Has this baby been wounded? UPDATE 7-1-20

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Diane Porter
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:30 am
Location: Iowa

Today the lone surviving baby Purple Martin, age 11 days, looks as if there is a wound on the back, near the tail. Yesterday that area looked almost feathered. Today it looks raw. Would a SY bird have entered and pecked it? What can I do to help?

Or is this normal?
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Last edited by Diane Porter on Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Diane Porter
Fairfield, Iowa
Dave Duit
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Diane,
I'm by no means an avian rehabilitator nor vet, so this is just my thoughts. I wouldn't want to harm the baby any more than its current condition. So, I think that is would be ok to simply use a little mild soap like dawn with some water and lightly rub the rear. Then, clean it off with clear cool water. This may help with any infection.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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.

It looks like a wound. With the dry green leaves in the nest, it looks like the nest has not been replaced. Bird blow fly larvae may be present and have fed on the nestling causing a raw area. I suggest nest replacement to be sure none are present. I might also use a little bit of antibiotic salve both as a cover for the wound to keep flies away and to assist healing.

Good luck.

Ed
Whippy
Posts: 596
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, 67 fledged

I agree with Ed.

Clean out that nest put fresh material but, before you add the nesting material, go one step further and add a 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon under the new nest material to keep all other parasites out of the nest.

I think if a bird pecked at the baby the wounds would be a lot deeper.

You care for this baby will be a lesson for all.

Good luck to you.

Coolwhips
Diane Porter
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:30 am
Location: Iowa

Whippy wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:55 am
I agree with Ed.

... and add a 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon under the new nest material to keep all other parasites out of the nest.
You mean Sevin?

Thank you for your advice. I will do it. This is Day 11, so a good time for nest replacement. It's my first time, and the only nesting, so I only get one chance to get this right. But I'll put the baby in a bucket, remove the nest material, replace it with fresh, then put the baby back in and put a touch of Neosporin on the raw place.

I don't have pine needles, but this nest was built on a bed of cedar chips sold for rabbit bedding. It's all I can think of to use, in the absence of pine needles.

And if y'all think it's a good idea I'll put a bit of Sevin in the gourd before adding the bedding.

I sure do appreciate the advice of you experienced landlords.
Diane Porter
Fairfield, Iowa
Whippy
Posts: 596
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, 67 fledged

Yes. Sevin. Sorry. Got to typing too fast.

You don't need a lot just 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon under the bedding.

Coolwhips
Diane Porter
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:30 am
Location: Iowa

Following the good advice I received here, I removed the old nest, wiped out the gourd, sprinkled 1/8 tsp of Sevin in the bottom, put in new cedar bedding, touched up the baby's injury with Bactine ointment (which my doctor has recommended as a less irritating topical antibiotic than Neosporin), and replaced the baby in the new nest. I discarded the egg that has provided lonely company since the three siblings disappeared.

The baby looked better today, and his butt seems to be healing up. The feathers are starting to come out of the pins, like little short brushes. So cute. The parents are totally absorbed in his fortunes, watching me every second.

I'm very grateful to those who have advised me about how to help this nestling. A lot rides on those little wings.
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Diane Porter
Fairfield, Iowa
Dave Duit
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Diane,
I feel so much better knowing that this baby has a great chance of weathering the storm. It looks much better now that you have taken those steps to help him heal. A feel good thread.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Whippy
Posts: 596
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, 67 fledged

Way to go Diane!
brent
Posts: 175
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Great to hear of the chick's improvements. Keep us posted.
Whippy
Posts: 596
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, 67 fledged

Diane,

How's the baby today?
Kegger
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

GREAT JOB Diane, and an awesome job at your picture taking, especially the after picture! 8)
Diane Porter
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:30 am
Location: Iowa

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

The Babe is still alive, and I don't see any bloody places today. The back seems sort of irritated and bare in places where it looks like some of the feathers have been rubbed off, and that worries me. I don't see any insects on bird or nest, and I didn't find any on myself after handling the bird today. There was also quite a bit of what looked like dandruff. I hope that's just from the feather sheaths that are being burst open.

The nestling seemed less active than yesterday. Maybe just hot, as it was a very sweaty afternoon. I sure do hope it's all right.
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Last edited by Diane Porter on Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Diane Porter
Fairfield, Iowa
Dave Duit
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Diane,
The lethergy is probably due to the heat and humidty we have had over the last few days here in Iowa.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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