Bird out of SuperGourd & can't fly.

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About an hour ago, I heard my martins raising cain. When I went in the
back yard, I saw a young one sitting in my chain link fence about half way down. I approached it, with some grownups screaming at me, then it
flew off with them in hot pursuit. About 30 minutes ago, I heard the same
thing and again went out to look around. This time, I found another young bird and this one could not fly, only skim along the ground. I managed to catch it and now I've got it in a cardboard box in my kitchen.
My question is, is there anything I can do to keep this little rascal alive?
He seems to have all his feathers although it's tail looks a little ragged.

His best chance for survival is for you to put him back into his gourd. When you lower the gourd, take a look inside to make sure there are not a lot of mites, or a dead bird or something inside the gourd that made the baby bird jump. If you see a lot of mites you should do a nest change. If there are other baby martins in the nest, just remove them & put them in the box with the other baby until you finish the nest change. Place all the babies back inside & put the house/gourd back up.

The parents still have a lot to teach their fledgling, his best chance for survival is to be back with his parents.

How old is the baby?
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.

Hello jhalford.

I checked your profile - so, I see you've been a member of the Forum for 1-1/2 years.

Do you do nest checks? If not - can you lower your gourd rack?

You ask if there is anything you can do to keep this little rascal alive. That is a serious question to me. You can go buy crickets and feed him every 45 minutes until he can finally fly by himself. But, then he will be all alone - his parents won't remember him. He won't have anybody to teach him how to catch insects - he won't have anybody to teach him how to watch out for hawks - he will probably die even if you can keep him alive.

This is what I would do. Check the little jumper for evidence of starvation. Is his breastbone protuding with little or no muscle? If he appears well fed, you have just ruled out one of the causes of premature fledging.

If you have nest check records - take them with you outside to the gourd rack and lower it. Even if you don't have nest check records - lower your gourd rack and check the individual gourds for mites. Do this carefully and quietly - we know you have one nest that is fledging. You don't want to scare these birds out - their parents will take them out when the time is right.

If you have nest check records, find the nest with a missing nestling that is the same size as the one in your kitchen. A good way to judge if they are the same size or age is to look at the length of their wing feathers. How far is it from the tip of the longest wing feather to the end of their tail feathers. Check this distance on the little rascal (you don't need a ruler; just eyeball it) and then (armed with this information) go outside and check to see if you can find where he belongs.

Very important! PM nestlings don't jump out of their nice safe nests for no reason. If you find mites, treat the nest accordingly. If he is starving - you can try to care for him yourself or find a nest with the same size young in it and put him in there or take him to a rehabber. If you don't find mites and he's not starving, then I don't know what is wrong. Maybe he just got knocked off the porch of his gourd. When you have decided where you will put him, go get him from your kitchen and put him in the selected nest. Did he go in and huddle with the other young in the nest? If so, this is the correct nest. If not - do you have a second choice? Try it (if you do) and see if he readily accepts this choice. If you can't tell - then just keep an eye on him. Be prepared - you may find him dead anyway. Sometimes they just don't make it - no matter how hard you try. Good luck!!! Let us know what happens.

I decided against putting the nestling back. I have 24 SuperGourds up &
most of the young have fledged and are out flying with their parents.
There are two or three SG's on each pole that still have some young
that appear to be ready to come out at any time. I elected to take the
little rascal out to a field across from my house. I was being observed
by several adult Martins sitting on some electrical wires a short distance
away. I dumped the little bird out, it started trying to fly across the field
and as I walked away, I noticed 5 or 6 of the adults flying down to it
and appeared to be encouraging it to fly. The last time I looked, about an
hour later, the adults and the young one were gone. I can always hope that it managed to fly away with them. I have been doing this for 8 or 9
years and this is the first time for something like this.

Jim Halford

I have a lot of experience in being a martin landlord...and want to share some of my experiences.
After some of the nestlings from my colony decided it was too hot inside the gourds, they decided to jump. I retrieved three that were able to just fluutter along the ground. I managed to catch the little darlings. Two years ago I purhased what I call my "Half Way House"...have it clamped onto a pole at the height that I can reach. I was able to put the three nest jumpers in the Half Way House. The mamas and the papas were chattering and flying around, and were chasing a nearby squirrel that had noticed the nest jumpers...much excitement at that time.

A few minutes later I ohserved the chattering adult birds were perched on the porch of the Half WayHouse observing the nest jumpers

I would advise anyone that has nest jumpers to consider investing in one of these, or one could easily be constructed.
It was great to see that the adult hirds so quickly noticed where their nest jumpers ended after abandoning their nest. :grin:

Anna Jones
50 years plus a martineer.
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