First Fledgelings Moving On

The first wave of fledglings has apparently moved on. After some 60 purple martins successfully fledged they had been returning (for the most part) every night to sleep. Today I noticed a much smaller group before sunset on the gourd racks and they took off as a unit to parts unknown. They did not return tonight. I have been noticing that the martins have been acting more and more flighty. Probably due to the high number of inexperienced youngsters that seem to be more nervous than their older more seasoned counterparts. As soon as I walk outside they fly off in a large group only to settle for a moment before flying off again. They actually seem to enjoy their new found freedom in the air and my heart lifts up with them every time they take off.

After Purple Martins fledge, the parents begin taking them to “assembly areas” where they roost at night. The birds eventually move to the premigratory roosts or staging areas which serve as a final stop over before the birds begin their migration to South America.

I must admit though, my sadness that this move away from “home”, makes me sad. The season is another step closer to being over in the south. Soon it will be time to visit the only premigratory roost I know of in Davie. Though a few more babies have been added to the count almost all the other nests are way to close to fledging to check. After those birds fledge my season will be basically over.

For those of you with new sites, or those that do not have a colony yet. NOW is the time to play dawnsong and keep your housing up. The youngsters are making the rounds and are visiting housing. If your housing is situated correctly and is attractive to the martins they will return. Remember that though my birds will return to my yard, the purple martins that fledged from my colony will mostly disburse to other locations.

A partial nest check is over due and I will try for either June 6 or this weekend to check the numbered rack and the aluminum house. As I mentioned there are too many nests approaching fledging age to check the lettered rack. After the problem with wet nests I am understandably nervous of what is in store.  but I know in my heart that I have done my part and next year I will again strive to do more.

Remember, I will be doing a Purple Martin Presentation at Folke Peterson Nature Center on Wednesday June 17 at 7 pm. I hope to see you there!

©2009 S.Halpin/

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