Archive for April, 2008

Nest Check April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Nest check finally! Done late in the day, it was met with much protest. I checked all nests 15 eggs in 3 separate nests have all hatched. 1 nest is due to hatch tomorrow. There are another 26 eggs that are in 5 nests. 2 nests are completed and seem ready for eggs. Another few compartments seems to have nests in earlier stages of development.

One again my brave little girl in gourd #2 (a Combo Plus gourd) sat with her 5 precious babies while I did their nest check. I looked and saw them all piled up and smiled as they reached their heads up begging for food. She sat motionless and stayed at her post for the entire time.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

April 8, 2008

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

20080328_44.JPGI am due for a nest check but was unable to do so today. Could be my 2 boys running me ragged? My 3 1/2 year old son says he is a baby bird. I am assuming he has caught on to my fascination with the Martins and wants in on the attention.

The chortling and noise that my martins have been making has died down. The same number of birds but many females are now tucked within their gourds. Only coming out for brief periods for a quick meal. I am estimating another 4 or so females have begun incubating their eggs. Others are standing watch over their valuable commodities.

Several of the females are frequenting my egg shells. They sit and peck away on the feeding platform that is mounted below my Martin house.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Hatch Day April 7,2008

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Within the next few days the first lot of 20 eggs is due to hatch. This morning when I looked at the nest that I have on camera, the precious treasure lay hidden under an obviously doting mother. She no longer sat patiently on her eggs, seemingly asleep. she fussed and turned and fiddled and then ate some thing… A piece of egg shell. Finally she moved aside and I could see. The tiny, almost transparent form of a newly hatched Purple Martin. Wiggling next to 4 other eggs, the tiny life squirmed and moved about. Now the fun begins.

Another nest is 1 day ahead of this nest so I can assume that there are other babies. I looked out at the housing and there is a difference. No longer quiet the gourd rack seems to be a buzz. Several other birds are coming to the gourds to peer inside as if they are giving congratulations. The ASY males are sitting above their respective gourds, acting quite protective. Several of the females that have been incubating are sitting with heads peeking out or flying in and out finally free of their self imposed  isolation called incubation. The female on camera is also out and about and I can finally see the baby bird only 4 or so months away from a transoceanic flight.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Nest Check April 4, 2008

Friday, April 4th, 2008

I did another nest check and my numbers are cRaZy! 30 eggs in 9 nests. Of those, 5 nests have just started laying so more are practically guaranteed.  5 more nests that are almost completed. 4 remaining compartments have pairs but nests are just beginning. I COULD have approx. 70 eggs at this rate. Of course I wouldn’t be foolish enough to think that all those eggs will hatch…but still. That’s ALOT of baby birds. The owls and hawks are setting the table. ugh…I feel an ulcer coming on.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

April 3, 2008

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

My Purple Martin housing consists of 2 poles. One with a gourds -4 S&K Combo plus & 4 troyer horizontals. The other pole with a 7 unit S&K ‘barn’ and 3 natural gourds. I have a shepherds hook with a tunneled Bo gourd, a blue bird box and a Flicker house high up in a pine tree. As a testament to S&K products I am happy to announce that almost all available compartments are occupied. The only house that’s empty is the cedar blue bird box. And that is because their haven’t been blue birds in Palm Beach county in about 50 years! All gourds all house compartments ALL taken. I was wondering why it was so calm at “bedtime”. I had assumed that some had moved on to greener pastures but I was mistaken. It’s just that everyone is happy now….until someone else shows up! I May have to put up another pole THIS year. Hmmmmm. Maybe it’s something in the water?

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Hawk goes away Hungry

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

collecting mudThe purple martin forum is ablaze with hawk talk. Many landlords have become victims of these attacks on their colonies. This morning, I was no different. Fortunately my ending is a happy one.

It was about 5:30 pm and the martins were on or about the housing. The day had been filled with risky martin behaviour. Their loud chatter like a beacon for all raptors saying, “Here we are, come and eat us.” All the sudden the alarm went out and a mid sized hawk shot over my left shoulder towards the housing. The martins had all dispersed only moments before and within seconds a small swarm of purple was in hot pursuit. Chasing and calling out in alarm. No purple victims this time.

The martins are still visiting the dirt road for mud. I have been watching them closely and also witnessed a female that is collecting grasses from my back yard. Which is actually an odd occurrence in this area. All the nests here are composed of pine needles except for this 1. This ASY male and SY(?) female have been adding bermuda grass to the nest.

On an off martin note; the mockingbirds have moved into egg laying mode. Their nest is complete!

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /