Are Everyone's Martins Doing OK During the Very Late Cold Snap?

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Dick Sherry
Posts: 774
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

We don't have any martins at our place yet this year, but I have been concerned about the ones that have already arrived. This has not been good feeding weather for them and I hope they make it OK. They are remarkable birds! Good luck to everyone.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I am curious as well how others are doing. Our temps are right on the verge.....For example yesterday temps reached 48 degrees at about 5:00 pm and it was sunny. 50 degrees is usually the gauge people go by as to when they can feed. Mine were out flying around so I assume they were feeding. Last night temps go into the low 30's and didn't get above 40 until after noon. Highs only around 45-48 today. Tomorrow is only 46 then the high the following day is only 40 then it starts to warm back up. I have some crickets in the freezer but I have not seen the just sitting around with their wings drooping so I assume they are getting food when they are out. They are just now starting to fly around today. I assume that if there was no food out they would not be out flying as much as they are. I have two big bodies of water within a couple hundred yards of my housing and I have heard that flying insects near the water will be out in cooler temps then insects in other areas.
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.
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
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.

Dick,

I'll know more on Thursday. Three ASY here alive this morning. First arrived 8 days ago.Yesterday's high was 39° with an inch of snow on the ground, very windy but sunny. All three were out feeding with the tree swallows a foot off the lake yesterday. Something was hatching. This morning the low was 21°. Currently 39° with some sun. 46° forecast for Thursday, which will be more than warm enough to feed.I am more impressed every year with their tenacity and ability to survive adverse weather. Last year, they were feeding around the cattle at a nearby dairy farm on cold days.

I try every year to get them used to supplemental feeding with no luck. As much as I look forward to their arrival, I always wish they would arrive a week later. Spring in the North always includes a few late, cold snowy days.

Have a good year.

Ed
deancamp
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Mine are doing well. Yesterday mid 40's with sun. It didn't reach 32 until mid to late morning, but they were out on the porches at 28 degrees. They were out yesterday afternoon feeding right above the water with tree swallows. Today is a little more sun, still mid to upper 40's with a brisk NW wind. They are all out this afternoon feeding , but not over the water today. They are slower to get out and about, but definitely feeding.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Glad to hear they are out feeding. Mine were huddled up on the porches early this morning and I haven't seen them since. I am not sure if they have been out feeding all day or if they are huddled inside to stay warm. It's about 45 degrees with a slight wind so I hope they are out feeding.
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.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

The adults here will be fine. These cold nights will probably take a toll on the hatch rate of the eggs that have been laid so far. I've been seeing green leaves being collected for around the last 10 days. Incomplete clutches of eggs won't be affected as much as eggs that have begun incubation. Tonight is predicted to be 32 here. I don't know that a female is large enough in size to cover 5-6 eggs well enough to keep them all warm when temps are that cold. If the majority of them do hatch, there will be some that are delayed from getting too cool and that will cause runts.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
detioh11
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: St Johns, MI
Martin Colony History: 2015 A few Visitors
2016 1 ASY pair 4 eggs 4 Fledged
2017 ASY male returned chased off by starlings
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 3 Pair with nestlings and an ASY male bachelor and 2 SY males around all the time fledged 16

I’m in central Michigan. I have 3 ASY males of today. The first birds were reported here in the last week, but they just started coming in more in the last day or two. I’m worried about birds that don’t have anyone to feed them. We are looking at a stretch we’re we won’t hit 50 degrees from Monday night until Saturday. We may get lucky and have a few bugs Friday afternoon at 46-47 degrees. We will see. I have gotten all three to eat crickets and super worms. I have not seen any females at any of the small local colonies. We don’t have enough birds around here to lose any more. I hope they all can pull through.
Rick B
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:33 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Rubicon

They are Hungry! Have around 20 birds, this colony eats scrambled eggs flipped to them and on a platform. Tonight some of the visiting martins finally started to get the hang of catching eggs in the air. I think I was colder then the birds by the time they quit eating with the wind.

Rick
paule
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:06 pm
Location: Central Iowa
Martin Colony History: 5 Modified Trios 10 Gourds and 1 B&B
2019 24 Pair 83 Fledged
2018 23 Pair 92 Fledged
2017 26 Pair 105 Fledged
2016 21 Pair 99 Fledged
2015 15 Pair 59 Fledged
2014 18 Pair 40 Fledged
2013 16 Pair 30 Fledged
2012 10 Pair 30 Fledged
Started in late 1980's

Easter Sunday In the middle of Iowa we had a high of 43°f. Yesterday and today we had a high of 39° totaling 3 days. Without the magic number of 50° and no large bodies of water around, supplemental feeding is a must. We will not see 50° for another 3 days. Lost our colony years ago with cold rainy weather. Back then the hens were unable to fly after three days of not being able to feed. Today my wife and I traveled to two fellow martin landlords to feed their birds. Hopefully they found enjoyment out of that activity and will continue to feed their birds. Today we have over 20 birds and saw 6 hens. That is more than we should have. We must have a sign out that says: "Inn Open...Continental Breakfast." I suspect some of these birds will leave in three or four days being very healthy and rested.
Paul
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Project MartinWatch participants and supplemental feeding is provided. I also add heat to housing when needed.
SMJohnson
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:06 am
Location: IA/Ottumwa

Hey Paulette
My name is Steve Johnson and I'm in my 9th year of hosting Purple Martins.
My Colony is located 4 miles South of Ottumwa on Hiway 63. Got up to the
low to mid 60's on Sunday where I was. The Martins had 3 or 4 good hours
to feed before the storms rolled in around 2:30. Got 6,000 crickets delivered
on Saturday and started putting them out yesterday morning. Tim Millard
who has a colony East of Fairfield reported he believes they were finding
food yesterday when the temperature only reached around 45°.
2012-13 Pair 2013-52 Pair 2014-65 Pair 2015-85 Pair 2016-80 Pair 2017-93 Pair 2018-87 Pair 2019-102 Pair
148 compartments 72 Troyer Horz. 24 Troyer Vert. 52 Wooden
paule
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:06 pm
Location: Central Iowa
Martin Colony History: 5 Modified Trios 10 Gourds and 1 B&B
2019 24 Pair 83 Fledged
2018 23 Pair 92 Fledged
2017 26 Pair 105 Fledged
2016 21 Pair 99 Fledged
2015 15 Pair 59 Fledged
2014 18 Pair 40 Fledged
2013 16 Pair 30 Fledged
2012 10 Pair 30 Fledged
Started in late 1980's

Hi Steve,
Congratulations on your colony. Keep up the good work! We offer both crickets and eggs both being flipped with a spoon as well as on the feeder. The day it rained the birds went to their cavities wet and the temperature drop had my concern. When we lost our colony it was the hens that perished due to rain and cold. The surviving males eventually moved on. That indecent has kept me over cautious. "When I was younger, so much younger than today" their were so many insects in our farming community. Today, not so much. My common sense tells me large bodies of water are a plus to our martins. They are always hatching something. I have seen midge hatches while ice fishing. Yep, right up through the hole I was fishing. I have had the opportunity to visit with Tim Millard a few times throughout the years at the Iowa Purple Martin Workshop/Seminar. If he said they were finding food at 45° I am sure they were. Tim gave me pointers on how to modify my Super Gourds for the better. Worked like a charm.
On a different note, I'm trying to figure out how to post pictures from a different computer. Here is my attempt at my favorite Purple Martin housing.
Paul E. Sealman
Grundy Center
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Project MartinWatch participants and supplemental feeding is provided. I also add heat to housing when needed.
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
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.

This is typical of April here in PA.

It is why i stock 11 pounds of freeze dried mealworms and ordered 3 thousand crickets.

I feed a combination of mealworms, eggs and crickets each day during this weather. Without this I would likely not have a colony. Nor would most folks in the area.

It is very demanding keeping 30-40 birds afloat during 5 days of non feed weather. But it is what is. My group is very healthy and many will move further north. They rely on me for their food right now.

Can't wait till it gets warm again. Best of luck to all.

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.
tor
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: Marlboro County, SC
Martin Colony History: Capacity: 72 Troyers on 3 X Super-24 racks

36 degrees here in North-East SC earlier this morning. Warming up nicely. If its cold, the usually stay inside until the sun starts to shine on the racks.
Location: Marlboro County, SC

2020: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/11 - 71 pair - 298 hatched as of last nest check.
2019: Capacity: 72 - First Scouts: 2/22 - 70 pair - 315 fledged
2018: Capacity: 70 - First Scouts: 2/18 - 60 pair - 270 fledged
2017: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 2/25 - 39 pair
2016: Capacity: 42 - First Scouts: 3/10 - 32 pair
2015: Capacity: 24 - First Scouts: 3/23 - 4 pair

Purple Martins Of South Carolina
2020 Season
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.

I'm doing alright in Lawrence, Ks area. Got to 57 yesterday with light winds so plenty of feeding going on for the 20 or so Martins I have so far. Today and tomorrow will only be upper 40's with some off and on rain, but back into the 60's for the weekend.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I'm pretty sure mine were out feeding yesterday, despite highs in the low 40's. They were out flying most of the afternoon. This morning many of them were huddled up on the rack soaking up some son, with temps only about 30-32 degrees. I noted some with their wings drooped so I decided to try to feed the crickets I bought last week. They ate all of them but I don't think they were all that hungry. Last year when I fed they were flocking toward every cricket and I know some nearby martins caught on because last year I only had about 10 -15 martins at the time but when I was done feeding there was over 30 of them joining in. Today there was about 5 males that stuck around and ate most of the crickets. The rest flew around over head in and out checking things out. I saw one of the females grab a couple. Today and tomorrow temps will get mid to high 40's so I think they should survive this snap just fine.
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.
Dick Sherry
Posts: 774
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Thank you all for your replies. I am so glad so many martins have learned to take supplemental feeding. They go through so much after migrating the thousands of miles from South America. Have a great nesting season with your birds!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1757
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Up to 10 inches of snow in southern Iowa on April 16th. Lots of scrambled eggs and crickets being feed to martins. Here in central Iowa, just darn cold, overcast skies and some snow. It isn't as bad in central section, but nasty in the south. Keep up the feeding Iowans and best of luck. The weather forecast looks favorable.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
sugarcreek
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

I am currently on my second order of 5000 crickets....feeding my 40 martins about 500 a day along with scrambled eggs, we were able to help our Amish neighbors get theirs to start eating crickets as well they were so excited to say the least !!...It hasn't hit 50 degrees in Sugarcreek Ohio since early last week and its not looking good for another couple days, so we are keeping there tummy's full until this weather breaks a little... I feel if they get something to eat they can stay alive even if its cold until the weather breaks. Have had no dead martins yet and praying we wont !!
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 72 Active Nests 243 Fledged, 3.38 Fledged per Active Nest
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