I did the last nest check yesterday that will be done for a while on the gourd rack that is on the birdcam/colonycam. The nestlings in gourd #9 are now 28 days old and they are looking like they could go at any time. To prevent premature fledging after I lowered the rack (oh so quietly) I placed a sock in the gourd opening. I had tied a string to the sock so after the check was doen and the gourd rack raised up, I could gently pull on the string to remove the sock. All went well on the check and the babies looked wonderful. No bugs, fat and lean with hints of blue showing on their fresh new feathers. The next time I see them, in early 2010, they will be sun-bleached brown.
There are at least 5 nests that seem to be abandoned. There are 3 scenarios I believe could be at play for this situation. It could be a case of egg dumping or it could be young inexperienced SY’s playing house or lastly, drought affecting food supply thus reducing clutch rates. Whatever the case may be, I have come to terms with my goal of reaching the magical 100 mark having to wait till next year.
No more snake attacks and the bird/snake netting along with the spray foam in the holes of the S&K predator pole guard will let me sleep at night. In the picture you can see the white dried foam coming out of the holes in the guard that allowed the snake to pass through. The foam is commonly found in hardware stores and a common brand name is “Great Stuff insulating foam sealant” or “Handi-foam”. It actually comes in handy for several things and I have heard of some folks using it to modify cheap plastic purple martin houses to increase the insulation and help keep internal temps comfortable. One thing I should mention to those considering an inexpensive purple martin house. Consider the amount of effort you will put into the house modifying it and the life expectancy of the house itself. If you expect to get more than a handful of seasons out of the house you may very well be overly optimistic. Sun and UV rays can change plastic and you may notice discoloration or loss of opacity and brittleness. Though some may disagree, more light means more heat and it is generally agreed upon that darker is better, when it comes to the interior of a purple martin house. The plastic can always be painted with a product like Fusion paint for plastic but again, now you are adding your time and money into the upkeep. My point? Always consider these factors when deciding what kind of Purple Martin house you want to buy. Want to read more about deciding on a purple martin house? Click here for an article on “what you will need” which talks about all the different types of housing, pros and cons to help you decide.
Nest check results for 5/1/09
Total eggs: 57 Total young: 59 Total nests: 26