Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Ryan
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 9 years.

Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Ryan » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:33 am

You can see from my signature line at the bottom that I don't see many purple martins up here. Three in nine years. I have't seen one in five, but on Friday my Dad sent me a text that something that looked like a purple martin was on the housing. I stopped in today and sure enough there is a SY male that has really taken up the chalet rack. I snapped a few pictures. Funny thing, I bought a zoom lens the last time I saw a martin, only to never see a martin again to test out the lens. That was 2014. Well, I got to today, and even though I didn't want to spook the bird by moving to get in front of the sun, the pictures turned out ok for an ID shooting into the sun.

The other two SY Males that I saw in 2010 and 2014 only stopped by briefly and also in the afternoon. They were easily spooked and wouldn't sit long on housing before taking off. This guy was there all morning non stop. He looked very comfortable preening and stretching, then a short fly around and back to the housing. I've never had one early in the day or anytime in the morning. This one feels different.

I still have the dawnsong playing from 4am to 2 pm. I went there today to decide if I would shut it off or not, but I was shocked by how bonded the martin is to the site. He looks way more comfortable than any martin I've seen there, so maybe I was thinking he likes the dawnsong?

I'm curious what others think that are more experienced. It's funny, I've read this forum since 2003 and probably have read every thread about attraction and dawnsong, but have never been in a position to act on it. Now I don't want to screw anything up lol. My audio speaker is actually about 50 yards away from the housing as I'm in a unique position of not having the housing on my property....so it isn't actually playing on the housing and blaring at the birds all day. It's off in the distance.

Thoughts? I still can't believe there is a live bird there. I've looked at those decoys for almost a decade, now there's one that actually moves.

Image

Image

Image
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits

Rafke77
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:35 am
Location: Plymouth, IN.
Martin Colony History: 2019 10 pair, 24 fledged.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Rafke77 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:08 pm

Awesome!! Congratulations! Hopefully he'll go get a few more for you!! Great pictures too! I know you must be on edge there hoping nothing scares him off. Good luck!!
-Rob
2019 10 pair, 47 eggs, 24 fledged.

Brad Biddle
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Brad Biddle » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:40 pm

If that CD isn't bothering him I'd probably leave it on, but it will attract hawks and owls.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1742
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2018 Success at Satilite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2019 Success at my home Site

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Dave Reynolds » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:41 pm

.... Ryan. .. Super news for ya... I believe You have posted pics of your housing before and I remember them.. Sure hope he stays around... When I got my first pair this year, looking around, I stopped playing the Dawn Song.. They say Martins will bring other Martins.. So I have not played the Dawn Song sense May 2nd.. My main Male has brought a few more Martins into the area.. They just have not found a mate yet.. Good Luck.. I’m pulling for ya.. :grin:


Dave
Home Site
2019 — First pair, 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 fledged :wink:
2010 / 2018 -- Lots of Visitors

Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”
2019 -- 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 99 Hatched and 97 Fledged :wink:
2018 — 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 38 Hatched and 36 Fledged :wink:

PMCA Member

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2625
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby flyin-lowe » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:22 pm

I know there are varying opinions. I have always been one to shut the player down once I have a visitor that is staying around. He will do a better job anyone at attracting other martins. If he leaves then I would start it back up. You will get multiple opinions on this.
Wishing you the best, it would be awesome to get a colony established up there and start growing the population.
2019- Currently 31 complete nests (27 with eggs or babies) 94 babies hatched and 19 eggs still to hatch) 6-22-19
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.

Spiderman
Posts: 690
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Spiderman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:45 am

I saw you are about 300 miles north of the US/Canada border.

Amazing that a Martin would venture so far North!

Hope he stays around & is able to find a mate.

I love your wooden chalets, execellent craftsmanship !!!
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED

Doug Martin - PA
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:47 am
Location: Pennsylvania/Fombell
Martin Colony History: First pair in 2009 after 28 years of trying. 3 pairs 2010, 17 pairs 2011 and 35-45 pairs since. Many additional colonies are now springing up around mine in an area once completely void of Martins. I offer 50 compartments at my site consisting of primarily Excluder II gourds on Gemini racks. Also a wooden T-14. I utilize electric fence type predator guards on the base of the poles. Supplemental feeding is crucial in maintaining my colony. I platform feed throughout the season as needed. My site tends to be a stop over point for additional birds as they migrate further north.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Doug Martin - PA » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:04 pm

Took me 28 years to get a colony started here in PA. There were none near me within about 10-20 miles.

In 2008 a SY male hung out at my site every day listening to the dawnsong at a lower volume. It kept him company. My speaker was 80ft or so away from the housing as well.

The following year he showed up dressed in black on May 16th which was very late for my area. He finally attracted a mate in 2009 and the rest is history. I host between 40-50 pairs now each year.

Your housing is great and you got a chance! I Hope you will be blessed with a female there soon. You are quite a distance from any purple dots on the arrival map. Amazing he is there.

Good luck to you.

Doug
Supplemental feeding plays a major role in western Pennsylvania. Finally got my 1st pair in 2009 after 28 years of effort. 3 pairs in 2010. 17 pairs in 2011. 35 pairs and 150 young in 2012 & 2013. Plus a new 22 pair colony right down the road from me.

itroyer
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:07 pm
Location: OH/Alliance
Martin Colony History: 2016- 3 pair 13 fledged
2017- 18 pair 61 fledged
2018- 40 pair 162 fledged

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby itroyer » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:12 pm

when i started m colony i played it from 4 in the morning till dark, once i had 1 i turned the volume down to where i could here it max about 30 yards away, i played it that way till they were nesting then turned it of.
First year 2012 got housing up may 25th
2013 sy visitors
2014 one sy pair
2015 1 pair asy male sy female fledged 5
2016 3 pair 13 fledged

GFB
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:05 pm
Location: Ontario NY
Martin Colony History: I Started my first colony with my father in the late 1960's. Started building custom vinyl Martin houses last year 2018 and was successful with 10 birds fledged and it looks like several dozen birds are hanging around. Time to expand.
2018: 1 T-14 and 6 gourds. Fledged 10
2019: 2 T-14's and 6 gourds. Fledged 70

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby GFB » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm

Ryan, I felt bad for you so I sent you one of my subbies, a couple of ladies are on there way. Lake Ontario is just a mud puddle to a martin compared to the journey the have to take every year. Best of luck!

Birds
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:35 am
Location: Northeast OH
Martin Colony History: 2017: nothing, 2018: discovered the PMCA, new house modifications 2019:Still no Martins. House sparrow and starling hate forever.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Birds » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:14 pm

I'm willing to pay you to send some of your Martins this way .lol :mrgreen:
2017 :installed a Martin house hoping for Martins.
2018 :discovered the PMCA made modifications to a heath house .
2019 : Still no martins yet. House sparrow and starlings hate forever.
Tip :never give up

BillieJR
Posts: 637
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby BillieJR » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:46 am

Oh, Ryan, I hope he is still there and maybe has brought in more by now. I love your housing and the pictures are excellent. Good luck - let us know how it's going.
Billie from southern Wisonsin

Ryan
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 9 years.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Ryan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Thanks everyone. Appreciate the replies. He's still here. I turned the volume way down yesterday and it didn't effect him. Yesterday he was at the housing all day from 7 am until I left at 5pm. It would do short flys and come back quickly, for the entire day.

He was there again this morning and I got a chance to watch at lunch as he seemed more active. Landing in a couple trees and going to the ground and then back to housing. No leaves in beak or anything but it looks like he's getting ready to spruce up the pre-built nests. I got a chance at lunch to watch for a half hour and was happy to see him make it into the house by navigating the WDC's. So I'm guessing he's sleeping here since he's here very early in the mornings. Someone mentioned that it takes a few days after migration to get more energy and today he's certainly moving around the perimeter more.

Over nine years this trial has taught me patience and to expect heart break and frustration, but this guy really may have a chance to land a partner. He clearly likes the place so if not this year, and if he survives until next May which is a big if, I like my chances. I've never had anywhere near that hope before, but I'm shocked at how locked in he is to the site. I have a mirror mounted to a porch and every time he lands on that chalet, he sings to himself and checks himself out in the mirror. It's funny.

These birds are so amazing in flight. I'm so used to tree swallows, having them around here my entire life. The martins are so much larger and more powerful. So much speed on decent.

Took me 28 years to get a colony started here in PA. There were none near me within about 10-20 miles.

Good luck to you.

Doug
Thanks Doug, I've read your posts back in '08 when it was working out for you. Thanks for the replies in the past about my dawnsong questions. Always appreciate it.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits

flyin-lowe
Posts: 2625
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby flyin-lowe » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:42 pm

Even if he doesn't attract a mate this year, he could still get you started next year. Once he comes back as an ASY if there are any females in your area one of them will stay with him. I know numbers are low up there but it's rare to hear of an ASY male not attracting a female.
2019- Currently 31 complete nests (27 with eggs or babies) 94 babies hatched and 19 eggs still to hatch) 6-22-19
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.

Matt F.
Posts: 3887
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Matt F. » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:49 pm

Ryan!!!!!
This is so exciting!
There are other like myself, that have really been following you and your mission to attract Martins over the years.
Your perseverance has been most admirable.
How ironic would it be if your SY male starts a colony at your site, that ends up supplying Martins to that older gentleman's site that you constructed that North Star for.

Brad Biddle
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Brad Biddle » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:27 pm

I'm glad for you. I sure hope he attracts a mate. Even if he doesn't and he makes it back next year all in purple, he'll surely get one then.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

randyM
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Long Lake SD
Martin Colony History: Had 2 wooden and 1 plastic house up since 2004. Added plastic gourds to housing in June of 2015, had SY male stay for 3 weeks. Had lots of late visitors during late fall migration while playing martin chatter CD. Added more decoys and multiple styles of plastic gourds to my spread in 2016...it worked - 1 pair (ASYM + SYF) fledged both young that hatched!! S & S control done studiously every year.

2017 - 4 nesting pairs, 16/17 eggs hatched and all 16 young banded and fledged. Also had 5 extra SY males and 1 SY female stay during the nesting season.

2018 - 10 nesting pairs (7 ASYM, 3 SYM & 3 ASYF, 7 SYF), 52 eggs, 46 hatched, 45 fledged, 29 banded. Two banded males from 2017 hatch returned home. One successfully nested, the other stayed a few weeks and left.

2019 - 32 nests, 160 eggs - 25 ASYM & 7 SYM. The two males banded in 2017 again returned home now in ASY plumage, and two SY females and one SY male banded in 2018 returned in 2019. 87 HY banded in 2019.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby randyM » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:41 pm

Your story sounds familiar to me. I had a SY male stay at my site alone 5 years ago after about 10 years of waiting. He stayed for at least three weeks in June while I played the chatter CD all day before he finally left. The following spring a ASY male showed up at my site and claimed the same cavity the SY male had the year before. I'm pretty sure it was him as I have 280 cavities - 10 wooden houses with 20 rooms each (plus 8 gourds under each house ) and he flew right to the same cavity without hesitation. He attracted a SY female that year and fledged all their young, and now I have over 30 nesting pairs this year. The first male to arrive at my colony this spring again claimed the same cavity the original SY male claimed, so I'm thinking my founding male is still alive! I'm rooting for you and hope this fella attracts a mate this year, but if not, comes back to your site next year to get your colony off an running. Best of luck to you!

Brad Biddle
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Brad Biddle » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:48 pm

Ryan any more updates?
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Ryan
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 9 years.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Ryan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:06 pm

Ryan any more updates?
I'll tell you the updates and you tell me what you think.

So I first saw him a week ago today. He's been here every day since and for almost every minute of daylight after the first day or two. The last three or four days he's been always at the site or within visual distance of it. I'm surprised how locked he is to the site. He sits on the perch rods or the porch all day, rain or shine. Every five minutes or so he'll go for a short fly but I can always see him in the distance. Never too far and always back on house within 2 minutes. I live about 30 mins from housing now, but work close by during week so I can check in a bunch of times. He's on the housing before I get there at 6:45 am and he was still sitting on his porch tonight at 8pm when I drove past. I'm certain he sleeps there but haven't proven it since i dont live at housing.

A few days back I saw him getting familiar with the trees and ground. He's since been picking up sticks and grasses and anything else and hauling it into his new favorite house. He's still doing that today. He's chosen a house that I have a mirror inside on the back wall as well as a mirror mounted vertically on the porch so any bird can see themselves when they sit on porch. It's my only porch mirror but I have 3 or 4 mirrors in houses out of the 12 that are hanging.

Someone recommended mounting a tray with oyster shells on a porch so i did that a few days ago. I waited until he did one of his short flys as I was terrified of scaring him away by dropping the house. Well I had the house down and he circled me really close squawking a bit. I quickly screwed the feeder onto the porch and raised the house. He landed when the house was halfway up and rode the house to the top. I thought that was a nice sign he was comfortable.

I've since turned the dawnsong way down. I can here it but barely from 50 feet away. It runs quietly from 4am to 2 PM. Still on my original time setting.

I dont have huge hopes he'll find a mate this year because he doesn't roam far, and doesn't make much noise. I guess that's a good thing in a sense that he wont be swayed to another colony while he's out doing many miles a day...he just doesn't leave ever. The closest colony is 27 miles northeast. None within 100 miles west and really were into probably 50 miles to the next closest colony east. Not even any close ones south of me.

So I just dont see a good chance at a random female fly over. I assumed he'd disappear for hours during the day looking to find a lady to show her his new house with floor to ceiling mirrors. I've read about this behavior here for many years. I've even read where the males leave for days and then return. This guy is stuck like glue here and I'm not complaining because its damn cool to see a real bird hanging out there after nine years.

I think if he can survive migration back next year I have a 90% chance of getting a pair. I've never been more than 10% optimistic so it feels good.

A question I have: should I leave the mirrors and all that on his housing? I'm expecting to leave them since I dont want to mess with a good thing but is there any detriment to the mirrors now that a bird is site bonded? Does he think there's other birds here?

Also I have a slight urge to crank the dawnsong loud only from 4am to 6am and then cut it off the rest of the day but again I dont want to mess with it so I probably wont. I just thought it might help attract another bird since he's not really worrying about that.

Let me know what you think.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits

Brad Biddle
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Brad Biddle » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:33 pm

I’ll give you my opinions but they’re just that, opinions. I have no hands on experience with anything you’re asking. I have no idea what the migration timing is to your area. You may have a shot at attracting more or you may not. I *think* based on unmated male behavior and the coloration of one particular female that I have had another SY female arrive this week. It’s very late here, possibly the latest I’ve ever had an arrival. It may not be too late for you.

SY males aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so he may think the bird he’s seeing in the mirror is another Martin. Personally, I wouldn’t change anything regarding the mirrors. Him staying at your site is your best bet for getting more Martins. He may not find a mate this year but I can assure you, he can see Martins much further away than you can. It always amazes me in the early spring how the Martins will take off from my colony with excitements calling, almost like a hawk alarm call and fly out of sight, and then return with an extra Martin or two in tow. They see or hear other Martins a long way away.

On the Dawnsong, I’d just keep doing what you’re doing or turn it off while you’re there and watch him. If he acts different, turn it back on.

Whatever you do, I would be very cautious about changing ANYTHING. The absolute worst thing you could do would be to change something and run him off.

If you change nothing, and he leaves in a few days or a few weeks, don’t worry. He is not going to stay there all summer by himself. That DOES NOT mean he isn’t bonded to your site. If he’s been there this long, he’s bonded.

Also him being there at 8PM doesn’t mean he’s spending the night. If you don’t see him going in a compartment at night, he may he staying somewhere else. I see SY males leave my colony after perching on the gourd racks until it’s so dark I can barely see. Just a week or so ago I heard one fly away 30 minutes after dark. He was squawking loudly as he flew away. He probably got evicted from an occupied gourd.

Also, next spring don’t get over anxious when the scout reports start lighting up in your area. He won’t be back that early. It may be 4-6 weeks after the early scouts arrive before you see him.

You’ve got a Martin now. That’s a huge step towards having a Martin colony. I have no data to back this up but I’d say you’ve got a 50/50 shot of him making it back next year. That’s a whole lot more Hope than you’ve had in the past years!
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 102 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.

Ryan
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Eganville, Ontario
Martin Colony History: Visitors are rare. Two SY males seen in 9 years.

Re: Can't believe it, but I have one hanging around

Postby Ryan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:47 pm

Thanks for the detailed reply.

My gut was to keep doing what I'm doing and change nothing. The dawnsong turns off on it's own at 2pm and he behaves no differently with it on or off. Even when it was loud for the first day or two that he was here, he'd just do his thing and not even bother with the speaker 50 yards away.

Good to know on the distance Martin's see other Martin's. It makes sense. He certainly isn't calling anyone in, ha.

Migration timing for me is later than most. The other two sy males I've seen in 9 years showed up very late may, so with the late year we're having he was basically "on time". I dont know how late migration is since I dont have a colony, but this is one of the coldest and wettest springs I've seen. Farm fields are just starting and corn is about 2" tall. That's very late for here so maybe there is a couple weeks left for him to get some company. Dragon flies just started to hatch last weekend which is also very late due to cold water temps.

I'm not holding my breath for this year but the 50-50 chance of him making it back next year is a little terrifying. Wish it was a better number but I knew it was around a coin toss.
Home site: 12 cedar chalets - Plus two satellite sites which are also empty.
2010- 1 SY male on and off for a couple weeks
2011- 0 visits
2012- 0 visits
2013- 0 visits
2014- 1 SY male stopped in here and there for two weeks.
2015- 0 visits
2016- 0 visits
2017- 0 visits
2018- 0 visits


Return to “Purple Martin Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 13 guests