43 degrees

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Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

There has been some talk about this recently, so I paid more attention today. High temperature for today was 43 degrees. Most all day the Martins stayed at the housing or short runs nearby. At 3:00 the sun started peeping out and eventually went to full sun. When the sun peeped, birds that weren't already out started coming out of the gourds and heading off. Without constantly watching, you never know how many are out and how many are in the nests. At 7:20 they started coming back in with the temperature still at 43 degrees. It appeared that all were out feeding with full sun and 43 degrees, so I believe that there are bugs to be found if the sun is out with temps in the low 40's.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

You're spot on. As long as it's sunny, and not windy, Martins can find food with temps in the 40's. Especially during cold snaps, when there has been lots of warm "bug hatching" weather prior to the cold weather. I see that often here during the early season.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
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.

Hi deancamp,
I agree with the previous response. Martins can and do find bugs below 50 degrees and in the 40s. I live on a lake and my martins stay just off the surface of the water when the air temps drop into the 40s to find flying bugs. I supplement feed even when they are out during cold weather. the sunlight is almost like a trigger for them to get out of their cavities and start foraging for any possible bugs.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Posts: 757
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.

I notice on those questionable days, my birds fly off in a south easterly direction. They return from that direction as well. I had a sneaky suspicion what they were up to. I went to investigate, the local waste treatment lagoon was teaming with life. Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows and yes, Martins skimming over the water picking off hatching bugs. They still begged for food on the arrival back at my place, but at least they were picking up a little during the warmest parts of the day. A sure indication of feeding is when you see the martins beak wiping. They will wipe their beak on the perch they are standing on, trying to dislodge and bug parts that didn't make it down the hatch.
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.
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