Nestlings from two nests banded here in 2018 find each other

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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.

June 28, 2018, 65 nestlings were banded at my colony. Two years later, two now adult martins, after two round trips to South Americia, found each other and formed a pair. Both were banded with federal bands only 7 digits apart and my Wisconsin red bands WI 003 and WI 010. What are the odds?

There are also two other red banded martins nesting here this year. They have thus far eluded me. I had scoped the male some time ago but I caught the female today as she remained on her nest as I checked the gourds. 4 out of 24 (17%) martins in my colony were banded in Wisconsin, either here or by one other federal bander who has agreed to use red bands. We coordinated the color and the numbers to avoid confusion. I went low(1-500) with the new bands.He went high. He bands many more birds than we do.

17% return is a bit high for martins to return to their natal site if they were all banded here but two have been confirmed which is still 8% or so. Banded martins are rarely reported to me, which surprises me some. Annie reported an SY male a couple years ago about 30 miles away. The most distant was 250 miles away in Minnesota. Most bandings are dispersal studies. The red bands are easily seen with the naked eye. Colored bands are more readily apparent than the aluminum federal bands. When a color band identifying numbers are noted, they can be cross referenced with the federal bands and reported. I am sure that many of you have banded martins at your colonies right now. There are banding studies all over the martin's range and every bander would welcome reports locally.

Take a close look tomorrow. You might be surprised.

Produce a lot of martins.

Ed
deancamp
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: Raymore, MO

That's cool Ed, and I would assume very rare. Thanks for sharing.
MartinBoy14012
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:18 pm
Location: Barker,NY

Cool series of events, amazing!
Black Jack
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

That is great. I know that is a wonderful filling. Thank you Ed for sharing this story with us here.
It is really hard to believe such fragile creatures can survive in this ruthless world. I sure wish there were more folk like you on this earth. :grin:
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.

I don't know how rare this is across the martin world. Banding allowed us to document this pairing, so now we are aware of the possibility. Anyone who loves nature, and birds specifically, can increase the odds by actively managing their martin colony to assure that more hatched martins eventually fledge. These two martins were among the 107 martins who fledged out of the 109 eggs that hatched here (98% fledged) in 2018. Unmanaged colonies can only guess how many nestlings fledged. Who knows, without hands on management, these two may never have met because they may not have lived to fledge That's all supposition but at least I have many years of data to make the case.

Everyone on this Forum has nature's best interest at heart.

Produce a lot of martins. We all benefit.

Ed
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