a day or two. So that could be what you are seeing, or they could just have been some martins that were passing through. The first few years of a colony, especially if you only have a couple pair can be very up and down. I know it can be expensive but I really think the best thing you could do is to try to increase the number of cavities. If you can get 6+ pair you will have a more stable colony each year but you probably need 10 cavities or so to get 6 or more pair.
2020 47 of 52 cavities with nest (5/29)(HOSP Count 7)
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.
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Thanks flying-low I might do that. I'm playing the dawn song again. Also I lowered the gourds and found some wasps in one of them. I got rid of them. Would wasps have discouraged the Martins from nesting here?
cervey1
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:19 pm
Location: Louisa Virginia

Hmm, sparrows are not interested in the gourds. What is the best way to keep sparrows out? Thanks
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