Supplemental Feeding With "Cicadas"

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Hanover Bill
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

After 7 yrs. of trying I finally have had some success with supplemental feeding my Martins. What finally did the trick for me are "cicadas", those nasty insects that drove us crazy clinging to everything last summer. I gathered and froze several coffee cans full of them last summer. A messy job which is paying off in a big way now. The Martins seem unable to resist a large winged insect when flipped in front of them.

Quite a relief for me as I have had no success in the past with crickets, meal worms, etc. It is a good feeling knowing that you can finally assist the Martins when the weather is too bad for them to feed naturally.

Only problem is that it will be 17 yrs. before the cicadas re-emerge in this area, and I don't think I have that long to wait. LOL. That being the case I will have to look for a substitute before next season. Oh well !!
Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Good Job, you should get some crickets now and slip them in between the cicadas. Or try some microwaved eggs. One egg per cup, smash up the yoke, cook for one minute, Let cool and cut up. Leave the leftovers on a platform close to where you are flipping, they will learn after a while to eat of the platform.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
Posts: 2175
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.

Great idea Bill. I often find one, or part of one, in a nest. They are a bit big for chicks to eat. I would get some crickets now & flip some of those along with the cicadas. That way they get used to them & it will make it easier for you next season.

I had 3 ASY males. 2 left after 1 day. One stayed & then left for 6 days & then came back 2 days ago. He comes in just before dark & spends the night. Then he takes off early morning. I have yet to be able to supplement feed him. Hoping I can catch him when he comes in tonight & flip a few crickets for him. We had snow flurries this morning. Can't wait until this cold weather moves out.

Toy in PA
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Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

That's really cool. We don't have the mass Cicada hatches that lots of places do, so I couldn't take advantage of the but it would be a great, cheap way to do that. Now that you've got them trained, they'll eat anything that you flip up there. They may drop the first several pieces of egg that you flip up, but they'll eventually start eating those too.

Feeding Martins is pretty fun, but I'm glad I don't have to do it very often at all. I've actually only had to do it one year.

There are people who say that they will only take supplemental feed when they need it, but that's not true. The year that I had to feed so much, I went out in late May when temps had been very warm for a long time and fed them just to see if they'd eat. Yes they did.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 162 plastic gourds with tunnels, all with Conley II entrances with the Lewis modification. I have 24 Supergourds and the rest are Troyer Horizontals.
Ed Pace
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Bill, as long as you have some more Cadis flies left why don't you try to work them into a tray if they recognize them sitting on a perch and then work them into a tray if you get them going that way they won't be using all that energy on cold-weather when you toss them.I fed my birds this morning a storm came up ,the snow was so bad that you could barely see the birds in the tray ,there were like 12 birds in the tray. The wind came up so bad that they couldn't stay in the tray so they all retreate to their cavities then in about five minutes came back out to the trays,that's a really good feeling I know what you mean.
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