May white out!

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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.

After off and on snow flurries yesterday and an overnight low of 24 degrees the ground is white and so is the air. It’s 33 degrees and snowing here today. Pretty ridiculous seeing that the normal high is 69 degrees. Rough spring here so far. Hoping this pattern does not continue much longer. This is crazy.
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.
cransy
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:48 am
Location: watkins glen,ny

Same here Doug, in Watkins Glen NY. I have gone through 5,000. crickets so far. Eggs and crickets later today. Birds seem to be doing good here though. I have around 50 so far. Good luck with our crazy weather.
Sue P
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:10 pm
Location: Morgantown, WV

I am losing birds. I have crickets and eggs out, but they won't eat. They are piling up in the nesting cavities in the T14, and freezing to death. I can touch them all. Would there be any point in bringing them inside in a cage? I realize that would cause stress, but no worse than what is happening. Suggestions, please!
cransy
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:48 am
Location: watkins glen,ny

So if your birds are all Piling into one nest now that's a very dangerous situation. What is your weather supposed to be like tomorrow? I feed my birds by putting the eggs and the crickets on The ledges of the houses. Keep a close eye on that nest where they're all going in because if one dies on the outside they'll all be trapped inside and died also. They all pack in like that to save energy. I'm not sure what your situation is but if it isn't good with the weather I would probably force them all out of their nests and put the cricket and eggs wherever they can get them. They will usually land on a roof or on the ground someplace when they're desperate. Good luck!
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.

Sue P wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 11:36 am
I am losing birds. I have crickets and eggs out, but they won't eat. They are piling up in the nesting cavities in the T14, and freezing to death. I can touch them all. Would there be any point in bringing them inside in a cage? I realize that would cause stress, but no worse than what is happening. Suggestions, please!
Sue:

I would not place any in a cage. I'd suggest disposable hand warmers placed in each cavity. I get the 10 hour kind. You can find them in the sporting good section of stores. I place them about an hour or so before dark. Place under the nest or along side or at the back of the nest. You can also try placing crickets inside the cavities.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
cransy
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:48 am
Location: watkins glen,ny

Sue, I'm not so sure about putting them in a cage doesn't sound like a good idea. I would call The purple Martin conservation society and talk to them about it and if you can't get a hold of them try calling Andy troyer.
Sue P
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:10 pm
Location: Morgantown, WV

I will try the handwarmers. The crickets and eggs are already inside the T-14. In some cases they have thrown them out on the porches. I was trying to think of some way to get them warm. Some of them are flying now, but tonight will be another thing. Ihave never faced anything like this with my colony before(and never want to again). I wondered if the subbies are around yet. I haven't seen any of them, so that is good. No nests have been started. Such a weird year.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Put the birds in a box or cage and bring them inside. If they're gonna die, what can it hurt? Once they warm up some you could force feed them some eggs or crickets. I think a box would be better because you could cover it with a towel and keep it dark, which would keep the birds warm.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
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.

Brad Biddle wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 2:03 pm
Put the birds in a box or cage and bring them inside. If they're gonna die, what can it hurt? Once they warm up some you could force feed them some eggs or crickets. I think a box would be better because you could cover it with a towel and keep it dark, which would keep the birds warm.
Not a good idea. Birds stress easy & stress can kill them. It's also not legal unless you are taking them to a licensed rehabber.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

Sorry to be politically incorrect, but if it meant my Martins would survive if I brought them inside in a box versus it were illegal because I didn't take them to a licensed rehabber, I would be bringing them inside in a box.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

deancamp wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 9:23 pm
Sorry to be politically incorrect, but if it meant my Martins would survive if I brought them inside in a box versus it were illegal because I didn't take them to a licensed rehabber, I would be bringing them inside in a box.
Absolutely. Legal or not, I doubt the Feds are gonna come swooping down in their blackhawk helicopters for someone trying to save their Martins. Comparing the stress of starving to death, versus the stress of putting them in a dark box inside a warm house is at best an apples to oranges comparison. Just use common sense.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

ToyinPA wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 12:06 pm
I'd suggest disposable hand warmers placed in each cavity. I get the 10 hour kind.
Toy in PA
Sorry but technically speaking, it's illegal to do that. It's illegal to disturb the nest of a neotropical migrant. Which means it's also technically illegal to do nest replacements too. See how that works?
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1863
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at my Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".

Sue P wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 11:36 am
I am losing birds. I have crickets and eggs out, but they won't eat. They are piling up in the nesting cavities in the T14, and freezing to death. I can touch them all. Would there be any point in bringing them inside in a cage? I realize that would cause stress, but no worse than what is happening. Suggestions, please!
..
.

... Sue P ... So sad to hear... A friend of mine lost a total of nine Martins, all in one little 6 X 6 room. They piled up on top of each other to stay warm .. That was a few years ago.. Sure hate to see that again... Maybe putting them in cages over night may help, I know I would do something like that... Good Luck ..
..

Dave
Home Site “Little Hocking, Ohio”
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors
2019 — 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Babies, 5 fledged. :wink:
2020 — 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Babies, ... :wink:

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2018 -- 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:
2019 — 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Babies and 97 Fledged. :wink:
2020 — 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Babies. ... :wink:

PMCA Member
Sue P
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:10 pm
Location: Morgantown, WV

Not a good report this morning. I put hand warmers in the cavities, and while doing so noticed a bird on the ground unable to fly but still alive. Then I discovered his mate in the nest in the same condition. I took them into the house (against the law) and handed them to my husband. I found a box and put them in until I finished with the T-14 hand warmers. When I got back into the house the two birds were warming up, and I force fed them each a cricket. They were both alive this morning so I force fed them another cricket. Still alive. I went out to check on the other birds, and they would fly but land on the ground. Too weak to fly. Also, there were four dead birds in the cavities. A lot of them flew, but I haven't seen any of them come back. It is about 45 degrees right now. I know the ones that land on the ground won't survive. If I have any more in the T-14 or gourd rack that seem like they won't make it I will break the law again. I won't lose my martins. I love them and won't see them suffer if I can help it. After they have regained strength I will release them. What other treatment would a rehabber give them that we who have colonies can't. Yes, I am angry. Sorry about that, but I have never been through this before.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

I'm glad you know what you need to do Sue. I'd dip those crickets in Gatorade or Pedialyte. I'd probably poke some eggs down their throat too. They need more than one or two crickets per day to get their strength back. I'd keep them inside in a box, with a towel over it to keep them calm until the cold weather is over.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
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.

I did a nest check yesterday and also found about 10 Martins in one gourd. Another cavity in T14 had 7 in it. Most of the colony (80ish) is fine however. This afternoon when it warms above 55 I will empty the communal roosts.

Lost a female that was on my porch and found a dead male in a gourd as well. We just hit 50 and cloudy here at 10:30 this morning. Another bad day tommorrow. High in low 40s again.

It is extremenly difficult to bring them back once the go down and can't fly. I always said when feeding that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

They need at least 25 crickets a day for several days to get them back to reasonable health.

Unfortunately there are a lot of birds that will not survive this weather. Let's hope there is a good sub adult year.

I actually have one nest with 3 eggs.

Doug
Last edited by Doug Martin - PA on Sun May 10, 2020 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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.
Kegger
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

good for you and those Martins Sue!
Sue P
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:10 pm
Location: Morgantown, WV

Well, the male martin that made it through the night has died this afternoon. He was the one I found on the ground. I guess when Doug stated that the ones that are on the ground are more difficult to save, that was correct. The female was still in the box, but very cold. She ate two more crickets, and I will give her eggs next. I liked the idea of pedialyte or gatoraid, but don't have any and it is hard to shop now, so I warmed the crickets in water. That should get some fluid in her, anyway. I will cook an egg for her. I plan to do the same for whatever martins may return tonight, because even though it is in the high 50's, it is quite windy.

I want to thank everyone for your ideas, and especially for your encouragement. Like I said before, I have never faced this before. It took me 17 years to attract these martins, and I don't want to lose those lovely creatures. I noticed this morning when I went out that there weren't any birds singing at all. Weird year.
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.

Even the colonies around me that feed are finding a lot of dead birds. It important when the weather improves to get them out of their communal roosts.

I was fortunate to only lose a few as I am hearing reports of many many dead ones when the housing is lowered.

The ones in my roosts were barely able to fly off and the temperature was 60 degrees sunny but windy.

Today was a blessing weather wise but tomorrow is more snow and rain high in the low 40s at best.

Good job trying there Sue
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.
Ladybug
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Indiana/ Jamestown
Martin Colony History: 2005-2019. Lots lookers, 2 successful nesting's.
2010- 1 pair nested,eggs destroyed(Wren).
2012- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2019- 1 pair nested, 4 eggs, 4 fledged.

Sue: .
Sad to hear even losing 1 martin. Weather is bad this year. Will say a special prayer that your Martin's Do Survive. Has taken us a long time to get Martin's so I understand how you feel. HOPING weather improves quickly. GOOD LUCK. GOD BLESS.
Joanne
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