Even the best efforts in supplement feeding are not enough

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
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.

Here we go again. In Iowa, we are having day after day of cold, wind, rain overcast skies, or a combo. Each year we seem to go through a stretch where supplement feeding is a given. I just lost an ASY male to starvation today. I'm here to let all landlords know that regardless of all the methods and techniques of supplement feeding along with the tremendous efforts to get all your martins to eat; there will always be a few martins that simply will not take to supplement feeding. It is never easy to see a dead martin while all the time thinking, why don't they just take my offerings. I do feel it is just part of the whole big picture of nature. With a huge colony like mine, I expect to have at least one adult martin die each year, but it never gets any easier after all these years of being a responsible landlord. Keep up the good fight everyone.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Archer
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 have been feeding here too in Manitoba, that darn wind just keeps blowing. On one hand we need it to dry out our fields, but is makes life miserable for the martins. Thing is there are new martins in a colony every year and it takes them some time to catch on. I am no where near full as I have only about a third of my colony back. I do see some new ones at the feeder showing their newness by their hesitancy. The experienced ones just dig right in and get it down. We do the best we can, we can tale solace in that. I had a very early Sub-Adult here who I have not seen in a couple of days. It would not surprise me if he did not make it. Tomorrow will be day 3 of this stretch. The wind will be down but so will the temp. Hoping they can grab some bugs from the nearby creek tomorrow.
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.
mwren
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:43 pm
Location: OH/Athens
Martin Colony History: I have had my martin colony on the dam of one of my ponds for nine years. The colony has grown each year, but I am now concentrating on helping friends and acquaintances who have shown interests in martins. My colony consists of three T-14's with 8 Troyer gourds attatched to each T-14, a Troyer gourd rack with 12 gourds, and another gourd rack with 18 Troyer gourds for a total of 96 nest cavities. I am having serious predation issues with hawks and owls and am experimenting with various hawk guards and "screens". Established successful supplemental feeding last season during late march and had a blast flipping mostly meal worms and some crickets. Faculty from Ohio University are using my colony as a research site to study parasites that target cavity nesting birds. In exchange for access to my bird trail nest boxes and martin housing, they are banding all birds involved in their study.

Dave,
It is not a good day when you find a bird in one of your towers that did not survive this terrible cold, wet weather. It is the worst when you are doing all that you can to provide supplemental feeding to try to help your birds survive these conditions. I am fighting the same battle that you are fighting out in Iowa. Our weather here in southeastern Ohio has been terrible this entire spring. Not only cold, but also wet. I have been "flipping" meal worms and crickets to my birds for over a month due to the extreme conditions they are faced with. Hopefully this will be the last week that we have to deal with these conditions. I have only found two dead birds in nest cavities, but I am sure that some other birds have not survived the cold and wet weather that makes it very difficult for them to find airborne insects. In a large colony it is very difficult to take accurate inventory everyday to determine just how successful your efforts have been to feed everyone. I encourage all landlords who are located north of the Mason Dixon line to be ready to do supplemental feeding when spring turns ugly like this one. The martins are not the only birds who benefit from my supplemental feeding program. I have numerous bluebird boxes that are located all around the colony, and the bluebirds catch on to "flipping" very quickly. We have had three boxes fledge already, and it is a riot to watch the parent birds find the flippings, then hurry to their babies to feed them. The bluebirds and mockingbirds do a great job finding any meal worms that the martins either miss or drop during feedings. The eyesight of the bluebirds is as amazing as that of the martins!
Good luck to all you landlords out there who are helping our martins survive this harsh spring weather!

"Bird"
Mike "Bird" Wren
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.

Thanks fort he words Archer and Mwren. We love our martins and we do all we can to ensure their survival. On a side note, I have already went through 8 pounds of crickets this season and it is only mid-May. Best of luck my friends.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Post Reply