I'm going to need bigger gourds- 10 nestlings in one.

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
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.

Backstory:
5/29 - 2 eggs, 5/31- 4 eggs, 6/3 -- 8 eggs ( 1 too many for only three day interval), 6/6 - 10 eggs total. I guessed at a hatch date of 6/17 on a 6 egg clutch based on the last egg laid on 6/2. On 6/17, 2 nestlings and 8 eggs were noted. 6/19 - 7 nestlings and couple eggs but it was a bit crowded. This morning, 10 healthy pink nestlings were present. There was a noticeable difference in size, which I attribute to hatching over a couple, if not three days.

Based on the difference in body size, I transferred 1 nestling to a nest that began hatching yesterday. 1 nestling to a clutch that completed hatching 6/ 18 and the third and smallest nestling to a clutch that began hatching this morning. That gives the receiving nests 6, 6 and 7 nestlings respectively. The 10 nestling clutch now has 7 nestlings. I knew that a 10 clutch nest would overtax the parents and moving nestlings would give all a better chance at survival. Besides, where would 10 nestlings find room in one gourd. I have had good luck in the past with 7 nestling clutches fledging.

I assume that this was a case of egg dumping or just another confused hen, particularly since three eggs appearing in just a two day period. Based on the differences on the body size of the 10 nestlings, it appears that hatching took place over a three day process.

This is the largest clutch that I have documented and I anticipated several sterile eggs. This will be an interesting experience to document over the rest of the season. I will update the outcomes both good and bad at a later date. Eggs hatched do not guarantee nestlings fledged. I will be watching all of these nests very closely. I may never have a similar opportunity in the future. I could not create a better opportunity to demonstrate the value of keeping records and actively managing a martin colony.

Produce as many martins as possible.

Ed
Last edited by Ed Svetich-WI on Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Wow, Ed, that's awesome! You always do such a great job keeping records! It'll be interesting to get the update(s) on these 3 nests. Good luck - I hope they all make it.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
PMS in Virginia
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Virginia/ Bassett

I am not a newbie but have just a small site. Something similar happened here a couple years ago. My question is was this situation with 10 eggs in one gourd? Was there more than 1 female on the nest within the same gourd :?: ? Maybe I am a bit naive here but just wondering?
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
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.

Good question. All the eggs were in the same gourd. You can see as the number increased over time. One lone ASY female was brooding all the eggs. All of the eggs hatched and were healthy. I eventually removed 4 nestlings and distributed them based on their size to four other gourds. As of about noon today, the original nest with now 6 similarly sized nestlings and the other 4 gourds were checked and all of the nestlings were accounted for and looked healthy.

I did not feel that I could expect a lone pair of ASY martins to successfully raise 10 young. As I said in the original post, the nestlings ranged from just hatched to about two days old in the same nest. Based on that, I selected the outliers based on size and distributed them to other nests with similarly sized nestlings. So far so good. This is an exceptional situation, so I decided to give them all a fighting chance.

I spoke with a friend in our DNR. It was his opinion that it was a case of egg dumping. It is an interesting occurence in several bird species.

Ed
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1886
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".

.... ED ... Good Job... I think I would have done the same thing. To many babies for one pair to handle. I had nine eggs in one gourd last year, Five of them hatch and four didn't.

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, 4 fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

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 and 137 Fledged. :wink:
2021 — Waiting on March 2021

PMCA Member
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
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.

Just completed the last of the nest replacements on my gourds. All 67 (100%) of the nestlings that hatched were still alive and well during the last of three nest replacements. The 4 nestlings transfered from the nest of 10 nestlings all survived as did the 6 remaning in the original nest. The oldest nestlings have begun fledgling. The last nest of 7 is 21 days old today.

Hopefully, hawks will stay away. The gourds have been enclosed in fencing since early in the season with no losses based on head counts of adults.

Hope all are having a successful season.Stay safe.

Ed
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
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.

Final nest completed fledging 7 nestlings this morning. Checked all gourds as it was the first time In months with all martins out flying. No dead found. 67 nestlings successfully fledged out of 67 eggs that hatched. Successful year. They should still be around for another week or ten days or so before I clean up for next year.

Produce as many martins as possible.

Ed
Post Reply