Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 699
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.

Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby Ed Svetich-WI » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:10 am

I tried supplemental feeding a few times without success. Crows and other birds ate everything that I placed on the oyster shell tray. I have a bag of dried mealworms that I am soaking with the intention of placing them on the tray. The martins are using the oyster shells frequently and are now feeding them to their nestlings. My thought is that as the nestlings become more demanding the adults may try the mealworms as a ready food source. Has this been successful for anyone in the past? I want returning martins to recognize the mealworms next spring.

Ed

PMDavid
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: First year trying to attract martins
Offering 8 compartment homemade wooden house w/4 natural gourds and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch. Will be adding a trio pioneer in 2019

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby PMDavid » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:33 pm

Hey there Ed, I’d be interested to know how that progresses. This is my first year but it’d be a trick to know for when I do get birds. From what all I gather they also really dig the chicken egg shells too. When I do acquire birds I plan to offer a supplemental platform mainly as a treat and added nutrition. Keep us posted. And.. I’ve also heard of freezing live crickets(which then kills em) and puttin those on the tray too.

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2319
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby flyin-lowe » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:08 pm

All the reading I have done says that they prefer to feed on the fly and unless they have gone a couple of days without food it is unlikely they would eat from a platform or other feeder. Maybe someone on here who has martins trained to take supplemental food in the spring has tried to feed them in the summer just to do it. I am guessing if they are not really hungry they would just watch the food fall to the ground. Just a guess though...
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.

ToyinPA
Posts: 1935
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby ToyinPA » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:35 pm

Ed Svetich-WI wrote:I tried supplemental feeding a few times without success. Crows and other birds ate everything that I placed on the oyster shell tray. I have a bag of dried mealworms that I am soaking with the intention of placing them on the tray. The martins are using the oyster shells frequently and are now feeding them to their nestlings. My thought is that as the nestlings become more demanding the adults may try the mealworms as a ready food source. Has this been successful for anyone in the past? I want returning martins to recognize the mealworms next spring.

Ed
Many have been successful doing this. Mine however will not feed from the B&B. So I flip crickets. They have eaten crickets I placed inside the cavities during bad weather.

You need to try this when they are hungry....say after an all day rain when they could not go off & feed.....flip some to get them started, while sitting next to the tray, then place some in the tray & walk away. You may have to try this several times for them to get the idea. Once chicks hatch they will look for any easy food source, especially the ASY Males. If they take to it then the females will follow.

Good luck & let us know if you get it to work.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

-=DKC=-
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:26 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Martin Colony History: ................

2018: 11 pairs - 43 fledged
2017: 4 pairs - 17 fledged

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby -=DKC=- » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:41 pm

flyin-lowe wrote:All the reading I have done says that they prefer to feed on the fly and unless they have gone a couple of days without food it is unlikely they would eat from a platform or other feeder. Maybe someone on here who has martins trained to take supplemental food in the spring has tried to feed them in the summer just to do it. I am guessing if they are not really hungry they would just watch the food fall to the ground. Just a guess though...
This Spring I trained my birds to eat flipped crickets, worms and scrambled eggs. I've been flipping them crickets this Summer hoping to help them feed their babies and I always have takers even though I see them bringing in plenty of bugs. I haven't been able to get them to eat from a platform feeder yet. Haven't tried dried worms either.
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' till you do succeed." - Curly Howard

Larry Kronemeyer
Posts: 481
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:27 pm
Location: Illinois/Millstadt

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby Larry Kronemeyer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:52 pm

Ed

You are on the right track. Now is a great time to accustom your birds to tray feeding if they are already taking oyster shells/ eggshells.

We supplemental feed in the spring using the b&b. We've been doing it for some years, our birds know and new ones learn quickly.

We are feeding now because of the heat. They are feeding on their own pretty well but we're doing an evening feeding to help fill up the young before going to bed.
Most parents take advantage.

We use to use crickets and scrambled eggs. The dried (soaked) mealworms are a great convenience and the martins love them. Right now we offer the soaked dried mealworms and some superworms.

A word of caution. Other birds will want them also. If you put the mealworms on top of the oystershells be prepared to stand watch or you're cleaning out robin or other bird poo from the tray. If I can't stand guard, I put the mealworms in a separate tray that can be dumped and cleaned out. I use a long fiberglass plant stake with a small pink flag ziptied to the end and wave it as unwanted birds try to land. The martins are used to it and barely flinch.

I do have a small separate feeding place for a male cardinal who feeds his mate and their two young. Who can resist a cardinal? He takes what he needs and is not greedy.

The soaked dried mealworms are fairly inexpensive and very convenient. A good way to condition your martins to tray feeding.

It's fun to watch. We call it "pushing the easy button" LOL.

Give it a try, they might surprise you.
Good luck.

Larry
Larry and Judy Kronemeyer
est. 1999
1-12 compartment Trendsetter and 4 gourds(crescents)
1 T-14 and 4 gourds (crescents)
12 gourd rack (crescents)
Member PMCA

jhcox
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby jhcox » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:13 am

Hello everyone I was wanting to know how you prepare the chicken egg shells for the martins. I have plenty of eggs and shells for feeding the martins just need to know how to prepare it. JHCox Heiskell TN

ToyinPA
Posts: 1935
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby ToyinPA » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:35 pm

jhcox wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:13 am
Hello everyone I was wanting to know how you prepare the chicken egg shells for the martins. I have plenty of eggs and shells for feeding the martins just need to know how to prepare it. JHCox Heiskell TN
This is how I do them:

I rinse the shells, as I use the eggs & let them soak in a bowl of water until I have enough to fill a baking sheet. If you haven't rinsed them it's no problem. Pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. It helps to keep them from sticking. Lay the shells out in a single layer if possible. I bake them at 250 for 20-25 minutes. Ovens vary in temperature, so it could be 20-30 minutes. If you bake them too long they will turn brown & can also burn. Let the baked shells cool to room temp. I use a double layer of paper towels & then put some shells on, fold the paper towel over & smash them into small pieces with the palm of my hand, turning the towel as I smash. 1/4 inch or smaller is a good size. Store them in a Ziploc bag. I put about 1 cup of shells out at a time. The parents will eat them & also feed them to their chicks.

You could put some in a baggie & roll them with a rolling pin too. Whatever is easiest for you. I find the paper towel works best for me.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member

jhcox
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby jhcox » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:59 pm

Thanks Toy I’ll give it a try next time we use some eggs.

Rick B
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:33 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Rubicon

Re: Training martins to accept dried mealworms

Postby Rick B » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:34 pm

Last year in spring if flipped crickets for hours until a female took one, then they all joined in. This year I did the eggs and it worked great. If I put eggs, crickets and soaked mealworms on the feeding station the mealworms are the last to go.

Rick


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 19 guests