Behavior change

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Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

I first observed martins (6) on my colony this season on 1/28 and their behavior has been the same - colony totally quiet early in morning (gone?), empty during the day (hunting bugs?) and then arriving around 5 to 5:30 PM to sit on the porches before entering gourds around 6. Not a bunch of singing.
All this changed on 2/12. Since then the number has increased to 12 and some birds are almost always on the colony but the number reduces during the middle of the day. Up until around 10 AM and starting around 4 PM the place gets very festive; lots of loud singing, serious gourd inspections with short flights among my three sets and a few fights between ASY males. The afternoon action is twice as raucous as is the morn's. It's a joy to watch. My neighbor has a landscaping business and his office manager, Sandra, was leaving work the other day. I was in my Adirondack enjoying the action and Sandra invited herself over, "What's all that commotion?" I then got into a 30 minute introduction of Purple Martins and their biology while my buddies were singing and taking off and landing on the colony. Sandra was fascinated. Maybe a new landlady.
Posts: 2927
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

You will definitely see behavior changes as the season goes on. In the beginning pairing up and claiming cavities starts to become a priority. Then nesting starts and things calm down some. And depending on where you are, the arrival of new SY's trying to become part of the colony can cause quite a commotion as well. I often times also see a huge increase in adults when the young start to fledge. It is almost like adults from other colonies come in to help teach young to fly. Some years I have seen double the number of adults around my housing when the youngest are learning to fly..
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
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.
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Fun times hey? I think what you saw is typical pattern. Often the males arrive first and they don't sing. Once the females show up its all out courtship, lots of singing, the excitement is obvious in the colony. During the warmest parts of the day, the bugs the martins feed on are active and flying, so that's what they are doing mostly when they are gone.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Eastern nc

The arrival of adults from other colonies may have evolved to serve as a distraction, making it more difficult for hawks to prey on the inexperienced flyers.
Mike Mack
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:56 pm
Location: Centex

You can allways tell how much their getting to eat by the way they act in the evening for sure.
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