Nest Changes ?? Or Not ??

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Hanover Bill
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

What are the feelings out there on nest changes, are they absolutely necessary? My situation this season is that we haven't had any rain since well before most of my eggs were laid. We are in the middle of a local drought, if there is such a thing. It has rained all around us but not a drop here, and the forecast is for no rain this week. With most of my babies due to fledge around the middle of July it is possible that they could not see rain until they are very close to fledging.

Because of the lack of rain the nests are dry and in good shape as of a nest check today. So the decision to be made is do I do nest changes or leave well enough alone?

Any thoughts on this?

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 789
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. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

Bill,

If you are doing regular nest checks and have found no vermin and the nests are in good shape, you are in good shape to allow the nests to go as they are. I would still conduct nest checks in case any issues such as mites or buffalo gnats show up but you sound like your colony is in good shape. I am glad that you are doing your birds a favor by conducting nest checks.

My nests have been damp from some driving rain and I am now on my second nest replacements. Bird blow flies are a problem around here and they like a damp nest, although none have been found yet. I dare not go without doing nest replacements and I do three over the course of the season. It works well for me.

Have a successful season.

Ed
Last edited by Ed Svetich-WI on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1660
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Bill,
As mentioned by Ed, if there are no bird mites there is no reason to do a nest change. Do keep in mind that you should not do nest checks after the babies have reached 20 days of age; they may try to fledge too early if you do checks after 20 days of age. I suggest continuing to do weekly checks up to that age. Always look for any capped eggs and remove the half shell that covers a full egg if it occurs. You can search Capped Eggs on the PMCA website for more details.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2110
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.

Bill:

We've had a few mini showers here, but barely enough to wet the sidewalks.

Just because you've had no rain & don't see any infestation doesn't mean there is none. Check the chicks legs for blood spots or dried blood. Lift the nest up & look under it. Blow fly larva hide under the nesting material.

I do 3 or more nest changes depending on infestation & a just plain stinky or messy nest. Once the chicks reach a certain age, & depending on how many are in the nest, it can get pretty messy. I have a nest with 7 chicks. 6 hatched on the 18th of June & number 7 hatched on the 20th of June. June 26th I saw blood on one chicks leg, so I changed the nest. I changed it again yesterday, because it was messy. I'll probably change it a few times more before they fledge.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
Hanover Bill
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Thanks for all of the good suggestions. I will probably go ahead and do nest changes for safeties sake.

Thanks Again;
Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
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