Cold Weather Feeding ??

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Hanover Bill
Posts: 603
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

I usually see 50 degrees as the make or break temp for flying insects, and for the Martins' ability to find them and feed. I am wondering how much that temp varies if there is a large body of water nearby where they can feed. It is my understanding that there would be flying insects available at lower temps around a large body of water.

We are facing cold temps in my area for the next several days. High in low 40's tomorrow, then up and down for a couple of days.

Any thoughts on this ??

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

A few weeks back my Martins were put feeding at 43 degrees. Small lakes nearby, but not always feeding over them.
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 789
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.

Bill,

Currently 36° and sunny here at McGinnis Lake in Central Wisconsin. The tree swallows and martins are skimming over the lake surface feeding, no not drinking if anyone suggests that. The water temperature has been in the 50s( it was 63° and sunny yesterday) and there are what I will call midges hatching most days. The martins go out to feed for a while and then retreat to their gourds on most colder days and appear no worse for it. No drooping wings, etc. Our weather has been a roller coaster so far this spring and yet just two days ago, the females were carrying leaves to their nests. Rainy and cold are a different story as that keeps them in.

Have a good year producing more Martin's.

Ed
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Bill
I have seen them feeding in temps in the low 40's if the sun is out. Also assuming they are healthy and have been feeding as normal since their return it usually takes about 3 days of no feeding before they start to perish. Hopefully there are times over the next couple days where the sun comes out and they can feed a little. If they leave during the day for periods of time more then likely they are finding food. If they sit on the porches/perches for a couple days without leaving at all then the weather is such that there are no bugs out. They seem to know when food is available and won't waste the energy flying around much if the temps are too bad for insects to be out.
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.
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.

Hanover Bill wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 8:05 am
I usually see 50 degrees as the make or break temp for flying insects, and for the Martins' ability to find them and feed. I am wondering how much that temp varies if there is a large body of water nearby where they can feed. It is my understanding that there would be flying insects available at lower temps around a large body of water.

We are facing cold temps in my area for the next several days. High in low 40's tomorrow, then up and down for a couple of days.

Any thoughts on this ??

Hanover Bill.
Hi Bill:

I tend to decide on supplement feeding, depending on if they are staying close to the houses a lot. Wind can drop temps greatly & we've sure had our share of cold north wind lately. Tuesday we had sun & 62, but it was very breezy. Wednesday we had rain & a high of 47/WC was 43 & windy. I fed 3 times Wednesday & they were all very hungry, even tho they had a good feeding day on Tuesday. Thursday we had sun & 62, breezy. I did not even attempt to feed on Thursday. Today we have cloud cover, rain & a temp of 48 at 1:30PM. I fed this morning & will go our soon & feed again. They are hanging close to the houses today, which tells me they know there are no insects for them to find. With nights dropping into the upper 20's to low 30's they need food to keep warm. We're i a freezing warning overnight tonight. I will feed about an hour or so before dark & mid-morning tomorrow. Unless you have a good day for feeding, no rain/snow or temps below 50, I'd suggest trying to supplement feed during this cold front for the next few days, while we have rain & snow & cold north wind moving over us.

Keep in mind the Females tend to hang back until they feel safe, as males tend to get aggressive during feeding. I try to make sure the females get there share of crickets I flip. I do this by flipping several crickets as fast as I can to the males & then aim one right at a female that is watching me. The females quickly learn where to sit, so they can grab a nice fat cricket while the males are not paying attention to them.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
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.

This has been one of the worst springs I can remember in Western PA. I have gone though over 16 pounds of freeze dried mealworms. A bunch of eggs and 3000 crickets. Feeding 80 birds is not cheap and I have been doing so quite a bit.

Generally at this time they are well into egg laying but they have barely had the weather to build nests. I have found a few birds on the ground as well. Most likely migrating birds as mine are kept afloat pretty well.

Today it has been snowing off and on and the temperature is 36 degrees. Tonight we will likely hit 20 degrees and this is May? Tomorrow 40.

It was warmer in February than it has been since my birds arrived. First it was hawk problems then cold weather. Been very busy keeping them all alive. I guess it is possible I have an egg or two at this point but the trees just got leaves the last warm day. So building nests has been difficult for them this year.

Yes there are more insects near large bodies of water. Unfortunately I don't have that near me. The whole group will go off on borderline days however and show up still very hungry before dark. The insects on cold days tend to be very small.

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.
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