Coolest save ever!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Kentucky/Harrodsburg

This season has been all over the place. Too hot too early, to cold too late, repeat, a few times. HUGE owl pacing around the bottom of the poles at night, but never landing on them and then disappearing mid-season. Lots of arguments with an enormous Red Tailed hawk. NO snakes, for the first time in years. Etc. And, like many, we now have martins later in the year than ever before and the latest fledges.

The last youngster to fledge was on the ground in the late afternoon on Friday and only mom around to scream about it. It appeared totally fine, just a few days short of flight ability. Replaced in housing. Mom continued circling and complaining for awhile and then left. Did not see her return and this was the first night there wasn't a return from other families (3 nests recently fledged). The next morning no sign of ANY martins. None. Zip. Nada. Waited and watched, hoping for some activity. The normal visitation time for arrivals came and went. We lowered the house around noon and it was empty. You know the apparent options.

At around 3 I hear martins! 10-12 on the gourd rack. Looks great! Is the little one there? A bit later I hear warning calls and calamity. There is a bird at the base of the pole flapping about, and then another attacking it. I get out there and attacker takes off, but flapper is just screeching and flapping like it wants to climb the pole. I reach down and start to pick it up and it begins to "run" away. Flapping and screaming, and the onlookers all screaming advice. It runs in the direction they have flown (a 4 foot fence is about 75 feet away) and it runs and flaps and runs and flaps and it is going faster and faster and I am watching as it suddenly, slowly begins to actually get lift from those wings and in very slow motion, it is suddenly 1/2 inch off the ground, then an inch, then 2 and, there is NO way it can gain enough lift to clear the fence, and it seems to move slower at the same time it is lifting higher and boom, it is flying. Really slow and really flapping and Screeching away it clears the fence by maybe an inch. Screaming, flying, all the cheering squad right there to make sure it keeps going. Within moments a parent, I assume, is right on it, forcing it higher, and off over the hill they all go. It was just the coolest moment to begin the end of the season. And although I believe I have seen many that have just fledged and lots of flappers and flight training, I have never seen one take off from the ground, with all the support. It was just cool! Martins finally came back last night to spend the night, but not the little one and family. This morning as soon as I went out and called I got return calls and we've had birds all day. It made it, I'm just sure. And I did have my phone in my pocket....but I was so completely surprised by the moment and the take off, I am left with only words to describe it.
2011: First house late June, lots of visitors
2012: One pair of SY, 5 fledged
2013: 4 pair, 18 fledged
2014: 4 pair, 20 fledged
2015: 14 pair
2016: 18 pair
Dave Duit
Posts: 1965
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit and join.

Good post. Thanks for sharing.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Posts: 1324
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
2022: ?
PMCA member

Wow, what a great story! Had me holding my breath there, IS IT GOING TO MAKE IT??!! :lol:
Man, that is too cool, glad it went on its way, ill bet it was as surprised as everyone else watching....parent were saying "THE FENSE, WATCH FOR THE FENSE."

What a nice ending, strange that an owl is pacing at the bottom of the pole, must have been a neat sight. Pace away, just don't go up.
Every day I think it would be safe to take the housing down 10 or 11 martins do a fly by and land on the racks in the morning, gone all day. Looks to be a subbie with a bunch of fledges. No rush i guess.

Well heres to next year, and thanks for sharing!
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Posts: 513
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

OMG! Held my breath for some time there and finally over the fence! Yeah! You brought me right along side you. Thanks for the experience. Glad to hear the little one made it! :grin:
Dave Reynolds
Posts: 1962
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm
Location: Little Hocking, Oh.
Martin Colony History: 2017 Visitors
Satellite Site “Oxbow Golf Course”.
2018 - 15 Pair, 58 Eggs, 36 Fledged
2019 - 26 Pair, 128 Eggs, 97 Fledged
2020 - 30 Pair, 156 Eggs, 137 Fledged
2021 - 30 Pair, 162 Eggs, 144 Fledged

Home Site "Little Hocking, Ohio".
2019 - 1 Pair, 5 Eggs, 5 Fledged
2020 - 1 Pair, 4 Eggs, 4 Fledged
2021 - 8 Pair, 39 Eggs, 36 Fledged

... Great story ... I was holding my breath while reading.... Good Luck next season.. Tell us some more stories... :wink: :wink:

PMCA Member
Little Hocking, Ohio
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:21 pm
Location: Laplace,La
Martin Colony History: 21 year colony. 2 s&k modified houses and gourd rack

Awesome story! You have to love these awesome birds! I can’t wait til they come back next season..
Great ending..
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs ,fledge 7
2021: 5 pair 25 eggs fledge 18, 4 egg 2nd brood attempt

what a great story! Thanks for sharing your experience!!
Post Reply