Hawk attack

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flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

This morning I saw a Cooper’s hawk around my pm house... I didn’t see it at the opening, but it landed on the top perch. I stomped and yelled and he left.
The parents have not returned to the nest since.
I had 5 babies, now there are only 2.
When I lowered the house the two remaining babies are alive, but laying face down, I can see them breathing. I jostled the nest and one fluttered a bit, but never really raised his head.
While doing the nest check 4 PM’s circled above and half heartedly swooped at me.
They flew off after I left the yard, but never entered the house or lit on it.
Do I need to feed these guys?
SSMartin
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

The parents should resume feeding. Not drawing any further attention to the nest is there goal right now and two babies are easier to feed then 5. If you don’t see them feed by dark you may want to intervene.
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

Thank you for the quick response.
Is it normal for the babies to be listless when I’m checking them?
If I need to feed them; what and how?
SSMartin
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Yes they tend to sit very still especially if there eyes are open they know you aren’t mom or dad. They have no natural defense so sitting still and hoping for the best is all they can do.

You can gently open their beak and place a water soaked cricket or meal/superworm (dead) in their mouths and they should swallow them down. You may need to push them back a little further to get them to swallow but they catch on quickly.

Letting the parents do this is less stress for everyone so keep an eye out I’m sure they’ll come back. How did the hawk reach in? What kind of housing.
Sorry this happened
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

The house is a trio t-12 I think.
I never saw the hawk reach into the house, I just saw him hovering/flying closely around the house then lit on the top perch... I yelled, it flew off with a couple of pm’s chasing.
I actually only had four babies, one of the eggs didn’t hatch. So the hawk only got two of the babies, but I’m worried that the hawk got the parents too.
This is our first nesting pair (trying for years). For the last two weeks I have 6-8 pm’s visiting 2-4 times each day... perching on the porches and just acting like they are a colony. I was wondering if these are this years babies from another colony checking out the house, but they include a couple of a2y males. I see 3-4 pm’s doing fly-bys over the house, but they don’t land.
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

SSMartin... you were right, the parents have returned and are busy feeding the two hatchlings!

I feel soooo much better, my blood pressure is returning to its normal range!
SSMartin
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

Are the compartments like 6”x6”? If this is the case the hawk simply reached in and dragged them out. This is why it is recommended to expand those into a neighboring room so the parents can place the babies out of reach.

Maybe this is something you can do for next season.

Martins will visit other colonies especially after their young fledge as they start gathering in large groups to migrate back south. Hopefully your pair fledges these two young and returns next year and attracts many more for you.

I am glad everything worked out!
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

SSMartin wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:04 pm
Are the compartments like 6”x6”? If this is the case the hawk simply reached in and dragged them out. This is why it is recommended to expand those into a neighboring room so the parents can place the babies out of reach.

Maybe this is something you can do for next season.

Martins will visit other colonies especially after their young fledge as they start gathering in large groups to migrate back south. Hopefully your pair fledges these two young and returns next year and attracts many more for you.

I am glad everything worked out!
The parents behavior has changed since the hawk attack. They no longer sit on the house, don’t spend much time in the yard, and go in the house and back out very quickly and not nearly as often.
I have a second house with the expanded compartments. The pm’s checked it out, but chose the t12, probably because it’s in a better location.
Could I/Should I swap out the houses and move the nest to the more secure house, just in the same location?
SSMartin
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

You can’t move anything now it could completely stop the parents from recognizing their nest. Best to wait until next season.

Their behavior is simply keeping the remaining babies safe and when they fledge they’ll likely not return to sleep either but that’s ok. Towards the end of my season the few remaining pairs always With babies seem to get skiddish and won’t come down to feed until I am farther from the housing.

Just use this as a learning experience and make modifications to prevent it while you’re waiting for them to return next spring.
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

SSMartin wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:25 am
You can’t move anything now it could completely stop the parents from recognizing their nest. Best to wait until next season.

Their behavior is simply keeping the remaining babies safe and when they fledge they’ll likely not return to sleep either but that’s ok. Towards the end of my season the few remaining pairs always With babies seem to get skiddish and won’t come down to feed until I am farther from the housing.

Just use this as a learning experience and make modifications to prevent it while you’re waiting for them to return next spring.
SSM,
Thank you for helping me through this.
I’ll take your advice and just watch them as closely as possible (like a hawk) and try to prevent another attack.

Also, the pm’s are now acting more “normal”... I have four perching on the house and another three flying around. The parents are going in and out and staying inside longer too. It appears they have become more comfortable
Next year you can bet both houses will have the expanded compartments and improved predator measures.
Whippy
Posts: 598
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

flmike,

Do you have any hawk distractions in place?

Many of us use Martin decoys strategically placed around our housing to attract the hawks attention when busting in. There are many threads related to this with a lot of great ideas.

I've not lost a Martin to a hawk all season. My decoys are set 15 to 20 feet from my gourd rack and 6 feet below the gourds. You've seen your martins leave their housing and so you know when they do they like to dive down to gain speed. When mine do this they actually fly by the decoys. That's when the hawk will hit the decoys. Sometimes he'll just come in and hit the decoys just because. I recommend NOT putting decoys on your housing as we want the hawk to stay away from your babies.

I did not see this mentioned above so thought I'd throw this at you.

Here is the most recent thread on this topic

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36458

Good luck to you

Coolwhips
flmike
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:58 pm
Location: Moneta, Virginia

Whippy wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:48 am
flmike,

Do you have any hawk distractions in place?

Many of us use Martin decoys strategically placed around our housing to attract the hawks attention when busting in. There are many threads related to this with a lot of great ideas.

I've not lost a Martin to a hawk all season. My decoys are set 15 to 20 feet from my gourd rack and 6 feet below the gourds. You've seen your martins leave their housing and so you know when they do they like to dive down to gain speed. When mine do this they actually fly by the decoys. That's when the hawk will hit the decoys. Sometimes he'll just come in and hit the decoys just because. I recommend NOT putting decoys on your housing as we want the hawk to stay away from your babies.

I did not see this mentioned above so thought I'd throw this at you.

Here is the most recent thread on this topic

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36458

Good luck to you

Coolwhips
Thanks whippy,
I have one decoy that came with a house, it’s clipped onto the porch of the vacant house.
I’m planning on improving my site in the off season, I’ll follow your recommendations and add decoys to draw predators away from the houses.
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