Babies being attacked

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Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

We did a nest check yesterday afternoon and found a 2-3 do baby on the ground. He was still alive so he must not have been there long because it was 90 degrees. He had a couple of very small places on his body that looked like he had been pecked. We don’t have any HS around so I attributed it to one of the SY birds w/o a mate. We put him back in the gourd we thought he belonged in.
This morning we found another live one on the ground that was about 2 do. He had more Injury marks on him than the one yesterday. We put him back in a gourd with others his size hoping he makes it. Again I attributed it to an SY.
We have all Troyer gourds with tunnels and crescent openings. Today I noticed a couple of mocking birds flying around the gourds. In fact one got stuck in the netting on one of the poles so he had been close. I went out to try and get him out but I think he was so frightened by my presence he got out himself.
I began to wonder if a mockingbird could fit into a crescent opening and if they were the ones messing with the babies as they were hanging around the gourds. I mentioned that to my husband and he said he saw three out there yesterday.
So my question is would it be possible for a mockingbird to enter a crescent opening?
Black Jack
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

I know my martins want let a mockingbird stay around long. I wouldn't think a mockingbird would do such. I see no reason why.
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

I have no personal experience with this, but they seem to be too big to fit through a crescent opening.
Whippy
Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 62 fledged

Mocking birds around my house don't bother with the Martins. They'll sit on top of the gourd rack pole to have a look below but that's about it.

I suspect an SY male or a HOSP is your culprit.

Coolwhips
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Whippy,
A male SY was my original thought and after reading these replies about the mockingbirds I feel certain that is who is injuring and tossing out these helpless young. We do not have any HS around. Have not seen one anywhere near our colony. We have a large window in our family room and reading area in another room where we can watch what is going on from the comfort of our couch :). And my husband put up two game cameras today so if we find anymore young on the ground we can see for certain who the culprit is.
Whippy
Posts: 579
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 62 fledged

Sharon - Central TX wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:14 pm
Whippy,
A male SY was my original thought and after reading these replies about the mockingbirds I feel certain that is who is injuring and tossing out these helpless young. We do not have any HS around. Have not seen one anywhere near our colony. We have a large window in our family room and reading area in another room where we can watch what is going on from the comfort of our couch :). And my husband put up two game cameras today so if we find anymore young on the ground we can see for certain who the culprit is.

That'll be a tough remedy if it is the mocking bird. I hope it's not but am interested to know what you find out. I've never seen a mocking bird enter a cavity of any kind but there's always the first time.

Thank you,

Coolwhips.
rrmartins
Posts: 1413
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Round Rock, TX

Sorry to hear this is happening Sharon. We have lots of Mockingbirds around our house and have never seen any of them on our T14 or harassing our Martins. I’m leaning towards a sub that didn’t get a mate or a male HOSP. Hard to believe it would be a male HOSP though, you would hear him all day long trying to draw in a female to your housing. Keep us posted!!!
2019
T14
7 pair
25 fledged
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

As others, I am very interested to hear what you find out from your observations and cameras.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2902
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I too have mocking birds on my property and have never seen them land on a porch of my martin housing. I do see them land on top or the perches but never shown interest in going in a cavity. I would suspect an SY over a mocker but never say never.
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.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Re-read my last post and realized I made it sound like I thought it was a mockingbird. Sorry, that is not what I meant. After reading other’s comments about mockingbirds I DON’T think it was a mockingbird that attacked the young. I DO think it was a male subadult. I have seen them sticking their heads into gourds and usually being chased off. Apparently neither parent was around when the young were attacked.
We have been walking between our two poles several times a day since the attacks. So far everything has been OK. I am anxious for our next check to see if the two young I returned to their gourds made it.
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

UPDATE: Yesterday’s nest check revealed one of the nestlings that had been attacked was missing. I’m guessing he probably died and was removed by a parent. The other nestling from a different gourd apparently was OK as they were all accounted for and I couldn’t see any difference between them.
We do have a couple of subadults hanging around and I saw one go into a gourd today and get chased out by the female inside. I feel certain a subbie was responsible for the attacks when both parents were away.
Spiderman
Posts: 776
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I have lost probably 15 pink babies in the last week to SY's. There is a group of SY's that showed up about 10 days ago. When i 1st noticed them they would hover around a Gourd rack like hummingbirds remaining almost motionless. My 1st thought was a snake in one of the gourds but after checking the gourds I found that wasn't true.

They aren't interested in nesting but feed with the ASY's in the mornings and afternoons. They were probably born here and are very comfortable with me when I walk under the racks trying to get them to leave. But I find a couple of pink babies almost every day. They don't sleep here because all of the (82) gourds have nesting pairs with either eggs or babies.

I don't think there is anything that you can do about it. As a result instead of having 5 or 6 healthy Fledglings, I will have 2 or 3 in some nests that will be very well cared for and fed.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Spiderman,
That is very sad to lose so many. I’m really sorry to hear that. We only have 28 gourds and all but one have babies or eggs, Most of ours have hatched.
Someone is sleeping in the one gourd that doesn’t have a nesting pair so it’s probably a subadult. I noticed more of them visiting today but the parents seem to be doing a good job of keeping them away.
You’re right, there’s really nothing that can be done about them, especially if they don’t fly away when you walk by your racks. It’s all part of nature but we don’t have to like it.
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