YAY! Supplemental feeding in little old Licking, MO!!

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KathyF
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

I am SOOOO excited! My crickets arrived at noon today and after gathering up my eggs & spoons, I took a chair out near my colony once it stopped raining this afternoon. One male watched me intently, then decided to *alert* the rest of the crew that there was an "intruder" (me) :lol: . Five martins flew out of their cavities and sat on the perches watching me flip eggs and crickets past them.

I must have flipped over 40 crickets and over half a plate of scrambled eggs for at least 20 minutes, then - suddenly - the *MAGIC* happened. A female took off and caught a cricket just 3 or 4 feet off the ground! :P It took a couple of more flips, then a male decided to come after a cricket. After that, it was a free-for-all. They learned very quickly that when I sang "Hi-Ho" to them, that I was going to flip again!

Wow - what a day! I'm so relieved - there were at least 20 martins out on the perches and swirling above me and diving for crickets. I probably flipped over 200-250 crickets to them. I have a blister on my flipping finger! :oops: I definitely see a B&B in my very near future. :wink:

What have I learned?
1. It takes more than a few minutes and a few flips to get them going initially. Don't get discouraged....one of those martins is keeping an eye on what you're doing. :wink:

2. Take multiple flipping spoons with you....you'll break a few. :lol:

3. Don't wait until the martins haven't been able to feed for too long, or they will be too weak to catch the crickets.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Jeff Robinson
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Rogersville, Missouri
Martin Colony History: 2008 thru Current
72 Cavities - 66 Pairs in 2017
PM Mentor

Great news Kathy! And when, or if they get weak...I placed crickets just inside their holes last year when we had an extended period of cold rain every day, and they ate all but one of them. I did Not share your same fortune with teaching them to take to flipping, but maybe they just weren't hungry enough that day? Regardless, I'll keep your pointers in mind for future use when it's needed.

Impressed with your number of martins on-board already!

Jeff
PMCA Member - Bedrock Colony
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

Congratulations! Great news, Kathy.

Another thing I had failed to mention - sometimes Purple Martins from neighboring colonies will come over to eat with your birds. I think the sound of Purple Martins successfully feeding is heard for quite some distance.

Mike and I used a large plastic serving size spoon and kinda chunked the crickets into the air. Our dog has a "Chucker" that we use to toss tennis balls for him. So, we use the same method to toss crickets. I think this helps a lot to save the end of your finger from blisters. But, sometimes the crickets jump out of the spoon before you can get them tossed into the sky. :lol:

Enjoy...

Sincerely,
Laverne
Sincerely,
Laverne
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Nice job, Kathy! :grin: We are all happy for you - and the info you share here is going to help other landlords & their martins.
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Kathy,

You are the greatest! :grin:

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
KathyF
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Well, I just went out with more spoons, 2 scrambled eggs & about 100 crickets and had them feeding again within just a few minutes. One female followed me back to my door. :lol:

Tomorrow is going to be rough with Sat. & Sun. night temps around 28, so I'll be getting some handwarmers for their cavities.

Thanks to all of you - without the members of this forum that are already experienced "feeders", I wouldn't have been able to accomplish it. And a special thanks to Linda Reynolds for the encouraging phone call this morning. 8) It is so nice to hear an experienced landlord with an encouraging voice, say, "yes, it *WILL* happen"!

Jeff, a couple more thoughts on what worked for me today that may help:

I fired 3-4 crickets in one direction about 2 or 3 feet in front of one group of martins, then I fired off in another direction past another group of martins and I just kept firing them in different directions until one finally took it.

Another thing - get the crickets / eggs really, really high. This seems to tempt the martins more. :wink:

Don't give up - they never would accept it from me the last 2 years that I tried, but to be honest, I think I gave up too early, those times that I tried. :oops: Temps here aren't looking good until next Thurs. :-(

My flipping finger hurts...but it's a good pain. :lol: :lol: :lol:
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Linda Reynolds
Posts: 1308
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:33 pm
Location: Adamsville, TN

Kathy, I never had a doubt you could do it............You are highly motivated, smart, and tenacious. I am happy that little trail blazer of a female dove off the rack and took the leap of faith. Your colony will now all follow her lead, as your mentees and others will follow yours. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Now you have another great experience to share with your mentees, the supplemental feeding lessons will be passed along to many. This is win/win............for you and the purple martins and everyone whom you touch with your message of success.

I am impressed that you did not ascribe to the theory that they have to be really stressed before they will accept offerings...........That is simply not true, as you proved today. Sometimes I think those that wait until the birds are really stressed before they offer food, close a window of opportunity for martins to accept supplemental feeding. When stressed and cold, they might not have the strength to capture the food.

I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU and YOUR COLONY............Bravo!
Ever-Grateful,
Linda
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

Yahoo, Kathy!! Don't you just feel great having accomplished this?? It really is going to help them get through this cold/wet spell. I just knew you could do it. Heck, if I can do it anyone can. I am so happy for you!!

Dawn :)
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Kathy, congrats on a good job. I fed about 6 or 7 years ago, and this year was the 2nd time, but the martins learned quickly. There were about 25 martins here that I was feeding. After the cold spell was over, my count dropped down to about 12. I think that I was feeding some of my neighbors martins for a couple days.

best of all, they all survived 5 days without feeding weather.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Emil and Linda,

Thanks for sharing in this post.

Bear in mind it does get much easier for those that have to feed regularly. There is no flipping and wearing out the finger.

Just scrambled eggs in a platform feeder does the trick. You can still fling just for the fun of it however.

You may want to try flinging some egg next. Then egg and crickets on a high platform or attached to the housing on a tray.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.
KathyF
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Doug,

During the first half of the first session, they would only take the crickets, but as they kept feeding, I then added the scrambled egg and they were taking it too.

During the second session, they ate almost 2 whole scrambled eggs and the 100 crickets. :shock:

So, I'm mixing it up and they are grabbing every bite.

Awesome, awesome day!
Image
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
Paul P
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:15 pm
Location: Missouri/Macon

Congratulations Kathy,

I always had you pictured as a "Get 'er Done" girl. :lol:
Outstanding experience for you, and all of us, one you should be proud of.
Keep them (PM) down there for awhile, 'cause we have 2" of snow on the ground here in northern MO.

Old Paul
Ed Pace
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: NY/Jamestown

Kathy; My eyes are welling up reading your successful story on feeding your martins it was especially touching to my wife and I. we lost three nest full of babies in our first year of trying for martins 30 years ago. We just didn't know back then and that memory will never be forgotten. Congratulations to you and for spreading the word. thanks to all you who have helped Kathy and the rest of us. Hope you and everybody have a good season. Ed.
Linda Reynolds
Posts: 1308
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:33 pm
Location: Adamsville, TN

Doug, Paul and I have successfully provided supplemental feeding at our site since 2003.

At first we would fling both crickets, and scrambled eggs, but in 2005, employed a home made B&B system. It is independent from our racks. We decided to use this type of system when we were unable to lower either of our racks one year due to a terrible ice storm. It has worked well for us for many years, and the martins now help themselves to not only the food offerings during bad weather, but nesting material and oyster shells when food is not needed. It is mounted only five feed tall and enables us to fill it as necessary, and not worry about if we can lower racks. The martins use it all the time, and it has been a wonderful addition to our site..........an actual life saver at times.

Kathy, I did not intend upon hijacking your post, but wanted to share this information with Doug...........I hope this post was not an intrusion.......
Ever-Grateful,
Linda
eyeamtheman
Posts: 633
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:21 pm
Location: Quitman, La
Martin Colony History: Super colony

I had supplemental feeding success the last two years at my old colony, in 2007 and 2008. I too, was determined, and the bluebirds picked up MANY crickets until, like you said....almost magical. I could see how one male was watching intently, and that made me think that I was close, and he finally went after one, and it was ON then....!! The bigger thrill came the next year, in my opinion and next year you can do this too. I had about 2 or 3 birds that just arrived at the start of the season, and just curious to see if they remembered, I went out that chilly morning with some crickets and not one was missed. I was amazed at how a bird can learn and remember to that extent, and for me, that was proof. Later that year, during an extended rainy spell, I couldn't fling enough it seemed, as most all were brought in to feed nestlings. It was a feeding frenzy as I resorted to simply tossing up 4 or 5 crickets by hand a few feet in the air. Except for the few harmless mid air martin collisions, ALL were caught. I would have most certainly bought a B and B and trained them to use that, but then I moved. There has been no extended period of bad whether since I've been here yet. But we CAN have some, mainly several rainy days in a row which is just as bad on martins as long cold spells. Either way, they cannot feed in those conditions. So congratulations on your success, and I'm happy for you as well.
Last edited by eyeamtheman on Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Johnny
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

Great job Kathy..I received bad news today via email that my crickets will not be here till Tuesday. Apparently I put a period after KS in the shipping address and they told me it was an error and would not be over night shipping.(should have arrived fri) will not use that company again. Hope my Martins can get by till tuesday..I know sat/sun will be rough, calling for high 40's monday but damp..will be keeping an eye on things.
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
TheCav-MO
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:56 pm
Location: Missouri/Macon

Congratulations Kathy,

Thanks for sharing your tips and good news. I've spent the last week staring at the skies wishing for the return of my martins. As Paul said we have two inches of snow along with high winds here now. And it looks like it will be that way until next weekend. I must admit I'm very happy they are still further south and still warm.
KathyF
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Linda, everyone here needs all the knowledge you can share, so I don't look at this as a 'hijacking'. :lol: :lol: In fact, I'm really happy that you're tracking this thread and addressing questions / concerns!
TonyG wrote:Great job Kathy..I received bad news today via email that my crickets will not be here till Tuesday. Apparently I put a period after KS in the shipping address and they told me it was an error and would not be over night shipping.(should have arrived fri) will not use that company again. Hope my Martins can get by till tuesday..I know sat/sun will be rough, calling for high 40's monday but damp..will be keeping an eye on things.
Thanks Tony - if you can find one, look for a local store to buy some from to get you through the next 3 days. Bass Pro may carry them - don't know if you have one of those where you're located, or even a local bait & tackle store. How many martins do you have? If only a few, then you won't need many crickets, so that will help with the increased cost of buying locally.

And if you scramble some eggs & fling them too, you can save on the crickets until they start taking your offerings. If your temperatures are going to be anything like ours tonight, you might want to consider picking up some 24-hr handwarmers for the next 2 nights also. Linda advises to put them in the cavities about 3 in the afternoon.
Last edited by KathyF on Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
SoIndyDon
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:45 am
Location: Indiana/Scottsburg

I use a wrist rocket sling shot to shoot crickets. No blisters and the crickets fly 15' or more into the air. I can shoot 2 to 3 at a time with the sling shot. And a feeding tray is invaluable!
Landlording since 1996 in beautiful southern Indiana.
KathyF
Posts: 3518
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 1:57 pm
Location: Missouri/Licking
Martin Colony History: Colony started - 2007 with one pair
As of 2018 - 84 cavities offered, max # of pairs hosted - 82.

Ed Pace wrote:Kathy; My eyes are welling up reading your successful story on feeding your martins it was especially touching to my wife and I. we lost three nest full of babies in our first year of trying for martins 30 years ago. We just didn't know back then and that memory will never be forgotten. Congratulations to you and for spreading the word. thanks to all you who have helped Kathy and the rest of us. Hope you and everybody have a good season. Ed.
Ed, I know how devastating it can be to lose even one martin and you're right - you never forget. I'm so thankful for all the information shared on the internet, more importantly on this forum - so glad you're here! My best for a blessed season!

Johnny, it is the most awesome feeling isn't it?!? My husband said he didn't think I could smile that big. :lol: (*note to self - watch the big smiles while standing under a flock of martins :lol: ). I can't believe how bad our weather is going to be - and you're right - it doesn't even have to be cold & wet, just extended periods of rain can be bad too. Hope you have a wonderful season!
"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
2016 - 82 pair
2015 - 76 pair
2014 - 75 pair
2013 - 75 pair
2012-72 pair
http://kathyfreeze.blogspot.com
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