Archive for May, 2008

May 17, 2008

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

the release of BeauThe sun broke over the horizon none too soon. Waiting till 9AM was the hardest part. I drove to the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center and Faith (their Veterinary Technician) brought Beau out to me. He was beautiful and looked so much more grown up. His little baby beak looked like that of an adult. The only way I could tell that he wasn’t, was his stumpy fledgling tail. Of course, the deep notch would develop during his maiden molt. I drove home with him very calm and quiet in the animal carrier. When I got him home, as soon as I took him out of the car, you could hear the Purple Martins chirruping in the back. He heard it too and called out with a big birds voice. My heart was racing. I am sure his was too. As I rounded the corner to the back yard he started to call out continuously which made all the Martins fly up and circle, as if they were looking about for the wayward fledgling. Eventually they settled back down on the housing and I sat the carrier within 30 or so feet of it. I removed the towels from the carrier so that he could see around. He patiently just sat there looking alternatively at me then at the other Martins perched on the housing. I wondered what goes through a little bird brain at a time like this. I didn’t want to torture him any further. I quickly opened the door and he sat on my finger only a moment before he flew off towards the housing. He veered off when all the other Martins flew up to meet him. He was greeted with a customary razing by the older birds. He darted, he turned, he gained altitude and he flew off to the south with 5  or so birds in hot pursuit. He came back to circle the housing a few times with a handful of Martins flying in circles along with him. No longer harassing, they all just flew about in their usual joyful, easy way. And my heart felt the same way. Light and free and happy. Little Beau…my prayers are for you to achieve the independence and skills you will need to be part of the circle of life. If your future includes returning to my site, all the more wonderful. Have fun in Brazil, little Beau!!!

May 16, 2008

Friday, May 16th, 2008

beau head shotThe trials and tribulations of being an overly obsessed Purple Martin Landlord. Hmmm, I am sure that this whole ordeal has shaved a few years off my life. BUT all is well that ends well. Let me start from the beginning of the day.

AM: I called the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center. I asked to speak to “anyone” as all the times I have called regarding the fledgling, I spoke with the receptionist only.

They transferred me to the Executive Director, Heather Landstrom. We had a nice long talk. She told me that she had received a few emails in regards to the Purple Martin. She had just had a meeting with the Veterinarian and wanted to be kept apprised of his situation. She was told that he had come to the center dehydrated and underweight. That he was doing well and they wanted to flight test him sometime early next week. I agreed that him being flight tested was a great idea and I was wholeheartedly behind that idea. As soon as he passed his flight test, he would be released ASAP, preferably at his natal site. I was THRILLED. I told her all about how fearless Purple Martins can be of humans. That for hundreds of years, these birds have nested almost exclusively in man-made housing. That these birds thrive within close proximity to human activity. How Indians would put gourds up for Purple Martins and benefit from a mutual symbiotic relationship. She was very cordial and showed great interest in Purple Martins and little Beau.  I was reassured that I could call on her personally and would be kept in the loop of any and all developments in Beau’s care and release.

PM: I received a call from Dr.Dacia Oprisanu. She told me that a flight cage became available and that they had just flight tested the young martin. AND that he FLEW!! I was so happy and excited. She even told me that I could pick him up today to release him at his natal colony site. (HOME!)  I didn’t think today was a good idea as most of the martins were already off feeding for the afternoon. The parents that are actively feeding are here, of course, but I felt that an early AM release would be perfect. Activity here is always busiest from sunrise till about 11, then it tapers off to a ghost town till about 4 pm or so.

So, that’s what today brought. Answered prayers and hope for the future of a little bird named Beau.

May 15, 2008

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I am so upset. I called for another update on Beau. No change, “doing very well.” 

 I asked as to why is he not being released. The receptionist said that there was something wrong with him as he “Does not display the normal fear a bird should have” and that he may be released the end of NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!
I am in tears and so upset. I asked to speak with the vet-no she is busy. I asked to speak with a tech-no, busy. The receptionist listened patiently while I went through the whole thing about Native Americans putting up gourds for these birds, that this side of the Rockies they just don’t nest in natural cavities, that us landlords do nest checks and that I did nest checks on these birds every 3-5 days WITHOUT fail, that this birds mother would sit on the nest while I did nest checks before they even hatched. That without his group to teach him what he needs to know his chances are slim.

I am so upset. I don’t even know what to do. My hands are shaking and all I can think is that bringing Beau to this rehab facility was the biggest mistake I could have made. 

If I go there and ask to speak to a supervisor/vet, I know I will be looked at as a kook and my cause will not be helped. I am doing some serious prayers. Praying that God open their eyes to another opinion; that he continue to gain strength and endurance in his captivity despite his geographic limitations so that he can survive without his family when he is freed.

I ask that you all pray too…

May 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Another call to the rehabber this Am provided little info other than the scripted, “very well” and nothing is broken. I asked again when he was going to be released; I think it would be good to release him here where there are other martins around, maybe he can hook up with his family. They said he was being kept for “observation” and that when he was brought in he was only dehydrated. Also, that they are feeding him and he is eating well.

He fledged and got stuck in the fence on the 7th PM. (at 30 days old)
I took him to the rehabber early in the AM of the 9th.
So he has been there 6 days.
I used to be a vet tech before I went back to school to get my RN. I have a realistic view of both MD’s and DVM’s. I know that vet’s know alot about animals. But knowing about animal MEDICINE does not mean you know about Purple Martins. I don’t want to sound like a know it all, I just feel that the more time he spends there, the less his chances will be to learn what he needs to know to be a Purple Martin. These birds are so communal and him learning how to eat crickets isn’t going to help him eat while he’s flying to Brazil.

If I could speak to someone other than the receptionist, I know this could be cleared up, toot sweet. She’s a nice lady, don’t get me wrong but it’s like playing a game of telephone. The vet tells the tech, the tech tells the receptionist, the receptionist tells me…who knows what the real deal is.

May 13, 2008

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

I guess I have this to look forward to when my children grow up. I turn on the nest cam and stare at an empty gourd. Barren and desolate without evidence of the life and activity that preludes it. My boys will grow up, sooner than later, and I will walk to the door way of their room and stare at it in the same disbelief. Where did they go? Well, I know where. The fact that they are not here brings thoughts of what journeys they are undertaking. What adventures lie before them. What path life will bring to them….what a downer! I MUST change the nest cam to one of the other gourds. So I can revert my mind to the busyness of motherhood. A blessing and a curse. You are so busy with simple fodder for your mind that you are oblivious to time marching on to life’s end.

Purple Martin Supplies

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Purple Martins

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Before you make your final decision, visit

May 12, 2008

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Lessons learned from my experience with Beau, my grounded Purple Martin Fledgling.

#1 Make sure the phone number you have for a rehabber actually works, Nothing worse than calling a number when you need it and the line has been disconnected.

#2 contact the rehabber BEFORE any problems, forge some kind of relationship where they understand your role as a Purple Martin landlord. Just because a rehabber works with birds doesn’t mean they work with Purple Martin landlords.

#3 Bring them donuts or coffee to maintain open friendly communication. A little grease goes a long way.

Why do I say all this? Well, the good news is Beaus prognosis is “Excellent” and he is “Eating well” And that is all the info I can get on him. I would get more info calling the White House to get the Presidents prostate exam results.

Not that they don’t know what they are doing. Actually the opposite is true. It is a large wildlife hospital and has State of the art facilities. But bigger usually means more bureaucracy and the little people get lost in the mix. They have alot more important things on their mind  than placating a Purple Martin Landlord, I know. I don’t feel like they understand a landlords role as an active conservationist. Maybe I’ll make those donuts jelly filled.

The colony is doing great. The recently fledged young come by during the day. Some nest in their gourds, some don’t. Seems like they are still staying together in family groups. Several SY males have taken to claiming the gourds during the day, trying to attract a mate. The ASY males chase them off when they return with the young occasionally.

May 11,2008

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Nest check done-Finally! Tally as follows:

Total eggs laid to date: 72

Total eggs hatched to date: 59

Eggs still incubating: 6

Eggs lost: 7

Not bad at all!

Several nests are due to fledge in about a week. This may well be the last nest check in the house until those babies are airborne. I treated all nests with sevin as I had noticed, Beau had a few mites on him. Not many at all, and I did not see any on the nest check.

I almost had an aneurysm trying to raise the house up. The winds are gusting quite a bit and I had to get my spouse to help me raise the pole. The one pole has developed a slight bend and there is a portion that is very hard to raise. Once you get past that part, its smooth sailing. Regardless, next year I will be getting a new pole. He doesn’t know it yet.

May 10, 2008

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

I called the wildlife center and they have no further updates on Beau for the weekend. They told me to call on Monday, when the vet is there. I found it odd that the vet doesn’t come in to check the patients. I guess that expectation comes from being a nurse for so long. Don’t all Dr’s do rounds?

May 9, 2008 “Beau Goes”

Friday, May 9th, 2008

This morning Beau’s condition was unchanged, still not able to fly and not eating crickets on his own. I went out to check on him at one point and a cricket was perched on his back and Beau was nonplussed. I knew then he would not recover here. That his needs would not be met with a little rest and a meal. I guess he was wrapped up in that fence longer than I thought.

I finally got a hold of a rehab facility. Turns out there is a huge state of the art facility called the “Folke Peterson Wildlife Center” not to far from me. I spoke to them and brought Beau over. The initial reports are good. I will call back in the AM to get the X-ray results. He is being tested out as I type.

I was a difficult thing to take him away from his parents. This morning he must have heard them and was calling out, though no bird responded to his calls. They must know when nature decides to cull one of their own. But HA HA, we snatched little beau out of Fate’s cruel hand and maybe-just maybe, he will live to fly another day.