early arrival and the perils of procrastination

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Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:51 pm
Location: Bush, Louisiana

I've been doing a lot of "talking" about getting ready for Martin season -what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it - but thinking I had at least another two weeks before the first scouts arrived in my neighborhood, nothing was actually getting done. In my own defense, the weather has not been cooperating much either. :roll: Anyway, imagine my surprise and angst when I happened to see a bird perched on my lowered housing at 8a.m. this morning. I told myself it couldn't be a Martin this soon, got out the binoculars - refused to believe my eyes (it was raining for goodness sake and I was inside so nice and cozy). Watched it for a while STILL refusing to BELIEVE. It flew off and I thought, "Nah, your crazy." Five minutes later it was back and I heard the unmistakable PM chatter and BAM! I threw off my PJs, got dressed in a flash, gathered up some pine needles, put them in a bucket and dried them out with my hairdryer, cleaned out two troyer gourds, fixed up a warm little nest and lifted the pole. WHEW!! Only have 44 more compartments to go BUT - they can wait till tomorrow, right? :wink:
"Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap, yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6210
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Jeanne -

I love the blow-dried pine needles! :wink: I would be in your shoes if not for my husband. I really did not expect a martin here for at least another week, maybe two. Adrian in Port O Connor had a scout, and ours are usually a couple of weeks behind hers. Good thing John put up some gourds this weekend, because Sunday evening, one martin showed up.

Weather is coolish and we have not seen it since that night - I have not seen it at all, since I was not home when the martin arrived. But there is a small group of them in town, neighbor landlord Jeff has seen two males and a female on different occasions.
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Jeanne,

I finally finished pre-nesting all my gourds and house compartments the other day. What a job!

I always raise one gourd rack about a week before the "usual" arrival date of martins at my colony so any early bird will have a place to roost if the martin returns late in the day and I may miss his/her first visit.

But sometimes the early martin doesn't want that particular gourd rack! He/she may sit on the top perch of the "correct" gourd/house pole and wait for the "right one" to be raised! One year I had a gourd rack up but the first ASY male wanted his Trio compartment on my multi-purpose pole system. So he flew to the top perch of the multi-purpose pole and just sat there! I raised the system and he flew into the Trio to roost that evening. I have also had first returning martins enter cavities of "their" lowered housing that was only a few feet off the ground and roost!

When you have over 20 housing systems up, you never know which martin is going to return first! But the first martins may still roost in any of the systems that are up.

PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:51 pm
Location: Bush, Louisiana

I knew you guys would be ready! Please, don't heap on any more guilt. :???: All kidding aside, I usually don't like to open cavities up too early because then I have to be vigilant about making sure the bluebirds stay away and, of course, once you open up - the war with the sparrows is ON. So, in the beginning of the season I only open up a few cavities and wait until more of my PM colony arrives before I'm seriously "open for business".

By the way, Steve, yesterday I had my first Hawk sighting. My husband yelled to me that a bird hit our bedroom window and he thought is might have broken it because the sound was so loud. I was looking for a small injured bird (our feeders are in the back and we get a few window strikes a week) when I saw what I thought was a large chicken under the window. I did a double take, noticed the beak and big eyes looking up at me (I think he was just as startled as I was) - both of us took a step back and gawked at one another. "It's a hawk,", I cried out to hubby, "come see!" As I turned back to have another look, he was gone. I'm sure he was after a flock of blackbirds that frequent my feeders or perhaps the mourning doves that hang around. Unfortunately for the PMs, the hawk survived to hunt another day. :x
"Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap, yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
Tim Mangan-Kansas
Posts: 1728
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:25 am
Location: Kansas, Pittsburg
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 22 Pair


I keep thinking one of these years your season will start and progress without any surprises or problems for you. After reading your post, I just tell myself, no, this is Jeanne! :) Hope you have a great season.

Licensed Bander
2015 - 14 Pair - fledged 68
2014 - Moved to Kansas - 7 Pair, 35 eggs, 28 fledged in first year
2010 Thru 2013 - Moved-Tried to start new colony
2009 - 46 pair, 217 eggs, 178 fledged
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:51 pm
Location: Bush, Louisiana

Yep, you know me too well! 8)
"Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap, yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
Posts: 1261
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)

Funny! blow drying pine straw-- I guess they like it about as much as pullin' bed sheets out the dryers and throwing em straight on the bed :) Great feeling!

I'm in Slidell--- so I hope to see them very soon to. This weekend will be very warm (mid to upper 60s), hopefully more are coming up.
Posts: 623
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Leduc, Alberta, Canada.

I saw that a couple years ago too. I did not have my houses up yet and was out doing yard work(Spring cleaning), I heard that familiar sound, looked up and sure enough a Purple Martin was sitting on the pole and started circling the house. One Martin, and he demanded his house up!
2009. 98 eggs, 66 hatch, 61 fledged.
2010. 114 eggs, 89 hatch,70 fledged.
2011. 96 eggs. 80 hatch,68 fledged.Heavy Merlin preditation.
2012. 89 eggs. 56 hatch, good fledge. Guards installed. Merlin not sighted at houses.
2013. First Egg May 24, first Baby June 13.
2014. successful.
2015. successful.
2016. Martin's population decline, suspect new housing in the neighborhood. Merlin eating well also!
2017.Population explosion :grin: . first egg May 25 in a BO-11
2018. Population stable.
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