Late hatchling?

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johnk
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:09 pm
Location: Florida
Martin Colony History: Twenty-second year of returning Purple Martin colonies (2020). Also four bat houses supporting about 200 bats.

Hi,
I’m in N. Florida. I have a colony of 20 -24 Purple Martins that returns every year. About two weeks ago the fledglings all flew. However, in the past few days I’ve noticed an adult returning to one of the gourds several times a day. I can hear a chick in the gourd so I put a video camera on a pole a took a short video when the adult was not present. I can see movement in the nest, but too dark to tell anything else. Today I can see a beak just poking out of the gourd opening. Anyone know what might be happening and if there is anything I can or should do to help the remaining bird? Thank you!!!
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
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.

Curious as to why a video camera on a pole? Can you lower your gourds?If you can't, there is not much you can do to improve your situation.

Ed
johnk
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:09 pm
Location: Florida
Martin Colony History: Twenty-second year of returning Purple Martin colonies (2020). Also four bat houses supporting about 200 bats.

Hi Ed,
Thank you for your reply. I can lower the gourds but it was less intrusive to peek in with a camera. As long as the adults are continuing to feed it regularly I don’t want to disturb the gourd. Just curious if anyone could tell me whether this is normal or if I possibly have an injured Martin. Thank you again, John
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
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.

Lower the gourds. If the nestling is uninjured, it may be a late nest by SY birds or a second nesting. Have you not lowered the gourds to check on the birds in all those years? You have missed a lot. I am on my second nest replacement of three onneach nest and the birds are not in the least bit intimidated or deterred from continuing to feed the nestlings within minutes of me finishing. Reach in and pick up the nestling and check it out. Replace it in the nest and you have your answer.

Good luck in the future.

Ed
johnk
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:09 pm
Location: Florida
Martin Colony History: Twenty-second year of returning Purple Martin colonies (2020). Also four bat houses supporting about 200 bats.

Thank you Ed,
I didn’t know the Martins were tolerant of lower the gourds or handling the chicks. I noticed yesterday and today that the chick is poking its head out like it’s close to flying. So I may wait a couple of days. But I’ll keep this in mind. I’d love to see the chicks as they are growing.

Also, I’ve only lowered my gourds after the birds leave. They are out over water so it’s a little risky for me to take them down when they are occupied.

Thank you again,
John
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 797
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.

John,

I encourage you to see if another martin landlord in your area would demonstrate nest checks for you. It really is a great way to gain a better appreciation for the remarkable changes that the nestlings make as they grow from hatch day to fully feathered. It is also a good way to correct any issues that you discover. Not having my gourds over water does make my job easier but even once or twice early in the season would be worth it if you are able to lower the gourds safely. Once the nestlings reach 22 days of age or so, it might be a good idea to just watch from below.

I'm at least two weeks away from the first batch fledgling. The oldest are just 14 days old today and the most recently hatched are just 4 days old. You're about done and I have almost a month before the youngest fledge and another two weeks before they leave for the year.

Good luck.

Ed
johnk
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:09 pm
Location: Florida
Martin Colony History: Twenty-second year of returning Purple Martin colonies (2020). Also four bat houses supporting about 200 bats.

Thanks Ed, will do! I’ll try to find someone before next season.
johnk
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:09 pm
Location: Florida
Martin Colony History: Twenty-second year of returning Purple Martin colonies (2020). Also four bat houses supporting about 200 bats.

Update: Our late hatchling flew this morning! Has been flying with two adults all day. So glad to see this. I don’t recall ever having a nestling this late (2 weeks) after all of the other fledglings left the nest. This was a great year for our Martins. Twenty-four mating pairs with 2-3 new fliers from each pair.
brent
Posts: 175
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

John,

This is an interesting year. I already had 70 chicks fledge this season and I thought it was all over but I was surprised to find late nesting. Right now I have 4 new nest with chicks and another with eggs that are slated to hatch this week. My last fledging is dated for August 2nd. Can you believe that?

Brent
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