Do martins remove dead nestlings/egg that don't hatch?

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clivia98
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:14 am
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Do martins remove dead nestlings/egg that don't hatch?

Postby clivia98 » Thu May 17, 2018 2:46 pm

Hi everyone,

Does anyone know if the martins will remove a dead nestling or egg that doesn't hatch?

Jerry

Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6154
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Re: Do martins remove dead nestlings/egg that don't hatch?

Postby Louise Chambers » Thu May 17, 2018 4:12 pm

Sometimes, but not always. Smaller nestlings that die are easier for them to remove, but some are left to mummify next to their living sibs. Eggs, that also varies - sometimes unhatched eggs are left in the nest, and a new clutch added. And sometimes live young and fertile eggs are removed by subadult males trying to gain a cavity and a mate.

For the above reasons, landlords cannot assume that a nest that was occupied, and does not contain dead young or unhatched eggs, was successful, that is, fledged young - without periodic nest checks, they'll never know if eggs hatched and babies fledged, or how many, etc.

clivia98
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:14 am
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Re: Do martins remove dead nestlings/egg that don't hatch?

Postby clivia98 » Thu May 17, 2018 5:27 pm

Thank you. I did a nest check today. The nest I'm referring to originally had 6 eggs. Today's check had, what I can see, 4 nestlings and one egg. By my calculations all eggs should have hatched by now and I would have 6 nestlings. All other nests were fine with the correct amount of eggs or nestlings. I don't think it was a predator since I do have a pole guard and I would have expected more of a loss. I suspect it was removed and the egg will go unhatched. Should I leave the egg?

Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6154
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Re: Do martins remove dead nestlings/egg that don't hatch?

Postby Louise Chambers » Thu May 17, 2018 6:39 pm

I would leave any unhatched eggs for a week after all other eggs have hatched - there is not likely to be a one week gap between hatch days, and most eggs hatch within 1-2 days, max of 3-4 days. Removing unhatched eggs and obviously bad eggs after a week won't do any harm and will help keep nest cleaner.


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