MY BRUTAL 2020 SEASON

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dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

My notes on the 2020 season.

Sorry for being long but maybe people can learn from this and spot something to help me out.

After a long 6 years of nothing (at a new location), this season was a giant “180”. 4 nests, 22 eggs, 15 hatchlings.

I think the biggest reason for finally getting PMs to stay and nest was moving a BB box farther away from the gourd rack.

Over the past couple of seasons I didn’t think much about the bluebird pairs pestering curious arrivals to the gourds but I became convinced they were driving off new arrivals permanently.

By the time PMs would arrive in March, the BBs would have their first batch of eggs going and were relentless at driving off PMs. So that box was moved to my neighbor’s house.

Also, I added an SK Barn and hung it off of one of the gourd arms. I thought adding an alternative to the gourds would spark some curiousity. It appeared to work.

Well, once the first pair arrived, it was quickly followed by more pairs and singles. The BBs didn’t cause any problems so the PMs were free to investigate the gourds without being harassed.

A wild year. I’d have a dozen or so swirling around at times. It was so exciting to watch as birds paired up and began building nests and laying eggs.

But the bad news: Out of the 15 hatchlings, I had 11 confirmed dead. I’d find them throughout the weeks after hatching. One or two died very soon after hatching (one likely from a capped egg, he looked very new to the world). Most of the dead were definitely due to an SY male- four dead for certain, and maybe up to 8 (he was spotted in antagonizing another nest nearby).

So yeah, that means I had a maximum of 4 that fledged. So who knows how many of those actually fledged and survived.

The final nest of 3 fledged today. That last chick made it out but seemed weak (check out the video I posted earlier this morning). He actually was on the ground earlier today and was placed back in the gourd. One was found dead yesterday directly under the gourd (still hadn’t become stiff, so it probably happened a couple hours before). The second one fledged yesterday and looked good at departure, the third today. I suspect mites may have been a problem in that gourd, maybe others as well. The dead one seemed to have a lot of tiny bugs and there was a lot of little bugs (mites!) in and outside of the gourd. Shoulda used a little Sevin dust under the nests after laying but didn’t.

I had another nest (both parents were ASY), they had 4 hatchlings and always looked very healthy up until a few days before fledge day. I came home from work after a few days away and they were gone (fledged likely). Pretty sure only 2 made it (based on all the dead babes discovered and I know two fledged out of the last nest.

This is Terrible. I found 11 dead over the season. So, there may have been more I didn’t find. I can only confirm two fledglings out of all the chicks. I only hope a couple more actually made it out the other nest.

Let’s hope next year is better.

BTW — Zero Starlings. Zero House Sparrows.
All gourds have tunnels, all barn compartments are modded to double size. No signs of hawk or owl attacks. No squirrels , no snakes.

Sorry to ramble. Enjoy the rest of the season for those of you still going at it.

A couple of videos...:

This was yesterday, it was nuts. Only one nest left to fledge... it’s like every martin in the area was there to witness.

https://youtu.be/UZm39Yzaapw


Here is the final bubba fledging this morning..

https://youtu.be/XNpGvB9K49Q
sugarcreek
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:43 am
Location: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Martin Colony History: 2016 First Yr.

Don't know if you do 5 day nest checks or not but that would help you in finding things that might hurt your martins.....I put a very small amount of seven dust under the nest every 5 days after they hatch and that keeps the little guys clean until fledgling day.

Also all my gourds get new white pine needles at the 10 and 15 day intervals after hatching day

I wait to do my first nest checks until usually around the 2nd week in May here in Ohio ....
2016 - 1st Yr. 14 Compartments 4 Active Nests 9 fledged, 2.25 Fledged per Active Nest
2017 - 2nd Yr. 36 Compartments 18 Active Nests 65 Fledged, 3.61 Fledged per Active Nest
2018 - 3rd Yr. 54 Compartments 43 Active Nests 169 Fledged, 3.93 Fledged per Active Nest
2019 - 4th Yr. 108 Compartments 67 Active Nests 209 Fledged, 3.12 Fledged per Active Nest
2020 - 5th Yr. 108 Compartments 72 Active Nests 243 Fledged, 3.38 Fledged per Active Nest
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

yeah I was checking twice a week. Well, basically on Thursday and Sunday afternoon.... Such a frustrating year for having so much activity after a long draught of nothing.

I can't help but think I let these guys down. I have plenty of Sevon dust but didnt really think I was needing any til very late. Live and learn.

Yeah, I found dead ones during nest checks. Very frustrating.

Thanks for the reply
Bird Brain
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:22 am
Location: Highland Village, TX
Martin Colony History: 2017-nothing
2018-1 visitor
2019-nothing
2020-the most visitors/activity by far after making many site improvements. Unsuccessful SY Male visited for 2 weeks.

Does your housing have extra ventilation such as PVC elbows? Your first year means they probably got a late start which means more heat, especially in Louisiana. That many dead birds sounds like heat related illness to me. I have 2 PCV elbows on each gourd and I drilled extra holes in the bottom of each gourd also. My state gets too darn hot also.
Why do Americans only flee blue states? Why don't Americans flee red states?
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Bird Brain wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:00 pm
Does your housing have extra ventilation such as PVC elbows? Your first year means they probably got a late start which means more heat, especially in Louisiana. That many dead birds sounds like heat related illness to me. I have 2 PCV elbows on each gourd and I drilled extra holes in the bottom of each gourd also. My state gets too darn hot also.
I have ventilation but it's not been very hot at all down here. We have had a mild spring and summer just now started. Weve had just a couple days at 90. Out here the heat comes on hard late June and then july and aug are miserable
SSMartin
Posts: 192
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

I lost several just a week or so from fledging. The nests were infested with mites. The mites killed them. It was a real shame. I treated all the gourds and houses and that solved it. Many re nested and fledged successful after treatment.

All we can do is learn and better our management for next year. Don’t underestimate the damage the mites can do I sure made that mistake this year.
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

SSMartin wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:43 am
I lost several just a week or so from fledging. The nests were infested with mites. The mites killed them. It was a real shame. I treated all the gourds and houses and that solved it. Many re nested and fledged successful after treatment.

All we can do is learn and better our management for next year. Don’t underestimate the damage the mites can do I sure made that mistake this year.
Do you use Sevin as well?
Evan337
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

dsonyay wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:22 am
My notes on the 2020 season.

Sorry for being long but maybe people can learn from this and spot something to help me out.

After a long 6 years of nothing (at a new location), this season was a giant “180”. 4 nests, 22 eggs, 15 hatchlings.

I think the biggest reason for finally getting PMs to stay and nest was moving a BB box farther away from the gourd rack.

Over the past couple of seasons I didn’t think much about the bluebird pairs pestering curious arrivals to the gourds but I became convinced they were driving off new arrivals permanently.

By the time PMs would arrive in March, the BBs would have their first batch of eggs going and were relentless at driving off PMs. So that box was moved to my neighbor’s house.

Also, I added an SK Barn and hung it off of one of the gourd arms. I thought adding an alternative to the gourds would spark some curiousity. It appeared to work.

Well, once the first pair arrived, it was quickly followed by more pairs and singles. The BBs didn’t cause any problems so the PMs were free to investigate the gourds without being harassed.

A wild year. I’d have a dozen or so swirling around at times. It was so exciting to watch as birds paired up and began building nests and laying eggs.

But the bad news: Out of the 15 hatchlings, I had 11 confirmed dead. I’d find them throughout the weeks after hatching. One or two died very soon after hatching (one likely from a capped egg, he looked very new to the world). Most of the dead were definitely due to an SY male- four dead for certain, and maybe up to 8 (he was spotted in antagonizing another nest nearby).

So yeah, that means I had a maximum of 4 that fledged. So who knows how many of those actually fledged and survived.

The final nest of 3 fledged today. That last chick made it out but seemed weak (check out the video I posted earlier this morning). He actually was on the ground earlier today and was placed back in the gourd. One was found dead yesterday directly under the gourd (still hadn’t become stiff, so it probably happened a couple hours before). The second one fledged yesterday and looked good at departure, the third today. I suspect mites may have been a problem in that gourd, maybe others as well. The dead one seemed to have a lot of tiny bugs and there was a lot of little bugs (mites!) in and outside of the gourd. Shoulda used a little Sevin dust under the nests after laying but didn’t.

I had another nest (both parents were ASY), they had 4 hatchlings and always looked very healthy up until a few days before fledge day. I came home from work after a few days away and they were gone (fledged likely). Pretty sure only 2 made it (based on all the dead babes discovered and I know two fledged out of the last nest.

This is Terrible. I found 11 dead over the season. So, there may have been more I didn’t find. I can only confirm two fledglings out of all the chicks. I only hope a couple more actually made it out the other nest.

Let’s hope next year is better.

BTW — Zero Starlings. Zero House Sparrows.
All gourds have tunnels, all barn compartments are modded to double size. No signs of hawk or owl attacks. No squirrels , no snakes.

Sorry to ramble. Enjoy the rest of the season for those of you still going at it.

A couple of videos...:

This was yesterday, it was nuts. Only one nest left to fledge... it’s like every martin in the area was there to witness.

https://youtu.be/UZm39Yzaapw


Here is the final bubba fledging this morning..

https://youtu.be/XNpGvB9K49Q
More than likely the cause of death for such a high percentage of nestlings was buffalo gnats/black flies. I'm about 80 miles from you on the other side of the basin and it was a terrible year for buffalo gnats. I have never had to be so vigilant. Last year i lost around 30 - 40 nestlings to buffalo gnats. This year could have been much worse but I only ended up losing 15 - 20. I had a couple of six eggs nests that all six hatched and within 5 days of hatching the nest either failed or had one nestling survive. My trio houses were hit the worst. In fact, almost all of my losses were in the trio houses. Towards the end I think I found a method that can work in the future.
SSMartin
Posts: 192
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

I used sevin in the gourds and sprayed the outside and tunnel entrances with permethrin. Didn't harm the birds and the mites were gone.
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Evan337 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:51 pm
dsonyay wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:22 am
My notes on the 2020 season.

Sorry for being long but maybe people can learn from this and spot something to help me out.

After a long 6 years of nothing (at a new location), this season was a giant “180”. 4 nests, 22 eggs, 15 hatchlings.

I think the biggest reason for finally getting PMs to stay and nest was moving a BB box farther away from the gourd rack.

Over the past couple of seasons I didn’t think much about the bluebird pairs pestering curious arrivals to the gourds but I became convinced they were driving off new arrivals permanently.

By the time PMs would arrive in March, the BBs would have their first batch of eggs going and were relentless at driving off PMs. So that box was moved to my neighbor’s house.

Also, I added an SK Barn and hung it off of one of the gourd arms. I thought adding an alternative to the gourds would spark some curiousity. It appeared to work.

Well, once the first pair arrived, it was quickly followed by more pairs and singles. The BBs didn’t cause any problems so the PMs were free to investigate the gourds without being harassed.

A wild year. I’d have a dozen or so swirling around at times. It was so exciting to watch as birds paired up and began building nests and laying eggs.

But the bad news: Out of the 15 hatchlings, I had 11 confirmed dead. I’d find them throughout the weeks after hatching. One or two died very soon after hatching (one likely from a capped egg, he looked very new to the world). Most of the dead were definitely due to an SY male- four dead for certain, and maybe up to 8 (he was spotted in antagonizing another nest nearby).

So yeah, that means I had a maximum of 4 that fledged. So who knows how many of those actually fledged and survived.

The final nest of 3 fledged today. That last chick made it out but seemed weak (check out the video I posted earlier this morning). He actually was on the ground earlier today and was placed back in the gourd. One was found dead yesterday directly under the gourd (still hadn’t become stiff, so it probably happened a couple hours before). The second one fledged yesterday and looked good at departure, the third today. I suspect mites may have been a problem in that gourd, maybe others as well. The dead one seemed to have a lot of tiny bugs and there was a lot of little bugs (mites!) in and outside of the gourd. Shoulda used a little Sevin dust under the nests after laying but didn’t.

I had another nest (both parents were ASY), they had 4 hatchlings and always looked very healthy up until a few days before fledge day. I came home from work after a few days away and they were gone (fledged likely). Pretty sure only 2 made it (based on all the dead babes discovered and I know two fledged out of the last nest.

This is Terrible. I found 11 dead over the season. So, there may have been more I didn’t find. I can only confirm two fledglings out of all the chicks. I only hope a couple more actually made it out the other nest.

Let’s hope next year is better.

BTW — Zero Starlings. Zero House Sparrows.
All gourds have tunnels, all barn compartments are modded to double size. No signs of hawk or owl attacks. No squirrels , no snakes.

Sorry to ramble. Enjoy the rest of the season for those of you still going at it.

A couple of videos...:

This was yesterday, it was nuts. Only one nest left to fledge... it’s like every martin in the area was there to witness.

https://youtu.be/UZm39Yzaapw


Here is the final bubba fledging this morning..

https://youtu.be/XNpGvB9K49Q
More than likely the cause of death for such a high percentage of nestlings was buffalo gnats/black flies. I'm about 80 miles from you on the other side of the basin and it was a terrible year for buffalo gnats. I have never had to be so vigilant. Last year i lost around 30 - 40 nestlings to buffalo gnats. This year could have been much worse but I only ended up losing 15 - 20. I had a couple of six eggs nests that all six hatched and within 5 days of hatching the nest either failed or had one nestling survive. My trio houses were hit the worst. In fact, almost all of my losses were in the trio houses. Towards the end I think I found a method that can work in the future.
Could be gnats.. many times while observing the adults they seemed to be eating little gnats right there on the porch. Constantly. I didn't think much of it though. Gnats seem tonbe an automatic occurrence, unless buffalo gnats are a different gnat
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Thanks for all the tips.. next season I'll use Sevin regularly. I've used it every year Inhad martins. I don't know why, but decided not to use it.. didn't seem like It woukd be that critical. Apparently so.

People around here tell me to use it often,na tsp on inside porch so parents track it in, or dust around the perimeter of the nest.


NEVER AGAIN
dsonyay
Posts: 1229
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

Second thought.. after googling Buffalo Gnat.. don't think that was it at all. Pretty sure it was mites. I did see adults feeding on tiny "no see-ums" while perching and on the porches, but these were very small insects. Not the size of the flies.

And I did see a gourd crawling with very tiny bugs.. so likely it was mites.

This was a terrible lesson.
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