Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

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James A Lenz
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:30 am
Location: AL, Athens, Limestone County
Martin Colony History: 2017 New Landlord 11 cavities offered 3 pair fledging 8.

Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby James A Lenz » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:26 pm

Hello my purple friends I have a disturbing problem. I have 3 gourds where babies have been found dead under a live baby. I’m thinking maybe the parents quit the nest. If the parents have quit the nest I’m wondering why. I have been told that purple Martins are unpredictable and that sometimes things happen like this for no apparent reason that that’s just how it goes sometimes. I also have gourds where babies have just vanished in a weeks time. Please give me your thoughts. I would appreciate it. I have a 16 gourd rack with Bo 11s with the black interior with the bo tunnels and porches. I do weekly checks and I have used 7 dust twice this season and don’t seem to have any bugs visible. The rest of my gourds are full of babies and or eggs. It’s just so weird. I had a full rack and now this has happened. I think maybe I’ll install a camera over the off season and see if I can figure out what’s going wrong. So to recap I have dead babies missing babies and missing eggs. Any thoughts?

John Miller
Posts: 4738
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby John Miller » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:48 pm

A snake might be the cause of disappearance. but also sub adult males. They will carry out very small young, and eggs, and sometimes one will harass a female so much that she cannot feed and some babies may starve. If a sub male is preventing a female from entering, you might be able to observe this, with some time in an lawn chair with a beverage.

James A Lenz
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:30 am
Location: AL, Athens, Limestone County
Martin Colony History: 2017 New Landlord 11 cavities offered 3 pair fledging 8.

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby James A Lenz » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:06 pm

A snake might be the cause of disappearance. but also sub adult males. They will carry out very small young, and eggs, and sometimes one will harass a female so much that she cannot feed and some babies may starve. If a sub male is preventing a female from entering, you might be able to observe this, with some time in an lawn chair with a beverage.
THANKYOU JOHN for your knowledge and insight. I have seen quite a bit of sub adult harassment. I have seen some Martins running others off and one Martin showing the downward wing flutter of aggression like I’ve observed tree swallows perform when fighting over females. Has anyone else noticed this behavior. I really don’t think it’s a snake as I have two of Chucks bird net predator guards stacked at about 4 foot. I also observed many different birds attempting to enter certain gourds after dusk and after the Martin pair was inside for quite some time. It was like some kind of frenzy where the offending birds would get halfway in and then seeming we’re pushed back out.

James A Lenz
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:30 am
Location: AL, Athens, Limestone County
Martin Colony History: 2017 New Landlord 11 cavities offered 3 pair fledging 8.

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby James A Lenz » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:53 am

A snake might be the cause of disappearance. but also sub adult males. They will carry out very small young, and eggs, and sometimes one will harass a female so much that she cannot feed and some babies may starve. If a sub male is preventing a female from entering, you might be able to observe this, with some time in an lawn chair with a beverage.
THANKYOU JOHN for your knowledge and insight. I have seen quite a bit of sub adult harassment. I have seen some Martins running others off and one Martin showing the downward wing flutter of aggression like I’ve observed tree swallows perform when fighting over females. Has anyone else noticed this behavior. I really don’t think it’s a snake as I have two of Chucks bird net predator guards stacked at about 4 foot. I also observed many different Martins attempting to enter certain gourds after dusk and after the gourd’s Martin pair was inside for quite some time. It was like some kind of frenzy where the offending birds would get halfway in and then seemingly we’re pushed back out. That seems like sub adult harassment to me. Any thoughts?

Black Jack
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 4:37 pm
Location: NC

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby Black Jack » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:59 pm

I have one dedicated pr. of mature martins that are always being harassed by a sub adult male. When my male sees him he shoos the female inside and stands guard. The sub adult always tries to bully his way in and the male knocks him off the hole. He comes every few days. He knows the female has babies. Call him the floater. :mrgreen:

PMDavid
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 6 pair.

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby PMDavid » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:01 pm

I have a similar problem. I had two nest in one trio. Then I found a baby on the ground . So I went up the ladder and put it back in. Then the next day I noticed strange behavior from the parents,and less feeding occurring. Went up and the baby was dead and found another in a different hole. Removed the dead one and placed the other one back where he belonged. Waited a few days and still odd behavior from the parents.went up and all were dead. No bite marks from parasites. I think the adults shifted over to a natural gourd. Can’t tell. Now on the other side of the house another baby out on the porch this morning early. Went up and put it back in. These were all about week or so old,both nests. This evening,baby back on porch again. Went up to get it and spotted another one in a different hole. I shouldn’t have but a dozen birds around for my six pair,but there is often 20+ all flyin around making a commotion,like daily. The pairs in the gourds are raising babies about to fledge and seem to have no problems. Am I experiencing a bad case of SY male infacide,what’s moving these babies into other un occupied holes. It also appears all these other SY birds are always trying to get in everyone’s gourds and house holes.Whats going on here?

-=DKC=-
Posts: 359
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:26 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Martin Colony History: ................
2019: 11 pairs
2018: 11 pairs - 43 fledged
2017: 4 pairs - 17 fledged

Re: Eggs and babies vanishing and dead babies dead

Postby -=DKC=- » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:47 am

I have a similar problem. I had two nest in one trio. Then I found a baby on the ground . So I went up the ladder and put it back in. Then the next day I noticed strange behavior from the parents,and less feeding occurring. Went up and the baby was dead and found another in a different hole. Removed the dead one and placed the other one back where he belonged. Waited a few days and still odd behavior from the parents.went up and all were dead. No bite marks from parasites. I think the adults shifted over to a natural gourd. Can’t tell. Now on the other side of the house another baby out on the porch this morning early. Went up and put it back in. These were all about week or so old,both nests. This evening,baby back on porch again. Went up to get it and spotted another one in a different hole. I shouldn’t have but a dozen birds around for my six pair,but there is often 20+ all flyin around making a commotion,like daily. The pairs in the gourds are raising babies about to fledge and seem to have no problems. Am I experiencing a bad case of SY male infacide,what’s moving these babies into other un occupied holes. It also appears all these other SY birds are always trying to get in everyone’s gourds and house holes.Whats going on here?
I lost a large percentage of my nestlings this year to SY infanticide. But I've never heard of nestlings being moved from one gourd to another. I'd like to hear what some more experienced landlords have to say about that.
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' till you do succeed." - Curly Howard


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